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Learner Rights and Responsibilities

This document provides key information, lists the rights and responsibilities and an overview of some of the policies that affect all learners at Otago Polytechnic, both domestic and international. These policies are available in full on the Polytechnic’s website or can be obtained from the Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association (OPSA) or school offices.

Policies are subject to review and revision. For any significant change there is a consultation phase which enables you to have your say. Following approval of new or changed policies that affect learners, OPSA are notified. Assistance with any of the issues covered in this document can be obtained from Polytechnic staff or the OPSA office (located in the Mason Centre, Forth Street, phone 03 477 6974, e-mail

An Arrival Guide for International Students outlining specific rights and responsibilities is given to all prospective and enrolling international learners.

This Pre-Departure and Arrival Guide contains specific information which the Ministry of Educations Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 requires.

Further information on the code is available at

Building Capability (work readiness)

Our programmes are designed to help you build your capabilities so that you are ready for work when you graduate. At Otago Polytechnic being capable (work ready) means that you are personally effective, future focused and able to practise sustainably. Capability means being able to take action in your work and your personal life.

As a personally effective individual you will be skilled at making the best use of the time and resources at your disposal to achieve goals. You will have strong interpersonal skills and build positive relationships, taking responsibility for your actions and seeking feedback to improve your performance.

As a future focused individual you will be able to look forward and will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and attributes to seize learning opportunities throughout life to broaden your abilities and to adapt to change.

In practising sustainably you will be able to apply frameworks of sustainable practice (ecological, social, political and economic) to the context of your industry or field of study, in order to challenge existing practices and develop more sustainable ways of operating.

Our programmes are designed to purposefully build learner capability. They do this by incorporating a variety of authentic work experiences including practical learning, individual and group projects, simulations and real world work placements. These, and other self-managed learning opportunities, will enable you to acquire the skills, knowledge, attitudes and confidence to follow your chosen career pathway and to be ready for employment or self-employment.

In addition to the specific knowledge and skills needed for your qualification you will learn about sustainability because we recognise the need to prepare our graduates to contribute to a sustainable future, where economic, social, political and environmental dimensions are in balance.

Adult literacy and numeracy skills are important to maintain a healthy society, to help individuals to develop, and to build a skilled and productive workforce. Literacy and numeracy is embedded in all our courses at levels 1-3 and all learners in these programmes are required to complete the adult literacy and numeracy assessment at both the beginning and end of their programme. These assessments measure gains in literacy and numeracy made during the programme.

Digital information literacy is essential for modern life. As a learner you will use computer and internet skills to access your learning material, produce your course work, and to communicate with your teachers. Graduates from Otago Polytechnic will be well equipped with digital information literacy to participate in a knowledge-based society.

We have a memorandum of understanding with Kāi Tahu and demonstrate this relationship in many ways by honouring and attending to appropriate protocols such as mihi whakatau and by ensuring that curriculum content and delivery includes appropriate Treaty of Waitangi related learning.

We work closely with professions, industries and employers and advisory groups to ensure our programmes and teachers remain current and that we know what our graduates need to be able to do. We strive to provide you with a learning environment that challenges, inspires and motivates you to gain the qualification and skills that are sought after by employers or that will equip you to establish your own business.

We take pride in the personalised approach to learning and we recognise the teacher: learner relationship as an important partnership to help you to realise your potential and achieve your goals. Our on-campus programmes have a mix of online, face to face, self-managed learning activities and authentic work experiences designed to help you learn and to develop capability.

We are developing ways to measure learner capability with the intention that you will be able to assess yourself and track your progress and development. A final assessment on completion of your qualification will give you information you can share with a future employer about your broader capability skills and readiness for work.

Structure of the Polytechnic

The Otago Polytechnic Council is the governing body of Otago Polytechnic. Members of the Council are appointed by the Minister of Education. Council usually meets monthly and has defined responsibilities for governing the Polytechnic.

Council employs the Chief Executive, Phil Ker, who is responsible for leading and managing the Polytechnic. The Chief Executive employs all other staff. Included in the Executive Leadership Team are:

  • Deputy Chief Executive Learner Experience
  • Deputy Chief Executive Learning and Teaching Services
  • Deputy Chief Executive Māori Development/Kaitohutohu
  • Deputy Chief Executive People, Performance and Development
  • Deputy Chief Executive Chief Operating Officer Corporate Services

The organisational chart link below illustrates the reporting lines to the Executive Leadership team. 


Organisation Chart as of November 2020


The Polytechnic is required to have an Academic Board which ensures that you have quality programmes; it is made up of representatives of key groups and learner representatives. It meets monthly and is usually chaired by the Chief Executive. Academic Board has a number of Standing Committees such as Research and Postgraduate  Committee, and Programme Approvals Committee.

A number of other committees are convened for specific purposes such as the  Research Ethics Committee, and the Library Committee. Should you wish to raise a matter with any of these committees, please contact the Chief Executive’s Office who will be able to put you in touch with the relevant person.

The Polytechnic is divided into ten academic areas referred to as either school, institute or college, plus a Central Otago regional campus in Cromwell and an international campus in Auckland.

Otago Polytechnic also has Community Learning Centres located in Mosgiel and Cromwell. Each academic area has a Head of School/College who is responsible for the academic management within their area. The Head of School/College reports to the Deputy Chief Executive Learner Experience, as noted above.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

Otago Polytechnic provides a range of support services for its domestic and international learners, some of which are outlined below. Remember that if you are unsure of what to do, you can contact the Customer Services Centre located on the ground floor of the Geoff Mason Centre, your school office, members of the Student Success Team or the Otago Polytechnic Students Association (OPSA) who are there to help and advocate for you. The Student Success Team is located in the Hub on the ground floor of H block and OPSA is located on the ground floor of the Geoff Mason Centre.

The services below, and others, are also described in the Prospectus “Career Pathways” and in pamphlets available at the various facilities. There is a vast amount of information available for learners on the Otago Polytechnic website, the student hub and Moodle, our Learning Management System. We encourage you to become familiar with these information sources.

Otago Polytechnic is committed to providing an environment that is enjoyable, safe and secure for all learners, staff and visitors. All Polytechnic learners should be guided by principles of openness, fairness and respect, and should be able to engage in the activities of learning in a manner that strives for excellence.

The rights and responsibilities in this document apply to ‘all’ learners, and act as a guide to the policies and practices within the Polytechnic.


While these rights and responsibilities apply to ‘all’ learners, Otago Polytechnic as a signatory to The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016, has additional responsibilities towards  international learners. Code of Practice resources are available in different languages

Likewise international learners also have additional responsibilities to maintain the conditions of their study visa.

Any issues regarding international fees that are not able to be resolved refer to Learner Fees, Withdrawal, Transfer, Cancellation and Refund.

Any other complaints not able to be resolved refer to Resolution of Learner Complaints (refer to complaints / discipline section below).

Complaints not resolved to the International learner's satisfaction can be referred to NZQA


Our commitment to you is to create an environment where you have all the information and tools required to succeed in your study. The services you should expect are:

> to receive clear, accurate and up to date course advice for all courses/programmes

> to have quality learning and teaching experiences from enthusiastic teachers who communicate effectively with you

> to be informed about what is expected of you as a learner

> to have access to information that will assist in your course/programme,  including relevant policies and procedures that affect you as a learner

> to be supported in your learning with up-to-date information and course content by staff who are sufficiently current and up-to-date in their respective areas of expertise

> to receive clear information on how and when assessments will be conducted

> to receive fair, timely and constructive information on your performance in your course/programme

> to be able to provide feedback about the course / programme and teaching in which you are engaged,without fear or anxiety about giving that feedback

> to receive feedback on changes to the course / programme as a consequence of feedback provided by learners

> to have reasonable opportunities to have a say about how the Polytechnic operates

> to be treated with respect by learners and staff

> to learn in an environment that is free from bullying, harassment or discrimination, including online forums

> to have access to clear and appropriate procedures for dealing with grievances

> to have reasonable access to facilities, learner support services, and appropriate resources

> to be members of a students’ association

You have the right to a safe and supportive environment and should feel comfortable asking questions or clarifying information with staff. Should you have any concerns or feel you are being disadvantaged; a good place to start is talking to your Programme Manager, your Head of School/College, OPSA or a member of the Student Success Team.


There are a number of general rules within Otago Polytechnic policies which are set to protect people’s health, safety, your rights and the rights of others. In exercising your rights as a learner you are expected to accept the following responsibilities:

> to take responsibility for your own behaviour and to take responsibility for your own learning including:

> to be self-motivated and self-directed including undertaking preparation work when expected

> to actively participate in your programme of study

> to put your best efforts into your study

> to meet all obligations such as due dates for work and assessments

> to submit work which is your own

> to keep to time with classes and timetables or agreed appointments

> to treat all individuals and property with respect

> to have awareness for the well-being and safety of others

> to participate in providing constructive and useful feedback on teaching, courses and programmes

> to promote an environment that is safe and free from bullying, harassment and discrimination, including online forums

> to make yourself aware of policies, procedures and rules and to abide by them

> to use the resources and facilities of the Polytechnic with regard to others

> to inform the school if you are unable to attend class, practicals or assessments

> to ensure that you have sufficient personal insurance cover for loss of property in the event that your own property is damaged, lost or stolen

> to be aware and comply with the Copyright Act 1994, covered in policy Academic Integrity

> to be aware and comply with the Polytechnic’s position on intellectual property with respect to learner outputs or outcomes, see policies Intellectual Property and Intellectual Property - Mātauranga Māori.

The above responsibilities also apply to staff.

Unacceptable Behaviours

The following behaviours are not acceptable at Otago Polytechnic, and may result in disciplinary action being taken: *

> disruptive behaviour which interferes with the rights and learning opportunities of others

> language and imagery which is offensive (may be verbal, written or electronic)

> hand gestures of an offensive nature

> carrying or being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol

> any threatening, bullying or intimidatory behaviour or acts of aggression

> stealing

> vandalism

> any other criminal behaviour that is likely to result in police or legal investigation

> inappropriate use of Otago Polytechnic computers, networks, including unauthorised access to IT systems or IT services, cyber-bullying in any form on any platform (whether done on or off Otago Polytechnic premises or networks)

> using Otago Polytechnic supplied networks to view inappropriate material (whether Otago Polytechnic owned computers, or on personal computers or personal devices

The University of Otago’s Proctor who manages Campus Watch staff has delegated authority from Otago

Polytechnic to deal with Otago Polytechnic learners found behaving inappropriately or illegally.

* refer to “Complaints / Discipline” section.

Academic Progress

You are expected to make satisfactory progress. Failure to make satisfactory academic progress (i.e. pass 50% or more credits in enrolled courses of study) will result in a review and in the first instance you will be provided with opportunities to improve performance through support from the Student Success Team. Should you continue to fail to reach a satisfactory academic standard you may be excluded from study at the Polytechnic for a period of one year and/or be required to demonstrate your ability to succeed (refer to policy Learner Discipline).There are also implications with future Studylink student loans and allowances if you do not make satisfactory academic progress. For all information regarding loans and allowances refer to the Studylink website 

International learners should also refer to International Learner Attainment and Attendance.

Complaints / Discipline

Should a complaint be made against you, you will be requested to attend an interview with the Head of School/College to investigate the allegation and determine a pathway forward. The complaint may be referred to the Director: Quality Services for resolution (refer to policy Resolution of Learner Complaints).

Should you wish to make a complaint, policy Resolution of Learner Complaints is on our learner intranet site “Study” and will guide you through the process. The complaints process consists of a number of stages; there is a choice for the learner at each stage and there are also prescribed practices for both learners and staff.

If you break the rules, you may be subject to disciplinary procedures. The Te Kaihāpai has the authority to decide on a range of disciplinary measures including suspending or excluding you, cancelling your academic results and fining you (refer to policies Programme Entry, Continuation and Exclusion and Learner Discipline).

Harassment and Bullying

You have the right to study in a harassment and bully free environment.  Otago Polytechnic has a policy, Harassment and Bullying Prevention and Management, for the prevention of harassment and bullying and a procedure for dealing with complaints.

Harassment and bullying offends people.  In some instances it may be unlawful.  Harassment may be sexual in nature or based on that person’s gender, race, colour, age, disability, physical appearance, marital or family status, religion, political opinion or sexual orientation. Bullying is unwelcome and unreasonable behaviour which includes victimisation, humiliation, undermining or threatening behaviour and may involve the actions of individuals or a group.

Harassment and bullying can be:

> verbal behaviour – saying things to or about a person, or talking within the hearing of others about subjects that may be offensive, shouting, mimicking

> visual behaviour – writing, drawing, posters, txt, pxt, posting and downloading or displaying offensive material e.g. Facebook, Twitter, myspace, blogs, wikis

> physical behaviour – inappropriate touching, gestures or invading personal spaced, being overbearing, excluding a person from a group

> behaviour that is hurtful, unwelcome or offensive to the person receiving it.

The names of trained harassment and bullying contact people are displayed throughout the Polytechnic, or you can contact any member of staff, Head of School/College or OPSA if you have a concern or complaint.


Otago Polytechnic collects and stores personal information relating to your enrolment and academic progress, as well as information required by various agencies including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand Qualifications Authority and others. All information is collected, stored and managed in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993.

You have the right to request to see and correct if necessary the information you have provided. If you wish to enquire about personal information held by Otago Polytechnic please contact Customer Services. You will be required to provide some form of valid ID such as a drivers licence or passport  if you wish to access your personal information.

Finding the Right Programme

Information about available programmes and qualifications is published in the Programme Guide which comes out every year, usually in the preceding May, and is available on the Otago Polytechnic’s website. Staff can give you more information if you need it. Recruitment advisers will give you help with general issues about programmes. They can be contacted through the Marketing office.

Application / Enrolment

When you sign your Application/Enrolment form you agree to comply with and be bound by the rules and regulations of Otago Polytechnic. Before you can be enrolled it may be necessary for you to provide the staff in Registry, Forth Street, or at our Cromwell or Auckland campus, a verified (certified) copy of a formal document that proves you are who you say you are. This document is usually a Birth Certificate or Passport. A Marriage Certificate or Deed Poll document may also be required if your name differs from that on your Birth Certificate or Passport. Staff in Registry or at our other campuses can explain this to you if you are not sure. The Ministry of Social Development also requires us to collect certain information. Make sure that you fill out all the mandatory fields in your application/enrolment form or it may hold up your enrolment, your loan, your allowance, your results, or all four. Enrolment is not complete until you have provided all required documentation and information.

If your programme lasts longer than one year, you will have to enrol again each year and we will need to reconfirm your details for each separate year or separate programme you attend. You are expected to keep your personal details in the Student Management System up to date, and this information is accessible when you are logged into the Student Hub.


An indication of fees for 2019 is available in our 2019 Programme Guide, Programme Information Sheets or the Otago Polytechnic website. Domestic learner full fee payments are due within 14 days of the date of the invoice or by the programme/course start date, whichever is the latter.

We accept a number of payment methods including EFT POS, cheque, credit card, internet banking or learner/student loan. Cash is not a preferred payment method and cash payments over $500 will not be accepted at Customer Services due to the risk posed to the paying learner and Otago Polytechnic staff. Bank deposit slips are available at Customer Services for learners to take the money and the deposit slip to the Westpac Bank and pay their fees directly into the Otago Polytechnic account, or learners can take the deposit slip to their own bank for payment of their fees by transfer to Otago Polytechnic. 

If you haven’t paid your fees, your enrolment is not complete. You might still be able to go to classes  if you are waiting for a learner/student loan or if you prove that your employer is going to pay. If you do not pay, you may be asked to leave the programme. Outstanding unpaid fees will result in debt collection processes being implemented. This is undertaken through a debt collection agency. It is important to note that debt collection action would provide adverse information on a credit check and may result in a declined credit application.

If a learner owes the Otago Polytechnic money for fees or any other item, the learner will be prevented from graduating or receiving their awards until the debt has been paid in full. Learners may also be prevented from re-enrolling in further courses of study. If you have difficulty paying, talk to the Senior Accounts Officer, Business Services. In special circumstances, you can be given a short time to make final payment.

Loans and Allowances

StudyLink provides financial support to learners and helps them to make informed decisions about finances and other study-related issues. The StudyLink website provides information and tools for learners.

Thinking of leaving or changing your programme?

Finding that your programme is too tough, or not what you expected?

Family and personal problems getting in the way of study?

Feeling isolated?

Struggling to cope financially, or worried about debt?

Learners sometimes have doubts about whether to continue with their studies. It may be that something has happened recently that makes you question whether staying on is the right thing to do. Or, it could be a gradual build up of pressures that makes you question your ability to cope. It is at these times that leaving Otago Polytechnic may seem to provide a quick solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem. But, this may not be the right decision.

Have you stopped to think it through? 


You will need to think about your academic options


> should you suspend your studies?

> should you transfer programmes?

> do you need additional study support?


You will need to think about finances


> are you getting all the money that you are entitled to?

> are you worried about getting into debt?

> you will need to think about the financial consequences of leaving Otago Polytechnic


You will need to think about employment


> do you need help with seeking employment?

> do your CV and job hunting skills need updating?

> do you need help with finding part-time work?

It is very important that you allow time to reflect on these things. It is advisable that you discuss your thoughts and plans with someone in the first instance.

What to do … 

Contact the Student Success Team by email or drop in and see them in The Hub on the ground floor of H Block, or phone 0800 762 786. 

Refund of Fees

If you formally withdraw from a programme or part of a programme, you may be entitled to a fee refund. The refund policy is detailed and can be found in full on the Intranet; Withdrawal, Transfer, Cancellation and Refund Policy.

The key points of Otago Polytechnic’s refund policy are specified in the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. 

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

(including Credit Transfer, Cross Credits and Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning)

The Polytechnic wants to give you credit for study you have already finished or for work or other experience you may have that will help you with your programme. If this is formal tertiary study completed at this or another recognised tertiary institution, you may be eligible for credits to be transferred to your programme of study. Informal learning in the form of work or other life experience may also be recognised. Crediting previous study or experience is covered by the Academic policy AP0501 Recognition of Prior Learning.

If you want us to recognise things you have already done, please contact the Head of School, advise what it is you have done, provide evidence and ask for it to be recognised. We will then set up a process which enables you to demonstrate that you possess the required skills and knowledge to be credited with the appropriate units of learning. This process often needs to be quite comprehensive.

For credit transfer and cross credits you will be required to provide evidence of any prior achievements such as NZQA Record of Learning, Result Transcript or Academic Transcript from another education provider. As the cost varies for RPL this will be discussed on an individual basis. 

Attendance / Engagement

During your time at Otago Polytechnic you will engage in different types of learning - a mix of traditional face-to-face teaching, self directed learning and electronic learning  activities such as online learning materials, online discussions or assessments, as well as work experience placements.

The Polytechnic expects full and active participation from learners. Our experience clearly shows that failure to attend or participate in required activities will impact on your ability to successfully meet the requirements of your course and may result in failure of the course (refer to policy Programme Entry, Enrolment and Continuation).

If you are sick and unable to attend or there is some other valid reason preventing you from attending, you should let your teaching staff know as soon as practicable. 


Here at Otago Polytechnic, we welcome your feedback which we use to improve what we do. We have a number of mechanisms in place to receive feedback and on many occasions throughout your time with us you will be asked to provide feedback on your courses, your programme, your teachers and your experiences with us. We have Polytechnic-wide surveys, individual course evaluations, and feedback on teaching. These give us important information about our courses and our programmes, our schools, our staff and about your experiences. The surveys also help us to make comparisons across the Polytechnic and with other tertiary providers in New Zealand and in Australia.

Most surveys and evaluations are online. We strongly encourage you to take these opportunities to have your voice heard to drive improvement during your time at Otago Polytechnic and in the future.

We take all feedback seriously and use it to develop our courses/programmes and support services to match the needs and requirements of our student body. Steps taken to address feedback are reported back to you through courses, programmes, schools and on Moodle.

Having your say does make a difference. With your help we can ensure that all our learners have outstanding experiences, that Otago Polytechnic meets the needs of all its learners and that we achieve our vision of being New Zealand’s leading Polytechnic. 


As a learner you are entitled to assessments that are valid, fair and reliable. The Polytechnic policy is set out in Assessment and Moderation.

Important points regarding this policy are:

> You will be informed in writing of the dates and times of your assessments in the first two weeks of your courses/programme. You will also be informed in writing of any procedures that pertain to resits or re- submissions.

> There are definite rules regarding cheating and plagiarism (using someone else’s work and pretending it is your own). Breaking these rules may result in academic penalty (see policy Academic Integrity).

> You have the right to see your marked exam script and a marking schedule for written assessments.

> If you believe you have been unfairly treated in an assessment, you have the right to appeal the decision. Often these misunderstandings can be cleared up with your lecturer but if you are not satisfied you should follow the process set out in policy Academic Appeal Process for Learners. Note that the appeal process contains time constraints which must be met, so please ensure you apply early.

> If you are prevented from sitting an assessment, you may be eligible for an aegrotat mark. (An aegrotat mark is an estimate of the mark you would have achieved if you could have sat the assessment. It is based on your previous assessment results.) The procedure for aegrotats is set out in policy Impaired Performance/Aegrotat.

> If you are prevented from doing your best in an assessment because of illness or circumstances beyond your control, you may be eligible for consideration because of impaired performance. See policy Impaired Performance/Aegrotat for procedures.

If you have any concerns about how you are assessed you may wish to discuss this with your Lecturer, Programme Leader, Head of School/College, the Student Success Team or OPSA.

Completion of your Programme

Learners, except for those on some very short courses, are entitled to an award on successfully completing a programme. This may be a certificate, diploma, undergraduate degree or a postgraduate degree.

The Polytechnic holds two graduation ceremonies during the year, usually in March and December. These are special occasions celebrating your success. You will be allowed to invite guests and you will be required to wear appropriate academic regalia when collecting your award. In order to graduate, you will need to have met some conditions such as successfully completing your programme and having paid all fees including library fines and Student Health charges. You would normally expect to graduate at the next available graduation ceremony following your successful completion of your programme.

See policy Graduation.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

This is a copy of the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment for domestic and international learners. When signing and submitting the application form, this indicates that you have read and agreed to these Terms and Conditions. 


Confirmation of enrolment will be provided in the form of a confirmation of place letter. 

Payment is due ten (10) days prior to the programme start date. Any learner who wishes to dispute the fees due must do so within one (1) month of the invoice date. A request to review the fees or account balance must be made within this month, in writing to the Customer Services Team Leader, Otago Polytechnic. At the discretion of Otago Polytechnic, and with just cause, this period may be extended. Once the request is received, the review will be completed within seven (7) working days. Once the review is completed, any outstanding balance is due immediately.

Depending on the programme or course, fees charged will be one or several of (but not limited to): tuition fees, ID card fee, Examination fee(s), Student Health Levy, Student Services Levy, and administration fee. Failure to pay any invoice(s) by the due date means you will then be liable for all costs and expenses (including legal costs, debt collection agent fees, and this may affect your credit rating) which may be incurred in the recovery or attempted recovery of the overdue amount from you. Under these circumstances, Otago Polytechnic may give to, or obtain from, any relevant third party information held about your personal or commercial credit arrangements. Academic Results for a student will be withheld for any course or programme where fees or any other debt remains unpaid. A student will be prevented from graduating or receiving their award(s) until their debt has been paid in full. The student will also be prevented from re-enrolling in further courses of study.


Enrolment in a programme or course is conditional upon and subject to sufficient numbers of students enrolling in the programme or course. 


Transfers are negotiated with the Head of College or Programme Manager. There are no penalties; however, there may be additional fees required or a refund may be due. Where a student loan has been used to pay fees the refund will need to be returned to StudyLink and a new loan drawn down for the new programme.


The key points of Otago Polytechnic’s refund policy, Withdrawal, Transfer, Cancellation and Refund are summarised below. If you have any questions, contact your school or Customer Services. Make sure you understand the refund policy before enrolling.

If you want to leave your programme or course, you must formally withdraw by filling out a withdrawal form (available from the School Administrator) and then returning it to the School Administrator. Withdrawal is confirmed from the date this form is received by Otago Polytechnic / OPAIC, and will be used when processing your withdrawal in the Student Management System (SMS). The final date for withdrawing from courses in a programme that commences in 2020 and receiving a refund will be identified on the student's invoice.

NB: Administration fees (for example Assessment of Prior Learning fees) are separate charges and are normally not included with fees refunds if a student withdraws before the last date for withdrawal with a refund.

Please note: If you have more than four consecutive weeks of non-attendance in classes, or non-participation in required online activities associated with your programme or course, and we are unable to contact you, you will be withdrawn. 







Before the programme start date

 Not started


No result recorded

Domestic Students - for first 10%

Programme/courses commenced


No result recorded

Before a course start date where a prerequisite course is not passed

Not started


No Result Recorded

Capable NZ Facilitation

Before facilitation commences


No result recorded

Capable NZ Facilitation

From commencement of facilitation/assessment process

Varies depending on services consumed


After the last date for withdrawal with a refund but before 80% of the course/programme is completed




After 80% of the programme duration completed

Any withdrawal from a programme will not be processed in the SMS


 Did Not Complete (DNC) or Grade attained

(Refer to Grade Table for programme)

Final result entered or programme completed

Any withdrawal from a programme will not be processed in the SMS


Result or Grade attained




Notification within 7 days
of visa/permit having been
declined, and before 
programme start date
 Not started  100%  $100 GST incl No result 
Before the programme 
start date 
Not started  75%  Nil  No result
After start date and within
first 2 weeks 
75%  Nil   No result
After programme start
date, withdrawal due to
academic or disciplinary
Nil   Nil  Did Not 
(DNC) or
(refer to 
grade table) 
After programme start
date and visa/permit not
Nil  Nil   
Fees set by external bodies         
Before cut-off date     100% $50 GST incl  
Agent fees    Nil  Nil   

Stand Alone/Short Courses: for a standalone course which is part of a programme and for short courses, the last date for withdrawal with a refund is usually the first day of the course or short course, which equates to 10% of the course. A $50 GST incl administration fee will be charged for a withdrawal after the course starts and before 10% elapses.

Compassionate consideration: if you withdraw after the last dates for withdrawal with a refund have passed, you may be eligible for compassionate consideration. Compassionate consideration may be considered for the following reasons:

> Medical, supported in writing by a health professional

> Work related, supported by a letter from an employer

Academic Registry will advise the result of the application for compassionate consideration.

An exit interview with either the Student Support Advisor or the Career Counsellor may be required as a part of the withdrawal process.


The Polytechnic collects and stores information about students to comply with various statutes and/or regulations, to enable us to make decisions regarding your academic progress, and to provide you with evidence of your academic achievements. This information may be also shared with other Otago Polytechnic schools/areas on a "need to know" basis, and is used to arrange appropriate support for students. After graduation your contact information is used for the graduate destination survey and provided to the Alumni office.

Where it is relevant, personal information may be disclosed to other agencies such as, but not limited to: the Ministry of Education, Audit New Zealand, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Industry Training Organisations, industry licensing and registration bodies, other tertiary institutions and providers of work experience for students in courses with a practical component. Upon failure to comply with policy International Learner Attainment and Attendance policy, information may also be provided to the parent, guardian or caregiver of an International student. In addition, when required by law, we will release information as directed. An information matching agreement exists between the Ministry of Social Development and Otago Polytechnic, which allows payment of loans and allowances. We will provide information to Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association for its membership records.

Students have the right to request to see and correct if necessary the information you have provided. If you wish to enquire about personal information held by Otago Polytechnic please contact Customer Services. You will be required to provide some form of valid ID such as a drivers licence or passport if you wish to access your personal information.

Additional Information


Supporting your Success – The Student Success Team

Starting life as a new learner can be exciting as well as challenging.

Our Learner Services Team is here to support you and make sure your time at Otago Polytechnic is rewarding and fun!


Student Success Teams

To make an appointment, book online with Student Success.
Please ring or email if you have an question.

Student Success is open Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 5 pm 

Dunedin Campus

H Block
0800 762 786

Auckland Campus

Room 101, Level 1
0800 111 212

Central Campus

Corner of Erris and Ray Streets
0800 765 9276


Student Success Team Leader

Patricia Quensell


Student Suport - Te Ama Tauira

The website with all the tools, skills and services you'll need to succeed in your studies.


Career Support

Patricia Quensell –

Patricia offers expert guidance and a friendly ear to help you make informed career decisions based on you own personal values, goals and interests. She can discuss career options, a possible course of study, job applications or interviews, or any other career-related topic. Patricia takes an holistic approach to career guidance. Reflecting on what is important to you will help you decide on the next step towards your career goals. The service Patricia provides includes:

> Individual career guidance and planning

> Drop-in career support

> A broad range of career information

> Employability workshops.

Māori Learner Support

Te Punaka Ōwheo is Otago Polytechnic's Māori Centre. Our staff provide holisticsupport, advice and guidance to Māori learners on campus, as well as to those studying by distance. Our friendly team can provide assistance on a range of issues including:

  • Programme enrolment and enquiries
  • Academic advice
  • Learner / student loans and allowances
  • Whanaukataka (relationships and connections)
  • Manaakitaka (care and support)
  • Connecting with your iwi
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Information about scholarships and grants
  • Assistance with scholarship and grant applications
  • Sourcing information
  • Learner advocacy.

Te Punaka Ōwheo includes Poho, a Māori learner-dedicated space on the Dunedin campus that is equipped with desks, computers, internet access and a kitchen. There is kai available for breakfast and we provide a cooked lunch in Poho for Māori learners every Wednesday at 12pm.

Nau mai, haere mai, tauti mai - come along and check us out!

Pasifika Support

After enrolment, all Pacific Island Learners will be contacted by the Pacific Island Advisor via a letter, email, phone call or text welcoming you to Otago Polytechnic. Regular Fono are held during the year and all Pasifika learners are encouraged to attend.

There are scholarships for learners already attending programmes at Otago Polytechnic. There are also specific scholarships for Pacific Island learners studying health-related programmes.

Disability Support

Danni Roberts –

Disability Support is a free service to support learners who identify as having a disability, usually on their application/enrolment form, that will impact on their ability to participate in their learning. Danni Roberts provides support tailored to your individual needs, this may include classroom note-takers, readers/writers, tutors, equipment, adaptive technology, orientation and liaison with lecturing staff and community agencies.

Learners can expect to receive professional, timely and an ethical service. The rights of learners to be treated equitably and with respect are acknowledged.

Learners whose disability necessitates organising specialised services are responsible for, and encouraged to make the earliest possible contact with the Disability Service / Student Success Team to ensure the necessary arrangements can be made in a timely manner.

To seek assistance you will need to have indicated that you require support on your enrolment form. You are required to supply supporting documentation describing the nature of your disability or medical condition and any impact that it will have in an educational context to the Student Success Team. This is particularly important with hidden disabilities or medical conditions.

Wellbeing Support

Danni Roberts –

Wellbeing support is available for learners who feel they are challenged by emotional, work/life balance, relationships, study workload or any other stress that is impacting on their study. Danni can support you to identify what the impacts are, and offer practical advice and options. Danni will structure a support plan that best suits your needs while studying at Otago Polytechnic.  Setting achievable goals, problem solving, respect, confidentiality, advocacy are also some of the things you can gain from this support.


Sheena Roy or email

Sheena and Yvonne are the International Student Advisors and are dedicated to assisting international learners before and during their studies. They will assist learners to settle into Dunedin and ensure learners get personalised support during their study. They can also assist with Student Visa applications and any claims learners have for Medical and Health insurance.

International Homestay - Dunedin Campus

Aaza Garcia

Some international learners choose to live in a “homestay” for their first year and live with a family in their home. Homestays are available to Dunedin campus based international learners at a cost of $266 per week and include three meals a day. There is a one-off placement fee of $280. You will have your own bedroom with a single bed, desk and wardrobe. Some homestay hosts provide you with the internet, or allow you to use it at home for a small fee, but you can also access the internet at Otago Polytechnic or pay for a wireless connection to be setup. 

Learning Advisors

Kristen Bracey / Rose Stanton / Ross Gilbertson / Marje Schaddelee -

Our learning advisors Kristen, Rose, Ross and Marje, provide learning support services to all enrolled learners. These services include:

> One-on-one appointments

> Facilitated study groups and tutorials

> English grammar and literacy development

> Hand-outs and study cards

> Online information and support for distance learners.



The Chaplain offers a service that is inclusive, open, non-judgmental and confidential, and free! The Chaplain is here to listen and walk with you through whatever issues are important to you. Chaplaincy services and activities include:

> pastoral care & support

> bereavement & grief support

> prayer, with you or for you

> help with homesickness

> sacramental ministry

> inter-faith liaison

> support for Christian & other faith groups

> spiritual support & encouragement

> graduation thanksgiving services

> services of blessing (for flats…)

> worship opportunities

> weddings

> funeral, prayer & memorial services

> exploring ethical and moral issues

> liaison with and referral to other support services

 The Chaplain’s Office located in the Student Hub (ground floor of H block, or you can contact the Chaplain on 021 735 286 or by email at 

Student Health


Conveniently located on our Dunedin Campus, the Student Health Centre provides the same services offered by your family doctor. It also promotes health education, and offers health screening tests, nutrition advice, vaccinations and some minor surgery options. There are usually doctors and a nurse in attendance. The cost is $15 or free if you have a current Community Services card. Some services such as vaccinations, minor surgical procedures or medical examinations for employment, incur an additional fee. The schedule for these fees is available at Student Health.

Medical and Travel Insurance is compulsory for all International Learners as required under the Code of Practice. The fee of $15.00 will be charged when seeing the Doctor, but will be reimbursed to the learner when a claim is made to the insurance company.

Urgent medical care is available during normal hours. After-hours care is provided by the Dunedin Urgent Doctors and Accident Centre up until 11pm weekdays and weekends at a subsidised rate for students.

The Student Health Centre is situated on the ground floor of Maanaki, on Harbour Terrace, telephone 479 6082 or 0800 762 786.

There are arrangements in place in Central Otago and Auckland International Campus learners to have access to medical and counselling services.

Central Otago

Cromwell Medical Centre 
+64 3 445 1119

190 Waenga Drive, Cromwell

Junction Health 
+64 3 445 4588

1A Traders Lane, Cromwell


Aspiring Medical Centre 
+64 3 443 1226

Wanaka Lakes Health Centre
23 Cardrona Valley Road, Wanaka


Queenstown Medical Centre
+64 3 441 0500

9 Isle Street, Queenstown


Please contact the Auckland International Campus for advice regarding recommended medical centres in Auckland. 

+649 309 0301

Freephone 0800 111 212 (NZ only)

Counselling Services

Counselling services are available to help you work through any issues you may have while studying at Otago Polytechnic.


There are counsellors on the Dunedin Campus who are available to see learners between 8.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. This is a free service for learners who have paid a student health levy as part of their fees. Learners completing courses/programmes that have been exempt the student health levy (distance programmes/courses, short courses, contracted courses/programmes, TANZ e-campus, CapableNZ) may access Student Health and Counselling services, however, a fee for service payment will be required.

Student Health Centre, Harbour Terrace, M Block, Dunedin campus
New Zealand 0800 762 786

Central Otago

If you are a learner studying in Central Otago and would like to book an appointment to see a counsellor, please contact: 

New Zealand 0800 765 9276 


You will have an academic mentor who will meet you at the beginning of your study and at least every four weeks to discuss your progress and provide guidance. We also have Student Support Officers who can help you with anything about your stay in New Zealand. Please contact:  

New Zealand 0800 111 212 

Online counselling

A Skype or phone appointment can be made with a counselor.

Phone New Zealand 0800 762 786 between 8:30am - 5:00pm weekdays and ask for Student Health.

You will be asked to provide your Skype address and phone number. If a phone call is required, the counselor will ring you at your appointment time. 

Parent / Caregiver Rooms

Otago Polytechnic provides the following rooms as quiet spaces for both staff and learner parents/caregivers to feed their infant(s), however each room has variable and limited resources. Separate changing facilities are also available.


 F121 – Feeding room and First Aid room available Monday - Friday and is located just through from the OPSA Office on the ground floor of the Mason Centre / The Hub.

  • Lazy boy chair
  • First aid kit
  • Hold and cold running sink –not sterile water
  • Lockable door

 F121 does not have designated fridge space for the storage of expressed or prepared milk.

 A change table is located in the all gender toilet next door – please remove all nappies from this area after use.


 G313 – OPSA Parent/Caregiver room (and Kowhai centre room) available for feeding Monday to Wednesday only (multiple use room)

  • Couch
  • Fridge
  • No lock on door (multiple use room.)
  • No sink or running water


G321 female toilet has hot and cold running sink – not sterile water. No change facilities on level 3 at this time

G214 female toilet has freestanding table with change mat available please remove all nappies from this area after use. 


If you are unsure of the locations or need help please see OPSA staff.


Otago Polytechnic Auckland International Campus - Queen Street Auckland

  • Parents Room / Sick Bay room in room 208 where staff and students can have privacy.
  • Prayer Room is in the Blue Room on Level 6.




Child Care Centre - Polykids

The Child Care Centre - Polykids provides a caring and supportive environment for children with an education based programme that promotes learning and empowers children to explore, reflect and make choices.

Although offering available places to the children of Otago Polytechnic learners and staff are a priority, there is no guarantee that a space will be available when desired. Please contact Polykids on 479 6169 for further information.

The Student Hub

This is where you will find information about your enrolment, timetables, academic results and financial information. You can also change your contact details, access Moodle, access your OP Student email, and other learner support resources, the Robertson Library, and eTV. Please make sure you familiarise yourself with the services

Bring Your Own Device - (BYOD)

Otago Polytechnic encourages learners to bring their own devices to campus. We are steadily extending wireless coverage and power charging stations so you can work anywhere.

Otago Polytechnic has a Wireless Network available across key learner areas in both the Dunedin and Cromwell campuses, and in the Robertson Library, which will allow your device to connect to the Internet.

The Otago Polytechnic IT Service Desk is able to provide you with IT support and assistance in accessing the Wireless Network, and other learner related online resources. We suggest that if the option of being able to use your own device on campus appeals to you, then visit the friendly IT Service Desk Staff located on the ground floor of H block, to have your device checked for viruses, malware, and to access IT services such as BYOD printing and the current version of Microsoft Office from Office 365.

Otago Polytechnic is not liable for loss or damage of personal property or devices. Learners are encouraged to have their own insurance and take responsibility for their own equipment.

Wireless Network

To access the Internet, connect to the wireless network name “OPStudent” entering the password of “studentwifi” then open your internet browser to login with your network username and password. Here is a guide on how to do it:

E-mail Account

E-mail is the formal means of communication with learners used by the Otago Polytechnic and The Robertson Library. You must activate the Office 365 account that has been set up for you through the enrolment process. Important communications regarding network notices, library notices, recalls and fines, urgent notices from the Polytechnic management and OPSA are distributed via this e-mail system.

We strongly recommend that you regularly check your Office 365 account so that you do not miss important notices. This could be especially important in times of civil emergency where your Student Mailbox will be a vital part of any emergency communication process.

Your student mailbox is easily accessible from the Student Hub, just click the "email" tile to automatically open your mailbox.

Safety and Wellbeing

All activities involve some risks and some courses or situations are potentially more dangerous than others, e.g. avalanche safety training or mechanical engineering workshops. The Polytechnic has policies and procedures to minimise hazards and risk.

When you sign the enrolment form, you agree to comply with, and be bound by, the policies and statutes of Otago Polytechnic, which include Safety and Wellbeing policies.

> Please make sure that you understand the safety rules in your work areas, eg workshop, laboratory, classroom or off site work area.

> Follow the emergency evacuation or earthquake procedures.

> Wear the required protective clothing (such as gloves, glasses, hearing protectors, headgear and footwear) during practical classes.

> If you behave in an unsafe manner, you may be stopped from participating in class/activities.

> If you find any unsafe areas or practices, you must tell a staff member immediately and log any incidents or near misses via the Vault Safety Management System, or via quick links from the Student Hub "report H&S issue".

> If the matter is not resolved, write a formal letter of concern to the Polytechnic’s Safety and Wellbeing Manager,


Smokefree - auahi kore

Otago Polytechnic has a Smokefree Policy (Smokefree/Auahi Kore) which prohibits smoking (including vaping and e-cigarettes) in all campus areas and includes:

> all buildings, including balconies

> all outdoor areas on site

> vehicles owned or used for work purposes by Otago Polytechnic

> the Childcare Centre - Polykids

Any learner who is found smoking in any part of the Polytechnic premises will be asked to move off the premises. If the same learner is found smoking again on Polytechnic premises an instant fine of $20 may be imposed. Any money collected from these fines will be donated to a charity.

The Polytechnic encourages smokers to be considerate of others in open spaces not controlled by the Polytechnic, such as public footpaths, and encourages smokers to consider the effects on the environment when disposing of cigarette butts and to be aware that:

> there is a risk of fire if cigarettes/butts  are placed in rubbish bins

> storm water drains and gutters lead directly to waterways and cigarette butts harm these.

Support is available for learners who wish to stop smoking from Student Health and Quitline 0800 778 778 offers a free service with afterhours support.


Parking is a challenge for staff, learners and visitors to North Dunedin.

Learners and staff are encouraged to use alternative modes of transport. Learners are not permitted to park on the Otago Polytechnic campus. All Otago Polytechnic car parks are allocated to visitor parking, disability parking, deliveries or service, fleet vehicles and paid staff parking. There is no ‘warning’ process other than the signage at the main entrances to each site - if you are unsure check with Customer Services or your School/College Administrator.

If your car is parked where it should not be, it will be towed and can be recovered from Reilly's Towage & Salvage on 03 477 5787 or at 63-65 Ward Street, Dunedin.

You will be liable for any fees/costs resulting from having your vehicle towed.


Follow all instructions for emergency evacuations whether practice drills or real. Note, Otago Polytechnic has regular evacuation fire drill practice.

Evacuation Procedure

On the continuous sounding of the alarm:

> all occupants must evacuate the building in an orderly manner via the stairwell or nearest designated exit. The lift must not be used

> all doors should be closed when the area is clear

> occupants should assemble in a designated area clear of the building access

> follow the direction of staff members who are trained in the Otago Polytechnic emergency evacuation procedure.

Refer to evacuation plans displayed in hallways and classrooms for assembly points.

Occupants must not return to the building until an all clear is given. The all clear is usually given by intermittent short bursts of fire alarm sounder, or as instructed by the Building Warden or the Fire Service.


The evacuation procedure does not apply to earthquakes.

> stay where you are

> move no more than a few steps to a safe place, drop, cover and hold on

> if inside, get under a heavy piece of furniture or a doorway, or stay low alongside an inside wall. Keep away from windows

> if in a lift, stop at the nearest floor and get out

> if outside, stay outside and keep clear of buildings and powerlines

> once the shaking has stopped check on and support other learners and staff in your area. then if necessary and only when safe proceed to evacuate.


At Otago Polytechnic, we have made a commitment to specialise in education for sustainability. This is because we recognise the need to prepare our graduates to contribute to a sustainable future, where economic, social and environmental dimensions are in balance.

Our approach has three key parts

  1. Educating Sustainable Practitioners - To put in place teaching and learning opportunities so that every learner (regardless of programme or level) will graduate with the skills and knowledge to act as a 'sustainable practitioner'. These teaching and learning opportunities will extend to staff members and the wider community.
  2. Sustainable Campus - To create a sustainable campus we will be working towards ensuring that the principles and practice of sustainable development are embedded across Otago Polytechnic and all its activities.
  3. Centre for Sustainable Practice - To operate the Centre for Sustainable Practice as a business unit of the organisation that will serve as an incubator for sustainable practice education, provide consultancy services, conduct research into sustainable products and services and host seminars and events. 

We are keen that your time with us is safe, enjoyable, positive and rewarding. We welcome your feedback through learner surveys and class representatives on any matters that are affecting your study.