Otago Polytechnic

Have you been thinking about undertaking tertiary study but the cost has always held you back? If so, then 2018 is the year for you!

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^.

For more details (including information about non-Polytechnic study), visit www.feesfree.govt.nz

*Conditions apply.

  Who can study for free at Otago Polytechnic in 2018?

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 2018 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.  

**Unfortunately, programmes that started in 2017 and cross over into 2018 aren’t eligible.

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 2018 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.

StudyLink prefer learners to make their application before 16 December, 2017

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 2018 page 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’ve already been invoiced for 2018?

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. 

Our team here are working through all of the finer details of the policy and will be in touch with you as soon as possible about the next step.

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 2018 scholarships?

We’re still working through what this means for our 2018 scholarship offerings and will provide more updated information as soon as it becomes available.

Explore our scholarship opportunities here.  

  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