Ways to pay for study

Don't let the cost of education put you off studying – there are lots of ways to study for free or get funding to reduce your tuition fees.

This page gives an overview of the ways you can fund your study with us. There’s a range of government schemes to encourage people of any age to upskill and retrain for high-demand industries and to cover costs for your first year of tertiary study in any subject. There are schemes to encourage young people to continue their education once they leave school, and there is also a wide range of public and private scholarships that could help pay your study costs or your accommodation costs.

The government is investing in NZ’s education to remove barriers to tertiary education and to fill skill-shortage areas. Let them invest in you so you can gain a qualification that gives you recognised skills and greater job opportunities.

Free study

Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF)

TTAF means that all apprenticeships are fully funded until the end of 2022, as well as certificates and diplomas from levels 3 to 7 in targeted high-demand industries.

The list of funded programmes is still being finalised, but the Tertiary Education Commission has a list of the areas that will be targeted. If the programme you apply for is included in the TTAF, we’ll organise your fees with the Tertiary Education Commission.

See more about TTAF scheme and targeted industries on the TEC website >

Youth Guarantee

The Youth Guarantee scheme provides free tertiary study for nominated programmes at level 2 and 3, if you're aged 16 to 19 (in some cases 15) and if you haven't already studied at Level 2 or Level 3.

Spaces are limited, so apply early. We’ll offer you the funding if there are spaces available in the programme and you’re the right age.

See more about Youth Guarantee eligible programmes >


First year free study

Fees Free

Fees Free means your first year of tertiary study could be free (up to $12k/120 credits) if you’ve never been enrolled in tertiary study over 60 credits at Level 3 or higher in New Zealand (or equivalent overseas).

All the details and criteria are on the Fees Free website. There's an eligibility-checker tool where you can enter your National Student Number (NSN) to see if you’re entitled to funding.

If you are eligible, we’ll organise your fees with the Tertiary Education Commission when you apply to study with us.

Click here to go to the Fees Free website to check your eligibility >


Otago Secondary Tertiary College doesn’t affect your Fees Free eligibility later on

Year 12 and Year 13 students can study with us through initiatives such as Otago Secondary-Tertiary College and still be eligible for Fees Free later.

Costs not covered by Fees Free

The Fees Free scheme does not include costs outside of your tuition fees.

For example, you will need to pay for your:

  • accommodation
  • living costs (for example, food and electricity)
  • textbooks or equipment, etc.


Money towards study costs


There are a lot of scholarships available. They all have different eligibility criteria related to what you want to study and your background and situation.

TIP: Start searching for scholarships early so you don’t miss the deadlines

It’s a good idea to start looking for scholarships well before you intend to begin studying because they all have different application deadlines and can be very popular.

What happens to your scholarship if you qualify for TTAF, Youth Guarantee or Fees Free

If you don’t need your scholarship for your first-year study fees, you can:

OPTION 1: Use up to $4,000 towards accommodation at the Central Otago student accommodation (if you’re studying at Central Campus) or at Te Pā Tauira - Otago Polytechnic Student Village (if you’re studying in Dunedin).

Note: You need to let StudyLink know if you’re using your scholarship towards accommodation costs. StudyLink views this as income and it may impact your student allowance.

OPTION 2: Defer your scholarship so that it's applied to your second-year study fees.

Note: If you have a three-year full fees scholarship or you're studying a one-year programme, you can’t defer your scholarship - but you can use your scholarship for course-related costs reimbursements up to $2,000 (incl. GST).

See more about the scholarships available >


StudyLink student loan or student allowance 

You can still apply to StudyLink for a student loan, a student allowance or course-related costs

Student Loan

If none of the funding options on this page are relevant to you, you should consider applying to StudyLink for a Student Loan to pay your study fees, course-related costs or living costs.

Note: You need to repay any money you borrow for fees, living costs and course-related costs.

Student Allowance

You may be eligible for a Student Allowance. You don’t need to repay a Student Allowance as it is not considered part of your loan. Check the criteria for an allowance before you apply for Student Loan living costs. This is important to ensure that you don’t borrow more than you need to.

Go to the StudyLink website to check your eligibility and to apply for a student loan and/or student allowance >