Government Fees-Free Policy

Am I eligible for the Government's fees-free policy?

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.

I am an international student can I apply for fees-free?

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

I have a New Zealand Residency Visa, can I apply?

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

Is the programme I am applying for eligible?

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

What is covered?

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

What is not covered?

  • 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

Will everything be free?

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 our Marketing Team

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.

What if I have already applied for a course?

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.

If I am not eligible for the fees-free policy can I still apply for the Zero Fees Scheme?

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.

Can I still get the Youth Guarantee Scheme?

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