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Fees Free FAQs


What is Fees-Free?

Fees-Free is a Government initiative targeted at first-time learners.

If you are working in one of our service sectors (Hospitality, Retail, Aviation, Travel and Tourism) and are enrolling on to a New Zealand Apprenticeship (currently covered by TTAF) or industry-based programme with ServiceIQ and you meet both the learner (trainee/apprentice) and industry-based programme eligibility criteria, your training and assessment will be covered by Fees Free for the first 24 months.

To check if you are eligible, use the NSN checker tool at www.feesfree.govt.nz. You will need to enter your National Student Number (NSN). You will return one of the following results:

  • Yes = You are eligible for fees free
  • No = You are not eligible for fees free
  • Maybe = Fees free doesn’t hold enough information to know if you are eligible for fees free

If the NSN checker tool returns the result ‘Maybe’, refer to learner (trainee/apprentice) and industry-based programme eligibility criteria below. If you believe you meet the learner (trainee/apprentice) and industry-based programme eligibility criteria, complete the form at the bottom of this page. We will try and help find out how many credits you have on your NZQA Record of Learning.


What is the learner and industry-based programme eligibility criteria for Fees Free?

There are eligibility requirements for both the learner (trainee/apprentice) and the industry-based training programme they enrol on to. The learner (trainee/apprentice) and industry-based programme eligibility criteria can be different each year. Please ensure to check the www.feesfree.govt.nz for the latest information.


Learner criteria

The learner (trainee/apprentice) must:

  • be legally entitled to live and work in New Zealand; and
  • have been enrolled in a school in or after 2019 (other than as an 'Adult Learner'), or
  • not have undertaken more than half a year of equivalent full-time tertiary education worth 0.5 EFTS or 60 credits at Level 3 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority Framework (NZQF), including tertiary education at an equivalent level undertaken in any other country. See How do EFTS work?


Programme criteria

The programme must:

  • be a New Zealand Apprenticeship or other industry-based training programme that consists of at least 120 credits at NZQF Level 3 or above and,
  • be approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), and
  • be funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), and
  • not be part of a school learning programme or secondary-tertiary programme.


The following do not count as prior training or study:

  1. Credits achieved as part of any industry-based training programme that consists of fewer than 120 credits that are reported after 1 January 2018.
  2. Tertiary education undertaken while enrolled in school prior to 1 January 2019 (except for tertiary education undertaken as an adult learner).
  3. Tertiary courses undertaken as part of your school learning programme or secondary-tertiary programme on or after 1 January 2019.
  4. Tertiary education undertaken as part of the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF).
  5. Tertiary education undertaken through the Youth Guarantee programme after 1 July 2020.
  6. Tertiary education undertaken through the Maori and Pasifika Trades Training programme after 1 July 2020.
  7. Tertiary education undertaken through the Refugee English Fund.

What ServiceIQ Programmes are eligible for Fees Free?

The programmes below are Fees Free eligible. The learner must also be eligible for fees free.

You must be working in one of our service sectors (Hospitality, Retail, Aviation, Travel and Tourism) to do any of the below programmes.

NZ Apprenticeship

NZ Certificate

NZ Diploma


I am working and plan on doing other tertiary study. Will my industry-based training with ServiceIQ affect my fees free access if I am eligible?

If you currently working in one of our service sectors (Hospitality, Retail, Aviation, Travel and Tourism), and you are eligible for fees free and have concerns that your industry-based training programme might affect your eligibility, let your employer and or ServiceIQ Advisor know. We will check if your industry-based training programme might potentially affect your eligibility.

If your fees free result status is ‘Maybe’ or ‘No’, then you will need to contact the tertiary institution that you are planning to study at for further assistance.


When I was at school I was also working part-time or during the holidays. Am I eligible for fees free?

If you were at school in 2017 or after (or will be at school in 2022), then you are eligible for Fees Free study no matter how many credits you have earned outside school.

To check if you are eligible, use the NSN checker tool at www.feesfree.govt.nz. You will need to enter your National Student Number (NSN).


I would like to do a NZ Apprenticeship. Will I be eligible for fees free?

We charge a Monthly Service Fee for our NZ Apprenticeship in Retail, Cookery, Catering, Food & Beverage and Aeronautical Engineering.

From 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2022, all of our apprenticeship programmes are covered by the government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF).

From 1 January 2023, you may be required to check your Fees Free eligibility using the NSN checker tool at www.feesfree.govt.nz. You will need to enter your National Student Number (NSN).

For Aeronautical Engineering pre-employment study at a polytechnic, and for air traffic services training through Airways New Zealand, you’ll need to enquire directly with those organisations.


Other common FAQ’s

How do EFTS work?

How much study or training can I get Fees Free?

Can I access Fees Free at both a provider and industry training organisation at the same time?

How does the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) interact with Fees Free? Can learners get both?

I’ve previously undertaken a course with zero fees, does this count as prior study or training?


Fees Free query form

If your question has not been answered above, visit the Frees Free FAQs for more information or complete the below Fees Free query form.

We will get back to you as soon as we can. If your query is urgent, you may be able to get assistance from the Fees Free or TEC websites.

Please note:

As this is a Government programme that is administered by the Tertiary Education Commission, we may not be able to help you with every query. Any answer we give will be based on what we understand to be the case. Therefore, we can not accept responsibility for any actions or decisions you might subsequently make. For further advice, please contact TEC: http://www.tec.govt.nz/