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Student Loan

The Student Loan can help to finance your study. It's made up of three parts - course fees, course-related costs and living costs. You have to pay a Student Loan back.

Am I eligible for a Student Loan?

Complete the 'What you can get' eligibility test to find out whether you may be eligible for a Student Loan.

Go to the eligibility test

In general, you may be able to get the Student Loan if you:

  • are studying an approved course which is
    • full-time (or Limited full-time with our approval) or
    • part-time and 32 weeks or longer or
    • part-time and less than 32 weeks with an EFTS value of 0.25 or more.
  • are a New Zealand citizen or meet the residence requirements
  • sign a contract with the government
  • nominate a New Zealand based contact person (someone who resides in New Zealand) as a condition of accessing the Student Loan Scheme.

Note: you can borrow for up to 2 EFTS worth of study each year.


What parts of the loan can I get?

It depends on your circumstances as to which parts of the loan you may be able to borrow.

If you're eligible for all three parts of the loan, you can choose to borrow all of these or only what you need - remember that each part is added to your loan and you have to pay back whatever you borrow.

Course fees

To be entitled to borrow for course fees, you must be studying at least 0.25 EFTS.

You won't be able to borrow course fees for any course which is a Youth Guarantee Programme or a fees-free Level 1 or Level 2 qualification.

Course-related costs

To be entitled to borrow course-related costs you must be:

  • studying full-time (or Limited full-time with our approval) and
  • under the age of 55 when you start study.

If you're on a Youth Guarantee Programme or studying a fees-free Level 1 or Level 2 qualification, you may qualify for course-related costs. It depends on how old you are and when your study started.

Living costs

To be entitled to borrow living costs, you must be:

  • studying full-time (or Limited full-time with our approval) and
  • under the age of 55 when you start study.

You can't be in prison or receiving a main benefit from Work and Income.

If you're on a Youth Guarantee Programme or studying a fees-free Level 1 or Level 2 qualification, you may qualify for living costs. It depends on how old you are and when your study started.


Applying for a Student Loan

Generally, you need to apply for a Student Loan each time you enrol for a new period of study.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a Student Loan is online.

You can apply even if you haven't decided where or what you'll be studying - you can change this later. It's more important that you allow enough time for the application process to be completed before the start of your study.


Situations where you can't get a Student Loan

You can't get a Student Loan:

  • if you're bankrupt
  • if you have $500 or more in default at the time of your application and at least some portion of that amount has been overdue with Inland Revenue for a year or more (once you have reduced the default amount to under $500 (repayments should be made to Inland Revenue) you may be able to get a Student Loan - you will need to talk to us
  • for any course that's fully funded by the government (for example a Youth Guarantee Programme or a trades academies or tertiary course delivered by a high school that's funded as part of the Youth Guarantee Programme, a STAR programme, a Foundation Focused Training Opportunity or a Work Focused Training course). 

From 1 January 2014:

  • the Youth Guarantee Programme will be available to some 18-19 year olds. These students may be eligible for the living costs and course-related costs components of the Student Loan if the meet the relevant criteria.
  • fees-free Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications will be available to some students aged 18-24 years old. These students may be eligible for the living costs and course-related costs components of the Student Loan if they meet the relevant criteria.
  • students under 18 studying a fees-free Level 1 or Level 2 qualification will not be able to get a Student Loan for that course.

Note: students who turn 18 while studying a fees-free Level 1 or Level 2 qualification or a Youth Guarantee Programme will not be eligible for course-related costs or living costs until their next enrolment.


How long you can get a Student Loan for

You can only get a Student Loan for a certain amount of study - this is called the lifetime limit.

The life-time limit is measured using the EFTS value of your study. The limit is 7 EFTS which is about 7 or 8 years of study if you're a full-time student (full-time students generally have a course load of between 0.8 and 1.2 EFTS in a year). 

The life-time limit includes the EFTS for all study that you have had a Student Loan for, from 1 January 2010.

Once you have used any part of the Student Loan, such as living costs, fees or course-related costs, the EFTS for that loan will count towards your 7 EFTS limit.

You may be able to get an extension to your lifetime limit in some situations including:

  • if you finish a paper or course of study even if it takes you over the 7 EFTS limit
  • if you complete post-graduate study (up to an additional 1 EFTS)
  • if you undertake doctoral study (up to an additional 3 EFTS).

Generally, you will not be able to receive more than 10 EFTS of Student Loan entitlement including these extensions.

If you withdraw from your course:

  • If you withdraw from your course, and receive a full refund of your tuition fees before the end of that course, it is not included in your life-time limit.
  • If you withdraw from your course within 30 days of the date it started and receive a partial fee refund, it is not included in your life-time limit.

If you withdraw from part of your course:

If you withdraw from part of your course (eg papers or a semester), the EFTS value of the portion you withdrew from won't be included in your life-time limit.


Keeping your eligibility to Student Loan

You need to pass at least half the EFTS of your previous study to get a Student Loan again. This assessment starts once you have studied at least 1.6 EFTS (usually about two years of study).

If you didn't pass at least half of your previous study due to reasons beyond your control, you may still be able to get another Student Loan.  


Studying overseas

If you're studying overseas you need to be:

  • studying with a tertiary education provider in New Zealand
  • studying a programme that's approved by the Tertiary Education Commission.

The amount you can get overseas is the same as if you're studying in New Zealand.

When you apply for a Student Loan, an Overseas Study application form will be sent to you. You must complete this form and send it to us.


Last updated: 30 July 2014