Student loans

Picture of a young woman student

What is a student loan?

The student loan scheme lets students to take out a loan from the government while they are studying at tertiary institutions, like universities and polytechnics.

The loan is to help students pay compulsory fees, course-related costs and living expenses. If you have a student loan balance, you're charged interest. This interest is written off if you're living in New Zealand.

Who looks after student loans?

There are three government departments involved when you get a student loan:

  1. Ministry of Education (external link) - advises the government about student policies and approves study programmes.
  2. Ministry of Social Development (MSD) (external link) - StudyLink, a division of MSD, is responsible for making loans available and managing student loan payments for course fees, weekly living costs and course related costs.
  3. Inland Revenue (IRD) (external link) - is responsible for administering your loan once you've drawn down from it and collecting loan repayments from you.

Can I apply for a student loan?

You can apply for a student loan if:

  • you're studying at a tertiary institution and your study programme has been approved by the Tertiary Education Commission, and
  • you're 18 or over (you can still get a student loan if you're under 18, but you have to get your parent's, guardian's or caregiver's permission), and
  • you're a New Zealand citizen, or have permanent resident or refugee status.

Go to Studylink's website (external link) to find out more about applying for a student loan, and other options to help fund your study.

Repaying your student loan

You start repaying your student loan when your pay (before tax is deducted) goes over the pay period repayment threshold. The amount deducted from your to pay is 12 cents for every dollar you earn over the pay period repayment threshold (external link) .

If you have more than one job, you’ll need to use a secondary tax code with the "SL" repayment code and your employer will deduct repayments for your student loan from your pay at 12 cents for every dollar you earn.

If you want to work out your repayment amounts, you can do this using the PAYE/KiwiSaver calculator (external link) .

Find out more about repaying your student loan (external link)

How will this affect you?

Check out Real lives to see:

Andy's story - he's a university graduate with a full-time job and a student loan to pay off.

Krystal's story - she's a first-year university student with a student loan, and needs a tax code for her second part-time job.

Want to know more?

Get sussed for study (external link)

Student loans (external link)

Student loan repayment calculator (external link)