COVID-19 update

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Student consumer information

Tools, resources, and other information for Victoria University of Wellington students receiving US Federal Student Aid.

Cohort Default Rate

Victoria University of Wellington’s 2017 three year Cohort Default Rate is 7.5.

Funding assessment

Your eligibility for US financial aid will be assessed based on the information you provide on your Application form for US Federal Student Aid.

Cost of attendance

The cost of attendance (COA) is the expected average cost you may incur to study at the University. Your COA for US Federal Student Aid purposes is calculated in NZ$ and then converted to US$ to create the US$ COA. It is important to read and understand the exchange rate conversion policy before accepting a loan and committing to study.

Find out more about the cost of attendance and the exchange rate conversion policy.

Borrowing amounts and limits

Borrowing amounts

The US government specifies the maximum a student may be eligible to borrow through Direct Loans. However, depending on your eligibility assessment and cost of attendance calculation, the amount(s) awarded may be lower than the maximum amount(s) specified by the US government.

The eligible US loan amounts are determined by the cost of attendance minus any other aid (estimated financial assistance) you are receiving (e.g., other loans, grants, scholarships).

We recommend students consider paying interest while in school (unsubsidised and/or GradPLUS loans) to reduce the total debt when you leave the University.

Direct Loan borrowing limits

Annual borrowing limits for dependent undergraduate students

Grade Level Combined base limit for subsidised and unsubsidised loans (US$) Additional limit for unsubsidised loans (US$)Annual loan limit (US$)
First-year undergraduate (freshman) $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Second-year undergraduate (sophomore) $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Third-year and beyond undergraduate (junior, senior) $5,500 $2,000 $7,500

Annual borrowing limits for independent undergraduate students

Grade Level Combined base limit for subsidised and unsubsidised loans (US$) Additional limit for unsubsidised loans (US$)Annual loan limit (US$)
First-year undergraduate (freshman) $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Second-year undergraduate (sophomore) $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Third-year and beyond undergraduate (junior, senior) $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

Annual borrowing limits for graduate or professional students

Grade level Total limit for unsubsidised loans (US$)
Graduate or professional $20,500

Lifetime borrowing limits

Grade Level Combined base limit for subsidised and unsubsidied loans (US$) Additional limit for unsubsidised loans (US$)Total aggregate subsidised and unsubsidised combined (US$)
Dependent undergraduate students (whose parents were not denied a PLUS loan) $23,000 $8,000 $31,000
Independent undergraduate students (and dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan) $23,000 $34,500 $57,500
Graduate or professional $65,000 $57,500 $138,500

Aggregate limits for graduate students include loans borrowed as an undergraduate student.

Budgeting advice

We recommend that you create a good budget prior to departure to enable you to plan for your financial security during your studies at the University.

We recommend you have access to at least four weeks’ funds in case there is a delay in your loan money being received at the beginning of the trimester.

If you want further advice about planning for your study costs, see the International Students’ Financial Survival Guide.

For help with developing a budget for your time as a student at the University, contact the Student Finance Advisers or register to attend a financial wellbeing workshop.


Repayment plans and estimator

The US Federal Student Aid repayment estimator is a useful tool to better understand your total loan debt, repayment options and overall loan costs.

Loan repayment, forgiveness and discharge information

See the US Federal Student Aid website for useful tools and information:

The above information is provided in accordance with the US government’s Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, section 668.


If you wish to drop or add a course you will need to make sure you follow the correct procedures within specified timelines. For withdrawal processes and deadlines see our course additions and withdrawal information.

Withdrawal and Return of Title IV

Under US federal law, Victoria University of Wellington is required to report any changes to your enrolment and perform a Return of Title IV if applicable. You may also have to return the unearned funds.

If you are a dependent student

A student’s dependency status is determined from information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It affects the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and types of aid that you may be eligible to receive.

You’re considered independent if you are one or more of:

  • at least 24 years old by 31 December of the award year
  • an orphan or ward/dependent of the court, or was a ward/dependent of the court until you reached age 18
  • a veteran of the US Armed Forces
  • working on a Master’s or doctorate programme at the beginning of the award year for which the FAFSA is completed
  • married as of the date the FAFSA is completed
  • the parent of at least one child who receives more than half of his or her support from you
  • live with a dependent, other than a spouse or a child, who receives more than half of his or her support from you at the time the FAFSA is completed and through 30 June of the award year.

You are considered dependent if you do not meet any of the preceding criteria for an independent student unless Wellington University International determines that you are independent based on special circumstances.

To apply for a dependency override, contact the financial aid coordinator at

Victoria University of Wellington information

Completion and graduation rates can be found in the University’s Annual Report.

Studying at Victoria University of Wellington

Safeguarding your information

The collection, use, storage, disclosure, and correction of personal information by the University are governed by the Privacy Act 1993. View the University's information about privacy.

Alcohol prevention

Victoria University of Wellington is part of the New Zealand-wide alcohol screening and intervention coordinated by Health Promotion Agency (HPA) whereby all current students are emailed each year with a screening invitation and brief online intervention. More information is available on the Student Health website.

Drug prevention

Students can also seek help about drug or alcohol issues from Student Counselling or Student Health.

Victoria University of Wellington will impose disciplinary sanctions on students for the possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol in accordance with the Student Conduct Statute. Such sanctions could include exclusion from the University for a period of up to two years and the matter may be referred to the police. For more detail, refer to Victoria University of Wellington’s Student Conduct Statute.

For a full view of the University’s student policies.

Find an agent

Find an authorised education agent in your local area to help you apply for your degree.

Other US Federal Student Aid information

There are several other programmes including Pell Grants and Perkins Loans that may be available under the same US legislation. However, these cannot be awarded to students studying outside the United States. Eligible students may, however, defer the repayment of these loans while attending Victoria University of Wellington.

Further information on Direct Loans is available on these links to external websites:

Visit the US Department of Education's website for advice on entrance counselling, viewing federal loan documents, and signing promissory notes.