Otago Polytechnic

Have you been thinking about undertaking tertiary study but the cost has always held you back? With Fees Free, you no longer have to worry!

From 1 January, 2018, eligible learners can study for free* in their first year at Otago Polytechnic.

You're eligible if you’re new to tertiary study or have not previously been enrolled in more than 60 credits at Level 3 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (or in equivalent tertiary study overseas). 

The Government’s Fees Free policy covers one year’s full-time study up to $12,000 (or 120 credits) and has no age restrictions. Part-time study up to $12,000 (or 120 credits) is also covered. 

This applies to all Otago Polytechnic programmes at Level 3 or above, including postgraduate qualifications.

To check your eligibility and to find out what your National Student Number is, visit www.feesfree.govt.nz

*Conditions apply

  Who can study for free at Otago Polytechnic?

Citizenship or residency requirements

You meet the residency requirements if you are: 

  1. a New Zealand Citizen, or
  2. a New Zealand Citizen or Australian resident and you’ve lived here for at least three years, while holding a residence class visa, or
  3. a refugee or protected person, or
  4. a sponsored family member of a refugee or protected person 

Previous education requirements

You meet the previous education requirements if you: 

  1. will not be enrolled in school when your 2019 qualification starts
  2. were enrolled in school in 2017 or 2018
  3. have not enrolled in previous study or training of more than 60 credits at Level 3 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (unless this was completed while you were enrolled in school) prior to 1 January, 2018
  4. have not undertaken an equivalent amount of tertiary education overseas, and you weren’t enrolled in school at the time.  

So, if you’ve done any tertiary study with us while you were at school, don’t worry, that won’t affect your eligibility!

And, Year 12 and Year 13 students can begin studying with us through initiatives such as Otago Secondary-Tertiary College and still be eligible for fees-free later.

Eligible qualification and programme criteria requirements                                                  

The programme of study you wish to undertake must also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. start on or after 1 January, 2018
  2. funded by the Tertiary Education Commisson (TEC)
  3. recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications authority (NZQA)
  4. be at Level 3 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework,
  5. for industry training only, be at least 120 credits.  

Full-time and part-time

The policy covers one year of full-time study. Your free study can be part-time but must not exceed 120 credits (or $12,000).

Age requirements

There is no lower or upper age limit!

Who is responsible for determining eligibility?

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) are responsible for determining responsibility. Otago Polytechnic are not responsible for this.

More information about the eligibility criteria can be found in the Fees Free FAQs.

  How do I find out if I’m eligible for the Fees Free policy?

The easiest way to check if you’re eligible is to use the online eligibility tool at https://www.feesfree.govt.nz/ 

You will need to enter your National Student Number (NSN) to do this.

If you don’t know your NSN or don’t have one, don’t worry. There is a link provided on the webpage mentioned above for those in this situation. You will be guided through some information which will help you.

  What’s covered?

The fees-free policy has the same coverage as the fees component of student loans. It covers: 

  • tuition fees and associated mandatory fees, and
  • compulsory student services fees (such as our Student Services Levy)

up to $12,000 (or approximately 120 credits). 

Programmes that are more than 120 credits in one year will be covered as long as the total is less than $12,000.

Other costs

Tertiary study includes other costs that aren’t covered by the fees-free policy. This includes things like accommodation, living costs (food, power) and textbooks or equipment. You’ll need to cover these costs through other means (such as a student loan and/or allowance).

Check the specific programme page on this website for the qualification you want to undertake for more information about additional costs or contact the school directly.

  What does this mean for my student loan and/or allowance?

It’s a good idea to check if you’re eligible for fees-free study before applying for student support so you know whether to ask for a loan for your fees or not.

If you’re eligible for fees-free, you don’t need to ask StudyLink to pay your fees.

However, you can still borrow course-related costs and living costs through a student loan. Your student allowance eligibility won’t change either.

If you still want a loan (i.e. for course-related or living costs), make sure that the ‘Pay fees’ option in your loan application is set to ‘No’.

More information can be found on the Student support changes webpage on the Studylink website.

  What if I’ve already applied for a student loan and no longer need it?

If you’ve applied for a loan but don’t need it anymore because you are eligible for fees-free study, StudyLink will be in touch with you by email.  

This email will advise that StudyLink believe you're eligible for the fees-free study. They will say that they've made a change to your student loan application to ensure that they don't pay any fees to your education provider while you verify your eligibility. 

They will then say that if you're definitely eligible, you don't need to do anything and if you're not eligible, you'll need to let them know by changing your 'Pay fees' details in MyStudyLink. 

Finally, they say that if you're planning on borrowing the course-related costs or living costs components of your student loan, that it's still important to provide any information they've asked for so they can carry on processing your application.  

If you do need to contact StudyLink, their contact details are below:

Phone: 0800 88 99 00 (Monday-Friday, 8.00am-5.00pm)

Email form: http://faqs.studylink.govt.nz/app/ask 

  What if I'm eligible for fees-free study but StudyLink have already paid my invoice?
Don't worry, you don't have to do anything. 
Our Student Fees Administrator is identifying any learners who are in this situation and a refund will be paid back to StudyLink by Otago Polytechnic. 
Due to the time of year and the large numbers of learners we are working with, please allow for this process to take up to two weeks. 
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you. 
  What if I’ve already been invoiced?

If you are eligible for fees-free study, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will be paying your fees for you, so you don't need to pay your invoice. 

If you have any questions, please email info@op.ac.nz or phone 0800 762 786. 

  What if I want to apply for a Level 2 programme?

Due to a separate government initiative aiming to encourage more people to achieve a Level 2 qualification, we are offering free fees to those that do not already hold a Level 2 qualification. If you do hold a Level 2 or higher qualification, *some restrictions may apply.

Please email info@op.ac.nz or phone 0800 762 786 for more information.

  Should I apply for a programme through Fees Free or Youth Guarantee?

We are still offering Youth Guarantee Scheme funding for some of our Level 2 and Level 3 programmes.

However, you don’t need to worry about these finer funding details.

Please just apply for your programme of choice. We will determine whether you are more suited to your study being funded through the Fees Free policy or Youth Guarantee and let you know!


  What does this mean for scholarships?

With the introduction of the Fees Free scheme, your first year of tertiary study is covered by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Unfortunately, this means we are now unable to put any awarded scholarships towards tuition fees. However, we do have alternative options for those that are awarded a scholarship. 

The options available are:

For students who are unable to defer their scholarship a third alternative option is offered: 

  • use your scholarship for course-related costs up to a maximum of $2,000 including GST paid by reimbursement on production of invoices. 

Those who can't defer their scholarship will be those who have a three year full fees scholarship or those that are studying a one year programme. The third option is only available to those students. 

What happens next?

We will send a communication to all our scholarship recipients letting you know about this situation and asking you to email your preference to customerservices@op.ac.nz 

Please note

  • Any income that you receive while on a student allowance must be reported to StudyLink.
  • If you choose the accommodation option, please be aware that StudyLink will view this as income and it may impact on your student allowance.
  • You will need to advise StudyLink that you are going to use your 2018 scholarship for accommodation in our Student Village. 
  • For help and guidance with this, please either contact the Otago Polytechnic Student Association (OPSA) www.opsa.org.nz or contact StudyLink directly www.studylink.govt.nz or 0800 88 99 00

If you have any questions about any of the above, please email customerservices@op.ac.nz or phone 0800 762 786.

  Should I apply now or wait?

There’s never been a better time to apply for tertiary study at Otago Polytechnic so it would be great to hear from you!

For help and support with choosing your study option, email info@op.ac.nz or phone 0800 762 786.

To apply now, head to www.op.ac.nz/apply