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 8 September 2021
All of Aotearoa New Zealand is at alert level 2 except for Auckland and parts of Waikato, which are at alert level 3.
Pūtea Āwhina—Hardship Fund
- A change in your employment situation
- Additional costs incurred by studying off campus
- Increased living costs such as power
- Difficulty covering weekly necessities.
Students are expected to be using or have exhausted their StudyLink entitlements when applying for the Hardship Fund.
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 $585.80 per week or $350 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 levels. 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 $350 for each eligible worker.
An overview of the different schemes can be found on the business.govt.nz website.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.