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Fees free study

If you’re thinking about a new career, learning something new, or improving your job prospects, there’s never been a better time to jump in. The New Zealand Government has just expanded its fees-free study options, giving you that extra helping hand to get to where you want to be.

The Government has announced they’re expanding fees-free tertiary education for 2020-2022. There are two kinds of fees-free study available:

  • Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF, new in 2020), which is open to everyone but only covers specific programmes, and
  • Fees Free Tertiary Education, being one year’s fees free study, in almost any programme, for first time tertiary students.

Please read the below for which funding you may be eligible.

Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund Fees-Free Study

No matter what study you’ve done previously, this is your chance for up to two and a half years of fees-free study and a fresh start. If you’re interested in trades, engineering, care work or the primary industries, UCOL’s programmes are free to study.

The Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) provides a fees free approach to learners studying approved programmes from 1 July 2020 until 31 December 2022.  The programmes included will give you skills that are in demand by industry,  and have been identified as important for New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery.

You don’t need to apply to access the fund - just enrol in an eligible programme (see full list here), and the TTAF  process will take care of  the fees until 31 December 2022 (up to $6,500 per year).  Take this opportunity to get ahead – and keep checking back, as more programmes may be added.

If you have any questions, contact the UCOL Information Centre team on 0800 GO UCOL or check the frequently asked questions on TTAF. In some cases, there may be a small amount for learners to pay that is not met by the funding provided by the TTAF.

One Year’s Fees-Free Study

If you’re interested in studying courses that aren’t included in TTAF, and you’re studying for the first time, it’s likely you are eligible for one year of fees-free study. This is available for almost all of UCOL programmes (you can check if they qualify on the programme page).

You may qualify for this funding if you are a New Zealand citizen or resident who:

  • Was at school in or after 2017 (other than as an adult student), or
  • Hasn’t done more than half a year of equivalent full-time tertiary education (0.5 EFTS or 60 credits) at NZQA Level 3 or above

To find out if you're eligible, go to and enter your national student number (NSI). If you don't know your NSI there's a helpful link, and if you have more questions, see the FAQs.

Eligible programmes must meet these criteria:

  • Funded by the Tertiary Education Commission
  • Recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
  • Level 3 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (see UCOL's programme pages for the levels)
  • Not be part of a school learning programme or secondary-tertiary programme.

Amount of funding available

There is a limit of NZ$12,000.00 for fees, which will cover tuition fees, associated manditory fees and compulsory student services fees at UCOL.

Length, location and timing of study

  • Fees-free can use UCOL for up to two years from the study start date. Extramural study, including from overseas, is allowed.
  • Fees-free can't be deferred for a later year. It must be used from the start of an enrolment.

Already paid or applied for a student loan

If you're eligible and have already paid for your 2019 study, simply contact us for a refund. If you have applied for a StudyLink loan, log in to your StudyLink account to change your application.

Student allowances, living costs and course-related costs

If you meet the requirements, but still need support with funding other aspects of your study, you can apply to StudyLink.