Government Fees-Free Policy

Government Fees FreeIf it is your first time studying, you could be eligible for the Government's Fees-Free initiative.

Check out our FAQs below or refer to the Fees-Free website for more information. 

*Please note Fees-Free and SIT's Zero Fees are different.

FAQs - Government Fees Free

If you think you may be eligible and want to double check, head to and enter your national student number (NSN).

If you do not have an NSN number or you don’t know, you can contact NZQA on 0800 697 269.

You can get one year of tertiary study or two years' training up to the value of $12,000 fees-free:

  • The equivalent of one year's full-time study fees-free at an institute of technology, polytechnic, private training establishment, university or Wānanga.
  • Up to 24 months of an apprenticeship or training fees-free with an employer or industry training organisation.

No, to be eligible you need to be either:

  • A New Zealand citizen
  • An Australian or New Zealand resident who has lived in New Zealand for at least three years while holding a residence class visa or
  • A refugee or protected person, or a sponsored family member of a refugee or protected person

Yes, if you have been living in New Zealand for at least three years, while holding your residence visa.

Your programme of study must be:

  • At NZQF Level 3 or above, and
  • Approved by TEC for funding, and
  • Recognised by NZQA or Universities NZ

The fees-free includes:

  • Tuition fees
  • Compulsory course costs
  • Examination fees
  • Material charges
  • Cost of field trips
  • Costs associated with the compulsory purchase of equipment or books through a TEO
  • Other charges associated with a course
  • Compulsory Student Services fees
  • Cost of returning exam scripts or exam recounts
  • International handling charges for domestic students living overseas and studying through SIT2LRN
  • Bond Payments
  • Accommodation charges other than those incurred on a field trip
    Note: Students eligible for the Government's fees-free policy will also be eligible for the Mayor Tim Shadbolt Accommodation Bursaries for Invercargill. Please check our website for further information.
  • Compulsory books or equipment that each student can purchase from another source

No, there may still be costs associated with the course. These are items such as print credits, books or equipment that are purchased from sources outside of SIT, optional field trip expenses, costs involved in retaking exams and/or re-enrolment of failed papers, costs associated with applications relating to Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) etc.  For more specific information on the cost of your course please contact us.

The Government Fees Free policy allocates free fees up to a total amount of $12,000 or less. If your fees are more than this, you will need to pay the difference.

If you have already applied for a course at Southern Institute of Technology, that is great! We will be in contact with you with regards to your invoice as the amount you need to pay has changed.

Please ensure you have checked your NSN number on the government's fees-free website.

Yes, you can still apply for the Zero Fees Scheme if you are not eligible for the Government's fees-free policy.

To be eligible for the Zero Fees Scheme you need to be either a New Zealand citizen or New Zealand permanent resident, resident, or an Australian citizen residing in New Zealand.

Yes, you can still apply under the Youth Guarantee Scheme. Please contact us if you have any questions in regards to the Youth Guarantee Scheme.


What's the Difference Between Govt. Fees Free and SIT Zero Fees?

'Fees Free' is a Government initiative available to any NZ student who is in their first year of tertiary study. It's only available for your first year. Zero Fees is an SIT initiative, only available from SIT. Zero Fees applies to almost all programmes (on campus and SIT2LRN Distance Learning). SIT is the only tertiary provider in New Zealand to offer a no tuition cost education to all NZ students for study at all levels.

Yes - although you are only eligible for one at a time. Usually students will study using Govt. Fees Free in their first year, followed by Zero Fees in following years. Additionally if you're studying at SIT in Invercargill, and in your Fees Free year, you're also able to apply for an $100 per week Accommodation Bursary!

If you think you may be eligible and want to double check, head to and enter your national student number (NSN). If you do not have an NSN number or you don’t know, you can contact NZQA on 0800 697 269.

Any NZ citizens or New Zealand residents/permanent residents living in New Zealand during their study, or Australian citizens residing in New Zealand during their study are eligible.