If it’s anything to do with financial support while studying, StudyLink can help. Here are some of their services:
A student allowance is a weekly payment to help with your living expenses while you study full-time. You don’t have to pay this back.
You may be able to get a student allowance if you are:
- at least 18 years old (some 16–17-year-olds can also get it)
- under 65 on the start date of your course
- studying full-time
- studying an approved course
- a New Zealand citizen or meet the residence requirements.
You can use the ‘What you can get’ tool on the StudyLink website to check your eligibility.
Depending on your circumstances, such as your age, your living situation, your income, your parents’ income or whether you are considered to be independent from your parents, you can receive a student allowance of up to $230 (after tax) per week.
If you qualify for a student allowance, you may also be able to get an accommodation benefit of up to $60 per week, depending on where you live.
Go to the StudyLink student allowance online rate calculator to find out how much you might be able to get.
There are circumstances where your student allowance could be reduced or not paid at all. These include if you move overseas, leave your course, or exceed 200 weeks of student allowance for tertiary study. Check with StudyLink if your circumstances change. You can do this online using MyStudyLink. You don’t want to unintentionally rack up a debt!
A student loan is the money that pays for your course. It’s made up of three parts – course fees, course-related costs, and living costs. You must pay back a student loan.
You may be able to get a student loan if you:
- are studying an approved course which is:
- full-time; or
- part-time and 32 weeks or longer; or
- part-time and less than 32 weeks with an EFTS value of 0.25 or more.
- are a New Zealand citizen or meet the residence requirements
- sign a contract with the Government
- nominate a New Zealand-based contact person (someone who resides in New Zealand).
Use the ‘What you can get’ tool on the StudyLink website to check your eligibility.
You can borrow up to two EFTS (equivalent full-time student) worth of study each year (see box for what this means), and you can generally only get a student loan for seven EFTS of study in your lifetime, so it pays to choose your course wisely.
Can you afford to study?
Visit StudyLink’s ‘Can you afford to study’ page at www.studylink.govt.nz/starting-study/thinking-about-study/index.html to work out how much your study will cost, see how you can pay for it, and then decide if you can afford it. It’s the perfect way to look at your financial options as a freshly minted adult and plan your living budget. How much will you set aside for transport, groceries, and those unexpected expenses every week? The results – how much money you may need to support yourself – could surprise you.
When is the best time to apply?
Many students wait for their NCEA results in January before they apply for their student loan or student allowance (or both). Don’t! StudyLink will set a date in December that you will need to have your applications in by if you want everything sorted ready for the start of your study.
You can always change your mind or withdraw your application if you don’t get into the course you want. Just be sure to get your application in as StudyLink needs time to process your application (along with the other 180,000 or so people applying for a loan or allowance at the same time).
The application process
You can apply for all your student financial support on StudyLink’s website www.StudyLink.govt.nz.
Getting your application in before the December deadline will eliminate the need to rush.
Seven steps to your student finances
1. Apply at www.StudyLink.govt.nz for your financial assistance
Remember to get your application in before the December deadline!
2. StudyLink begins processing your application
They will check the information you give them and get things underway. You don’t need to do anything at this point unless you hear from them.
3. StudyLink will contact you
You’ll receive a letter telling you what they need next. Make sure you read, sign, and return it (if required) and send in any documents StudyLink asks for.
4. Use MyStudyLink to track your application
You can check to see if your documents have been received, check your student allowance and student loan status, view and update your personal details, get your mail, and apply for your course-related costs (once you’ve returned your contact).
5. StudyLink checks your details with your education provider
You need to make sure you’re fully enrolled before this can happen.
6. StudyLink will finish processing your application
StudyLink will send you a letter letting you know what you qualify for and when your payments will start.
7. Your payments can start
The earliest your payments can start is in the second week of your course. This is because StudyLink makes payments in arrears.