From 1 January 2018, tertiary education is Fees Free for eligible first time tertiary students. For complete information on Fees Free and FAQ’s, go to

How does Fees Free apply ?

Fees Free covers training and assessment fees paid by trainees and employers, and covers the first two years of fees for eligible trainees in eligible programmes, and whose training started in 2018 or 2019. There is no fees cap for individual industry training fees.

Fees Free Eligibility

Eligible programmes must be:

  • Approved by New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)
  • Funded by Tertiary Education Commission (TEC)
  • 120 credit programmes or greater
  • At Level 3 or above on the NZ Qualifications Framework

Eligible trainees must be:

  • Allowed to work and live in New Zealand permanently
  • Not be enrolled in school when they start training, and either:
    • Been enrolled at school in 2017 or 2018, or;
    • Not have undertaken previous study or training of more than 60 credits (at Level 3 or above), except while at school
  • Enrolled in an eligible programme

Determining your eligibility for Fees Free as a trainee

Go to the eligibility tool at (Select “Industry-based Training” for your study plans).  This tool uses NSN data from TEC and NZQA, and determines a Yes/No or Unknown status. If “No”, the trainee can request a review, and if “Unknown”, trainees need to complete a statutory declaration through the tool (note that this requires the trainee to sign this form, witnessed by a Justice of the Peace)

If you are unsure how many Level 3 or higher credits you have previously completed, you should download your ‘record of achievement’ from the NZQA website. You will need your NSN number (or username).

If you have no NSN and have not previously undertaken tertiary study, you can complete a statutory declaration and provide with your training agreement. Your NSN will be created via this enrolment.

Important Notes

  • Fees Free only applies to training commencing from 1 January 2018 or later.
  • If a trainee has undertaken unit standard training and/or EFTS (equivalent full time study) training at Level 3 or above that adds up to more than 60 credits, they will not be eligible for Fees Free – this includes employees that have undertaken casual credit training that has been recorded on their record of achievement.
  • This is a “use it or lose it” policy – there is no opt-out option.
  • If a trainee is eligible for Fees Free, and then leaves their employment, they will still be eligible to uptake their fees free subsidy with their next employer

More Information: Please visit