How To Qualify For Student Allowance In New Zealand

Date Apr 30, 2021
Blog category Mobile Phone
By Tina M.
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Contents:

Did you know that you can get free accommodation, lab gears and other university costs when you apply for student allowance in NZ?

Even though students are now adopting online classes, they can still get funding for school and living expenses with the help of Study Link Student Allowance or Work and Income (WINZ). 

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Student Allowance Eligibility

Whether you're a citizen or planning to study in NZ, you’re eligible for a student allowance when you meet the following requirements:

  • You’re an ordinarily resident in NZ and are either:
    • Living in NZ for at least 3 years, and
    • Have held a resident class visa for 3 years, or
    • A refugee or protected person, or
    • Sponsored into NZ by someone in your family who was a refugee or protected person. 
  • Between 18 to 65 years old studying full-time
  • 16 to 17 tears old or studying part-time 
  • Chosen program is approved by an education provider in NZ 
    • Undergraduate course (level 7 or below on the National Qualifications Framework), or
    • A bachelor degree with honours

You’re also required to submit documents upon application. 

If you’re born in NZ, you need to send your birth certificate or passport plus any of the supporting documents enumerated here.

For those born overseas, these are your requirements:

  • Citizenship certificate
  • NZ passport, passport showing your NZ residence class visa
  • Letter from NZ immigration Service granting your residency
  • Sponsorship evidence by a family member with refugee or protected person status in NZ

Can foreign students apply for a student allowance?

If you wish to study in New Zealand, make sure that you’re enrolled in a course at an approved education provider in NZ

How much student allowance can I get? 

The amount that you get will depend on how much you, your partner, or your parents are earning. If you’re under 24 years old and live with your parents, you should submit a student allowance parents’ form. 

Find it here.

Meanwhile, those who are over 24 with a recognised partner and are both supporting a child, your partner’s income will be considered. 

Student allowance rates 

There are categories with four main living situations being followed in determining your student allowance:

Single, under 24

Rates can be reduced due to your income or your parents’ income.

Living situation  After tax Before tax
Lives in the family home $203.11 $226.94
Lives without parents/in a place they don’t own $240.65 $268.88

Single, 24 or over

Living situation  After tax Before tax
Lives in the family home $233.13 $260.48
Lives without parents/in a place they don’t own $278.19 $314.36

Single with children

After Tax - $402.32

Before Tax - $464.82

Partner no children

Living situation After tax Before tax
Partner not studying or studying part-time/full-time $481.28 $560.53
Partner is studying full-time but failed to meet the criteria $240.65- $278.19 $268.88- $314.36
Partner is studying and gets Student Allowance $240.65 each $268.88 each

If yours and your partner’s income are between $454.36 and $935.46 before tax weekly, you can get $134.35 to $174.17 after-tax, and $150.11 to $194.60 before tax. 

Partner and children 

Living situation After tax Before tax
Partner not studying or studying part-time/full-time $508.08 $593.01
Partner is studying full-time but failed to meet the criteria $267.43- $402.32 $301.31 to $464.82
Partner is studying and gets Student Allowance $254.05 each $285.10 each

Your and your partner's income must be between $454.36 and $946.26 before tax a week.

Your situation when you're living with your partner

After tax

Before tax

Partner not studying or studying less than half of a full-time course

$161.14

$180.04

Partner is studying more than half of a full-time course but can't get Student Allowance

$161.14

$180.04

Partner studying and gets Student Allowance

$147.76 each

$165.09 each

Your situation when you're not living with your partner

After tax

Before tax

Partner not studying or studying less than half of a full-time course

$200.97

$224.55

Partner is studying more than half of a full-time course but can't get Student Allowance

$200.97

$224.55

Partner studying and gets Student Allowance

$187.57 each

$209.58 each

These are mere estimates of your total student allowance based on your living situation. Use the student allowance calculator NZ to get an accurate calculation

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Does my student allowance cover accommodation costs?

When you apply for a student allowance, you’re automatically entitled to accommodation benefits whether you’re living with your parents or residing in another home with your partner and kids. 

Likewise, your weekly payment rates for accommodation will be based on your living situation and where you live. Once your application has been approved, you can get as much as $60 weekly. 

To know more, check out the complete list of accommodation rates based on your current residence.

Solo parents are also entitled to a housing budget. If you’re singlehandedly taking care of your one child and, at the same time, paying for rent, mortgage or insurance, you can get $80 to $235 weekly. While single parents with 2 or more children can get up to $305 a week.

Can I still apply for a student allowance after my course starts?

There are instances where you still haven’t decided on where and what to study. If this is the case, you can still apply up until your course finishes, provided that you submit all the necessary documents within that period. 

When you’re ready, you can begin with your Student Allowance application form here. 

Do I need to pay back my student allowance after graduation?

Your student allowance is free and you’re in no obligation to pay it back. But there are times that payments can be delayed due to numerous applications. What you can do is to inform the Ministry of Social Development of their owed payments or wait for them to put some of the amounts to any debts you have with StudyLink or Work and Income (WINZ).

What's the difference between Student Allowance and Student Loan Living Costs?

The main difference is that a student allowance doesn’t need to be repaid. A Student Loan Living Costs is designed to give additional assistance (other than student allowance), and the amount may be used for other living expenses while studying full time. This means that you have to pay back whatever amount you borrowed, plus interest if you’re living outside of New Zealand. 

When do I pay my student loan back? 

Once you start earning, your employer will make a student loan deduction from your paycheck each pay period, and this will be directly deposited to Inland Revenue for you. Unlike the typical lending programs, repaying your student loan doesn’t incur interest as long as you're living in NZ. 

Can I use Kiwisaver to pay for my student loan?

Your Kiwisaver funds can be used to pay personal loans, mortgage, and medical expenses and doesn't include paying for your student loans. 

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About the author
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Tina M.

Tina M. is a content writer and an aspiring law practitioner. She mainly writes about real estate, finance, and investing. Ever the creative, she loves painting, home renovating, and getting meme ideas from reality TV.

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