Contents

Services to students

Student Loan

Purpose of a Student Loan

The Student Loan Scheme16 was introduced in 1992 to provide financial support for students who would otherwise not be able to afford to take up tertiary study.

A student loan includes the following components:

What levels of assistance are provided by a Student Loan?Top

Table SL.1 sets out the limits that apply to each of the components of a Student Loan.

table SL.1: Maximum amounts available for a Student Loan, by component (applicable from 1 April 2011)

Component Maximum amount available
Tuition fees Total cost
Course-related costs (annual) $1,000.00
Living costs (weekly) $172.51

The living cost component of a Student Loan is reduced by the amount of any Student Allowance the student receives.

Eligibility and entitlementTop

For current Student Loan eligibility criteria, please go to www.studylink.govt.nz.

A Student Loan is available to people who are:

– full-time or approved limited full-time
– part-time for 32 weeks or longer, or
– part-time for less than 32 weeks, with a course load of 0.25 equivalent full-time study (EFTS)17 or more.
Students studying between 0.25 and 0.3 EFTS can access a Student Loan for fees only18.

People who are not eligible to receive a Student Loan include those who are:

People involved in the No Asset Procedure or subject to a Summary Instalment Order are eligible to receive a Student Loan.

A student will generally have a lifetime limit or a maximum of 7 equivalent full-time students (EFTS) of entitlement to a Student Loan. A student who has used 7 EFTS may be entitled to access the Student Loan in the following situations:

A student can only access each of the additional entitlements (above) once, to a total maximum of 10 EFTS (plus any additional study that took them over the 7 EFTS limit).

The EFTS count includes all courses for which the student accessed any part of a Student Loan, for study commencing on or after 1 January 2010, unless the student formally withdrew from a course and received a full refund of their tuition fees.

In Budget 2011, a number of significant policy changes to Student Loans were announced. The current eligibility criteria can be viewed at www.studylink.govt.nz.

Residency requirements

To be eligible to access a Student Loan, a student must be:

– have lived in New Zealand for at least two years
– have been entitled under the Immigration Act 2009 to reside indefinitely in New Zealand for at least two years

Student Loans are not income tested.

General eligibility and entitlement

Some of the above groups are only eligible to access a Student Loan to pay course fees. Others may also access a Student Loan for course-related costs or living costs.

To access a Student Loan for living costs, students must meet the above eligibility criteria and be enrolled in full-time courses, or have StudyLink’s approval to study with limited full-time status.

Students enrolled in courses that are part-time and 32 weeks or longer can only receive a Student Loan for fees and course-related costs19.

Students enrolled in courses that are part-time and less than 32 weeks long can only receive a Student Loan for fees.

Prisoners are eligible to access a Student Loan for compulsory fees and course-related costs, subject to the agreement of the prison authority. Prisoners are not able to receive living costs. People on home detention can access living costs.

Recipients of a main benefit may not be able to continue to receive that benefit when studying full-time. Those eligible to do so may be able to access a Student Loan for compulsory fees and course-related costs, depending on the amount of any Training Incentive Allowance paid towards these costs.

Number and characteristics of Student Loan recipientsTop

Note – the Student Loan statistics below reflect drawings in a calendar year only

This information does not reflect:

table SL.2: Numbers of students receiving a Student Loan, by amount

Annual amount drawn Number of students1
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Under $5,000 66,813 64,944 69,613 65,764 59,652
$5,000 – < $10,000 64,962 69,218 80,736 93,857 94,837
$10,000 – < $15,000 37,567 39,633 42,715 45,346 43,747
$15,000 – < $20,000 3,149 3,288 4,102 5,553 6,689
$20,000 – < $30,000 736 798 997 1,218 1,543
$30,000 – < $40,000 220 195 228 267 298
$40,000 – < $50,000 133 161 125 143 132
$50,000 or over 211 296 222 337 432
Total 173,791 178,533 198,738 212,485 207,330

Note

  1. The number of students recorded as receiving a Student Loan during years ended 31 December.

table SL.3: Types of Student Allowance received by students with a Student Loan

Type of Student Allowance received when drawing made Students making drawings against a Student Loan1
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Single – parentally income tested2 away from home 18,436 20,154 23,912 28,731 29,408
Single – parentally income tested2 at home 10,052 11,281 14,803 17,566 19,148
Single – not parentally income tested away from home 11,899 11,869 17,062 20,466 21,145
Single – not parentally income tested at home 1,577 1,649 2,878 2,822 3,111
Single – student in independent circumstances 1,745 1,656 1,886 1,801 1,831
Single – student with dependent child(ren) 1,227 1,235 1,542 1,896 2,063
Couple – both students3 1,303 986 1,107 1,276 1,138
Couple – student with dependent spouse or partner3 3,813 3,649 4,733 5,507 5,243
Couple – student with earning spouse or partner3 1,072 1,049 1,446 1,860 1,902
Not receiving any Student Allowance 122,667 125,005 129,369 130,560 122,341
Total 173,791 178,533 198,738 212,485 207,330

Notes

  1. The number of students recorded as accessing a Student Loan during years ended 31 December.
  2. Students aged 16–24 to 31 December 2008, and students aged 16–23 from 1 January 2009.
  3. Includes couples both with and without children.

Around one in two of the students accessing a Student Loan were attending universities

From 2007 to 2011, between 51% and 53% of students accessing a Student Loan were attending universities (see table SL.4). The proportion of students accessing Student Loans who were attending institutes of technology and polytechnics increased slightly over this period (from 23% to 28%) (see table SL.4).

table SL.4: Types of institutions attended by students with a Student Loan

Type of institution Students with a Student Loan1
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
University2 91,432 94,585 103,674 109,001 105,076
Institute of technology or polytechnic 40,415 42,009 50,686 57,686 58,845
Private training establishment 35,270 35,151 35,677 35,802 34,057
Wānanga 3,477 3,422 4,490 5,626 5,569
More than one institution3 3,197 3,366 4,211 4,370 3,783
Total 173,791 178,533 198,738 212,485 207,330

Notes

  1. The number of students accessing a Student Loan during years ended 31 December.
  2. ‘University’ included colleges of education until 2007. Between 1991 and 2007, colleges of education were incorporated into universities.
  3. Students can enrol to study at more than one institution at the same time. Students shown here were enrolled in more than one institution at the time of making drawings against a Student Loan.

Number of borrowers accessing each componentTop

Note – the number of students using each component does not add to the total number of students making drawings

Most borrowers used more than one Student Loan component (eg course fees and living costs) during the same academic year. Adding the number of students using each component would count many students more than once.

The number of students using each component decreased slightly in 2011

This decrease (see table SL.5) followed the growth between 2007 and 2010 (and particularly between 2008 and 2010) in the use of each component. This pattern may have reflected in part:

table SL.5: Numbers of students accessing each Student Loan component

Component Number of students1
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Course fees 160,855 166,112 185,745 198,575 193,851
Course-related costs 103,651 105,046 124,944 144,382 142,258
Living expenses 87,175 88,850 97,229 101,529 100,971

Note

  1. The number of students accessing a Student Loan component during years ended 31 December.

16For more details about the Student Loan Scheme, see the Student Loan Scheme Annual Report, published by the Ministry of Education, available at www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2555.
17The EFTS value is a measure of the amount of study or the workload involved in undertaking a particular course. A year of full-time study is usually between 0.8 EFTS and 1.2 EFTS. The EFTS value is determined by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). 
18Between 1 January 2005 and 1 January 2007, students studying between 0.25 and 0.3 EFTS could only access a Student Loan (for fees only) if their courses had a vocational or employment component.
19From 1 January 2012, part-time students studying for more than 32 weeks are not entitled to course-related costs.