Student Loan

What Student Loan is for, if you can get it, how much you could borrow and when, and how to apply.

What Student Loan is for

Student Loan can help you finance your study. It’s made up of three parts:

  • course fees – for the compulsory fees charged by your education provider
  • course-related costs – to buy materials or services for your course
  • living costs – to help with your weekly expenses.

You choose which parts you need. You have to pay back your student loan, so borrow only what you need.

Who can get Student Loan

To get a student loan you usually have to be:

  • enrolled on a tertiary course
  • studying full-time or limited full-time, or meet StudyLink’s requirements for part-time study
  • a New Zealand citizen, or meet residency requirements
  • under 55 when your course starts, for course-related costs and living costs borrowing – there’s no upper age limit for course fees borrowing.

You’ll also need to:

  • sign a contract with the government
  • nominate a contact person in New Zealand.

If you get a student loan, you’ll need to pass at least half the work of your previous study to get it again. Go to Who can get it for more information on getting a student loan and situations where you cant get a loan.

How much Student Loan you can borrow

You choose how much of each part of your student loan you borrow. If you don’t need the full amount, borrow less.

Course fees

  • You can usually borrow some or all of your course fees.
  • You can borrow only for course fees you haven’t already paid yourself or had paid for you.
  • If you get a training incentive allowance, we reduce how much you can borrow for your course fees by the amount of allowance you can get for these.
  • If you are a pilot training student, you can borrow for course fees up to $35,000 for each EFTS of your course.
  • Your education provider will tell you if your student loan can’t cover all your course fees. If it can’t, you’ll have to pay the remaining fees yourself.

Course-related costs

  • You can usually borrow up to $1,000 a year for course-related costs.
  • You can borrow for course-related costs if you need help to buy materials or services for your course. You may need to provide evidence of these costs.
  • You can borrow how much you need at any time until your course finishes.
  • If you get a training incentive allowance for course-related costs, we reduce how much you can borrow for these costs by the amount of your allowance for these. We don’t include allowance for childcare, transport and disability-related costs in this reduction.
  • If you pay back your course-related costs within a year, you are not able to borrow the money again in that same year.

Living costs

  • You can usually borrow up to $176.86 a week for living costs.
  • If you can get a student allowance, you usually can’t get a student loan for living costs. If you can still borrow for living costs, how much you can borrow is reduced by the amount of your student allowance after tax.
  • If your student loan for living costs is approved before your student allowance, you’ll receive your living costs payments until you start getting your student allowance.
  • When your student allowance is approved, if there is a back payment due we will use it to repay the difference in your student loan living costs for the same period.
  • Unlike your student allowance, your student loan for living costs is not affected by any other income you earn.
  • However, if you do start to earn other income it’s a good idea to reduce your living costs borrowing, because what you borrow you have to pay back.

Lifetime limit
You can get a student loan for study with a value of up to seven ‘equivalent full-time students’ or EFTS, which is about seven or eight years of full-time study. This is your lifetime limit for a student loan. When you borrow for course fees, course-related costs or living costs, the EFTS value of that loan counts towards your lifetime limit.

You may be able to get an extension to your lifetime limit, up to 10 EFTS in some circumstances.

  • You finish a paper or course that takes you over the seven EFTS limit.
  • You complete post-graduate study – up to one additional EFTS.
  • You study for a doctorate – up to three additional EFTS.

If you withdraw from all or part of your course and get a full refund of your tuition fees, or a partial refund when you’ve withdrawn within 30 days of the course starting, that course won’t count towards your lifetime limit.

You can borrow for study with a value of up to two EFTS each year. Two EFTS is about two years of full-time study.

When you get your student loan

Course fees
We pay your student loan for course fees directly to your education provider.

We pay your course fees on the later of two dates.

  • Two weeks before your course starts.
  • Seven days from the date of the letter we send you when we’ve approved your student loan.

This letter shows you the payment date and amount.

Course-related costs
We pay your student loan for course-related costs directly to your bank account. The earliest we can do this is 14 days before your course starts.

Living costs
We pay your student loan for living costs from the latest of three dates.

  • The date your student loan is approved from.
  • The date you start your course.
  • The date you nominate.

We pay your student loan for living costs directly to your bank account. The earliest we can do this is in the second week of your course. This is because we make payments a week in arrears. It doesn’t matter which day of the week you start study, you will get paid from Monday through to Sunday.

You can’t get a benefit from Work and Income for the period you get living costs.

What you need to apply for Student Loan

If you’re applying for the first time, you’ll need:

  • your birth certificate or passport – to show your date of birth
  • your passport or citizenship papers – to show your residency status
  • a printed note from your bank with your account name and number – if you’re applying for course-related costs or living costs – to show your bank account details
  • your marriage certificate or deed poll papers – if you’ve changed your name.

Go to the Documents supporting your application page to find out about verifying copies of original documents.

Other forms to complete your application
When you apply online, you’ll answer questions about whether you:

Depending on your answers, the online application will give you the other forms you need to complete for your application. If you can’t apply online, download the other forms you need and contact us. You’ll need to complete these other forms and an application form for a student allowance and a student loan.

How to apply for Student Loan

You need to apply for a student loan each time you enrol for a new study period – usually each year. Apply as soon as you can, even if you’re still deciding what or where you’re going to study, so you get paid on time. The quickest and easiest way to apply is online. Each time you apply, you can apply to borrow for course fees and living costs.

Course-related costs
When we’ve accepted your student loan contract, you can claim for course-related costs separately, through your MyStudyLink secure account.

Living costs
You can also apply for living costs, or change how much you borrow for them, through MyStudyLink.

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