Are you eligible for two years free industry training?

There’s been a lot of talk about the Government’s Fees-free policy which comes into effect from 1st January 2018. So, if you’re thinking of enrolling in industry based training in 2018, you may be wondering if you’re eligible to have your first two years of training fees paid by the Government.

Click here to check your eligibility and the programmes which meet the fees-free criteria.

Click here to request your National Student Number (NSN) from Skills.

But before you do that, check out our FAQs below.

1. What is fees-free?

From 1st January 2018, eligible learners enrolled in eligible programmes will have their training fees paid by the Government for their first two years of their industry-based training.

2. What does fees-free cover?

The fees-free policy covers only training and assessment fees paid for eligible learners enrolled in eligible programmes. This includes fees paid to industry training organisations or directly to training and assessment providers.

The policy does not cover professional registration costs, occupational licensing fee, tools/equipment, and any other charges paid by eligible learners and/or their employer.

3. Who determines eligibility?

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is responsible for the implementation of the Government’s fees-free initiative. TEC is also responsible for determining learner eligibility. Learners need to visit to determine their eligibility.

Note: It is up to the learner to complete the forms/criteria required to determine their eligibility. To be considered for fees-free learners must be enrolled in eligible programmes which start in 2018.

4. What is the learner eligibility criteria?

The Tertiary Education Commission has now released the eligibility rules for 2019 which are slightly different to the criteria released for 2018. Visit the Fees Free website to find out if you are eligible.

5. Which programmes are eligible?

The qualification or programme must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Start in 2018
  • Be funded by the Tertiary Education Commission
  • Be recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
  • Be at Level 3 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, and
  • For industry training only, be at least 120 credits.
6. Are there any age requirements related to fees-free?

No, there are no age requirements or restrictions.

7. What period is covered by fees-free for industry training?

Current policy states that if an eligible learner begins their industry training any time in 2018 they will be eligible for the next 24 months fees-free.

8. Will learners who have studied/qualified overseas be eligible?

If a learner has already received a tertiary or similar qualification from an overseas institution, they may not be eligible for fees-free.

9. If a learner doesn’t complete the programme or course, is he/she still covered by the fees-free policy?

The current rules are for 2018 only. For industry training, fees-free covers the first two years of an eligible learner’s enrolment. Successful completion of the programme is not part of the 2018 criteria.

10. If a learner fails the programme or course, is he/she covered by the fees-free policy?

The current rules are for 2018 only. For industry training, fees-free covers the first two years of an eligible learner’s enrolment. Successful completion of their programme is not part of the 2018 criteria.

11. How do learners get their National Student Number (NSN)?

Contact the NZQA on 0800 697 296 between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

12. If a learner still has questions, who should they contact?

Call the dedicated helpline 0800 687 775 or email

13. What should I do if I started my programme/apprenticeship in 2018 but am unsure about my fees free eligibility?

If you’re eligible for fees free, and the programme you are enrolled in is eligible for fees free, then you don’t have to do anything.

However if your eligibility status is “Maybe”, you will need to complete and submit a Statutory Declaration form, so that you can apply for fees fee. This must be submitted to TEC by 31 December 2018, to access fees free for 2018. Visit to check eligibility status and access the Statutory Declaration form if required.

14. Is there a fees-free industry training guide for Learners and employers?

The Fees Free website provides a lot of useful information and FAQ to help you navigate through the Fees Free process.

Visit the information page on the website and scroll down to the bottom of the page to pick up the Fees-free quick guide: Learners starting study or training in 2019 and the Fees-free industry training quick guide: Learners and employers in 2019.