Financial support

Solutions are available for students experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19—find out how you can get help.

This page was last updated on 16 March 2022.

The COVID-19 Protection Framework is in effect – all of Aotearoa New Zealand is currently at orange. Public health measures apply.

If you are unwell: stay at home, study remotely where possible, and contact your faculty office if you are concerned about any impact on your academic programme.

You must wear a mask at all times while indoors on campus, including during teaching and learning activities. Spare masks are available if needed.

If you're experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19, there are solutions available to you, including the University's Hardship Fund and the government's Studylink and employment support schemes. You can access help one-on-one with an online meeting with one of our student finance advisers.

Pūtea Āwhina—Hardship Fund

Most currently enrolled students who are in financial hardship are eligible to apply for help from the Hardship Fund, including international students. The University will continue to support the Fund and students who are experiencing financial need.

The Hardship Fund helps with a range of issues including but not limited to:

  • A change in your employment situation
  • Additional costs incurred by studying off campus
  • Increased living costs such as power
  • Difficulty covering weekly necessities.

Please email student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz to organise an appointment with a Student Finance Adviser or call 0800 04 04 04.

You can find more information on the Hardship Fund page.

Students are expected to be using or have exhausted their StudyLink entitlements when applying for the Hardship Fund.

Technology grant

As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, if you are experiencing financial hardship and are unable to study from home because you do not have access to items such as a desk, a desk chair, headphones, or mouse, you can apply for a technology grant.

The maximum amount that you can receive from this grant is $500. You are not eligible if you have $2,000 or more across your accounts.

To apply, email the following documents to student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz:

  • a completed technology grant eligibility form (PDF)
  • a recent bank statement or internet banking printout showing at least two weeks’ transactions
  • a recent bank statement or internet banking printout showing all account balances.

After your application is received, you will be contacted by a student finance adviser who will tell you if you are eligible for assistance with the cost of purchasing these items.

Note that funding for this grant Is limited and will be capped at a maximum number of recipients.

Rorohiko Whakamino | Laptop loan scheme

Support with a laptop is available for students experiencing financial hardship. If you are unable to study from home because you do not have access to a computer, email the following to student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz:

  • a completed Laptop loan eligibility form
  • a recent bank statement or internet banking printout showing at least two weeks’ transactions
  • a recent bank statement or internet banking printout showing all account balances.

The student finance advisers will contact you to advise if you are eligible to borrow a laptop from the University for the duration of your programme of study.

Government assistance

Domestic students can apply for financial assistance for urgent or unexpected costs through StudyLink. This includes assistance with food, accommodation, power, gas & water bills or heating etc.

If you have lost hours at your workplace due to COVID-19, talk to your employer to see if they have applied for financial assistance for their workers. They may have applied for one or more of the following schemes.

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is for employers (and also those who are self-employed) to help pay their employees who need to self-isolate at home, and are unable to work from home. The payments are either $600 per week or $359 per week, depending on how many hours the employee works.

COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available to employers at all alert settings. It enables them to pay workers who follow public health guidance and are staying home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result. It’s also available to eligible self-employed workers.

To be eligible, workers must be unable to work from home and need to miss work while waiting for the test results. This scheme provides a one-off payment of $359 for each eligible worker.

An overview of the different schemes can be found on the business.govt.nz website.

COVID support while people are self-isolating

Work and Income are offering extra support to those who are self-isolating. This includes:

  • applying for one-off financial assistance for immediate and essential needs (e.g. food, medicine, and some bills)
  • support dropping off essential items
  • linking you with community support groups

You can tell Work and Income if you need help by filling out their form. You can also call their free COVID Welfare Line on 0800 512 337.

StudyLink support

Information on support available from StudyLink can be found on the student loans and allowances page.

Withdrawing from courses and StudyLink

When considering withdrawing from classes, keep in mind that this may affect your student loan support (student loan living costs, student allowance, course related costs) if StudyLink no longer recognise you as a full-time student. Full-time study is defined by StudyLink as being enrolled in at least 48 points in one trimester OR 96 points in two or more trimesters in the same loan period. If you are concerned about losing this support, contact student-finance@vuw.ac.nz before withdrawing to discuss your options first.

As StudyLink view late withdrawals as fail grades, withdrawing from courses may also affect your future student loan entitlements, this continues to apply and there has been no relaxation of the rules. StudyLink requires students to have passed more than half of their study in the past 5 years to be eligible for a student loan. If you are withdrawing due to exceptional circumstances affecting your ability to study, you can appeal to Studylink to have this paper disregarded from their calculations. More information can be found on the StudyLink website.

Remember: if you choose to withdraw from study, you need to let the University and StudyLink know straight away.

If you are withdrawing from study due to exceptional circumstances, more information can be found on the fees reconsideration page.

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