Fees-Free Tertiary Study Policy

The Government is introducing a fees-free tertiary education policy. This means that studying with us for the first year will be fees-free for eligible first time tertiary students.

Below are some FAQs to help you understand what’s happening around the introduction of a free year of study and how you can potentially make use of fees-free as a way to study. If you've already checked that you're eligible browse our large range of career and study options.

Am I eligible?

Eligibility details have now been released for the new one-year fees-free post-school training and education policy, which will be introduced from January 1, 2018. If you want to find out whether you are eligible, please go to feesfree.govt.nz.

Are all programmes fees-free?

The government is fast tracking the introduction of zero-fees associated with your first full year or 120 credits worth of tertiary study. The details are still being worked through but at this stage is looks like this will apply to all of our programmes from Level 3 and above.

The Government will fund fees up to $12,000 for study in a year. This limit is expected to cover around 99% of first-time students. Please use the official fees-free website as a guide, as they will have the most accurate and up-to-date information.

What exactly is the government saying?

Great question! This is taken from the TEC website – The Tertiary Education Commission (the TEC) is working to progress the Government’s fees-free tertiary education policy. Students and tertiary education organisations (TEOs) will be advised as soon as possible about how the policy will be implemented including details on how eligibility will be defined.

The TEC cannot at this stage confirm any details. In the meantime, TEOs should continue enrolling students using current processes. This includes advising students to continue with their applications for student loans and allowances.

Does it apply to everyone?

Early advice is that this only applies to the first year of study for first-time domestic students.

Are refugees eligible for fees-free?

Refugees may be eligible for fees-free study even if they have studied English at a tertiary level. Refugees who have been declined for fees-free study can make a new statutory declaration via the TEC fees-free website. If you are a refugee and you have not applied for fees-free study, you can enter your national student number via the TEC fees-free website, follow the prompts, and if necessary, download a statutory declaration form. Print it off, but don't sign it (yet). You will need to take this form to a Justice of the Peace who will watch you sign the form and certify its authenticity. Then scan the certified document, and email it to feesfreecheck@tec.govt.nz.The TEC will then advise as to whether you can study for free.

Do I need to be accepted into a programme first?

Yes. Not everyone is eligible, and if you don’t get a clear ‘yes’, it’s a good option to apply for a loan to pay your fees, which will be paid back to Studylink if the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) confirms your eligibility.

How do I apply?

You don’t need to apply for fees-free. We will be notified and automatically discount your fees if you are eligible.

Where can I find more information?

We are posting updates about the scheme on our website as we get more information. Alternatively, you can also get information at www.studylink.govt.nz.

What if I change my mind?

No problem, you have the opportunity to withdraw from your chosen programme as outlined in our terms and conditions. If you do not take up your place it is likely that you will be eligible to begin your first year with zero fees at a future time.

I only want to study if it’s fees-free. What should I do?

We totally get that. If you want to study, you’ll still need to apply and be accepted into a programme. If you know what you want to study, we would still suggest that you apply and provide all of the documents and complete your enrolment. You can withdraw up to the class start date. However, do be aware that you’ll need to withdraw if you’re not coming, as you’ll be invoiced, and we’ll be expecting you.
 
The Government will fund fees up to $12,000 for study in a year. Currently nearly all of the courses at Unitec cost less than this amount. Please use the official fees-free website as a guide, as they will have the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Why did I receive an invoice? I thought it was fees-free.

We are required to send you an invoice by mail. If you know you are eligible for fees-free study, please keep an eye on your account summary in your student portal. You can find this via Student Self Service under Useful Links. Look in the Finances section.

Not everyone is eligible, and if you’re not sure, it’s a good option to apply for a loan to pay your fees, which will be paid back to Studylink if the TEC confirms your eligibility.

TEC can't confirm my eligibility. What should I do?

If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible, it’s a good option to apply for a loan to pay your fees. The loan balance will be paid back if the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) decides you are eligible, and if you find out that you’re not eligible, your studies won’t be affected (you’ll also be able to apply for a student allowance at the same time).


Got a question? Call us on 0800 10 95 10 to talk to someone who can help.

For more information, please use the official fees-free website as a more comprehensive guide.