Fees-free for new students
What the Government's new Education Policy means for you
The government has announced details of its fees-free policy for students who are new to tertiary education. The policy covers one year's full-time study (or 120 points, which can take more than a year if you study part-time) and has no age limit.
Want to hear more from us as we get ready for fees-free? Register at the bottom of this page.
Check your eligibility: If you know your National Student Number (NSN), see if you qualify for fees-free at feesfree.govt.nz.
Wondering how far a year's free university study could take you?
If you’ve been thinking about getting a qualification but holding back because of the cost, make 2018 your year.
You could start a bachelors degree, or if you don’t have an undergraduate degree but do have significant professional experience, you could be eligible for direct admission to a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Another option is to start and finish a standalone qualification in 2018 by enroling in one of our undergraduate certificate courses.
The Certificate is an introductory, one-year qualification, with a number of subjects to choose from. Your fees-free year can end with a certificate on your wall and new opportunities within your grasp.
Find out if you're eligible
Eligibility, including residency requirements
Use your National Student Number (NSN) to check your eligiblity at feesfree.govt.nz.
All University of Waikato courses are eligible for fees-free
There are a lot of criteria that determine whether various courses or programmes qualify for fees-free. If you study at the University of Waikato, it's really simple: All of our papers, courses and qualifications are covered, starting from Semester S (summer school), January 2018.
Citizenship or residency requirements
You meet the residency requirements if you are any one of:
- a New Zealand citizen
- a New Zealand or Australian resident and you've lived here for at least three years, while holding a residence class visa
- a refugee or protected person
- a sponsored family member of a refugee or protected person.
Previous education (including school)
The fees-free policy is designed for people who are new to tertiary study.
If you've done any tertiary study while you were still at school (for example, through our Unistart Programme), don't worry. That won't affect your eligibility.
You are not eligible for fees-free if:
- If you're still in school. Year 12 and 13 students can begin studying with us through the Unistart Programme and still be eligible for fees-free later.
- Since leaving school you have already undertaken more than 60 credits/points (0.5 EFTS) of tertiary education at level 3 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, or NZQF.
- You have undertaken an equivalent amount of tertiary education overseas, and you weren't enrolled at school at the time.
No age limit
No-one is too young or too old.
Full details from the government
Full fees-free details (including info about non-University study) are available at feesfree.govt.nz.
What's covered (and what's not)
Fees, costs, loans and allowances
The fees-free policy has the same coverage as the 'fees' component of student loans. It covers:
- Tuition fees (which are charged per paper) and associated mandatory fees, and
- Compulsory student services fees (for example our Student Services levy).
There are still some costs you'll have to take care of
University study includes costs that aren't counted as tuition fees, including textbooks, accommodation and other living costs. You'll need to cover these through other means (which could include a student loan and/or allowance).
Student loans and allowances
If you're eligible for fees-free, you don't need to ask StudyLink to pay your fees. The Tertiary Education Commission will pay your fees directly.
You can still borrow course-related costs and living costs through a student loan. Your student allowance eligibility won't change either. StudyLink's advice is to make your 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'.
If you've applied for a loan but don't need it anymore, contact StudyLink about cancelling your application -
Enrolled (or enrolling) for 2018? Here's what you need to know
Enrolments, applications, and scholarships
If you want to enjoy fees-free study next year, the best thing to do is to organise your application, student loan and/or allowance as early as possible. You don't need to ask StudyLink to cover your tuition fees.
If you're also applying for a student loan (for course-related or living costs) and/or allowance, you should continue your application to StudyLink as well. If you're eligible for fees-free, make sure that the 'Pay fees' option in your loan application is set to 'No'.
University of Waikato Scholarships
The University is committed to ensuring that our scholarships advantage our students.
For the majority of our fees scholarships, we will offer students the opportunity either to use these funds towards the cost of accommodation in one of the University's halls of residence in 2018, or to defer the funding to pay for fees in 2019 (which are not covered by fees-free). Living in University accommodation provides a unique student experience and supportive academic environment. However, as there is a limited amount of University accommodation available, and not all first-year students want to live in halls of residence, some students will need or prefer to use the scholarship to pay for their second-year fees.
A very small number of our scholarships, such as the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship, will need to be managed differently and students will be able to use them as a living stipend.
If you have accepted a scholarship
All students who were offered school-leaver scholarships for 2018 will be contacted soon to confirm details of their offer. If you are a scholarship recipient and have not heard from us yet, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have been offered a fees scholarship and you’re not eligible for free fees, your scholarship won’t change.
Already started (or maybe even finished) studying?
This probably isn't the news you want
Fees-free is designed for students who are new to tertiary study.
If you’ve already undertaken more than half a year's university or tertiary study in New Zealand or overseas, you're not eligible. (Any study you did while still enrolled at school is not counted.)
You can still explore scholarship opportunities.
Please send me updates about fees-free when they become available.