Government and community support
As well as the financial support that StudyLink provides, there is additional support available to help with your expenses while you’re studying.
You may not be eligible for all of these, so it’s important to read all the details.
An Accommodation Supplement may be available to help pay rent or board for students who aren't eligible for a Student Allowance.
Eligibility for the Accommodation Supplement
To be eligible, you must:
- have accommodation costs (Housing New Zealand houses are not included)
- be a Permanent Resident or Citizen of New Zealand
- have low income
- have low assets (below $2,700 for a single person or $5,400 for couples and sole parents)
- not receive a Student Allowance.
Student scenarios for the Accommodation Supplement
- Kelly is doing her Masters. She cannot get an Allowance for postgraduate study, so she gets Student Loan Living Costs plus an Accommodation Supplement.
- Ali has been studying for more than 7 EFTS and no longer has access to the Student Loan. She now works part time and gets an Accommodation Supplement.
- Kevin works over summer but only earns $350 a week. He tops it up with an Accommodation Supplement.
- Mark received the Allowance last year, but he can't get it this year because he didn't pass enough papers. Instead, he gets Student Loan Living Costs plus an Accommodation Supplement.
- Jen studies part time and works part time. She tops up her wages with an Accommodation Supplement.
How to apply for the Accommodation Supplement
Apply online through StudyLink.
Disability Allowance is a weekly payment for people who have regular, ongoing costs because of a disability. These could be visits to the doctor or hospital, medicines, extra clothing, or travel. You don’t have to be on a benefit to qualify for a Disability Allowance.
Eligibility for the Disability Allowance
You may get a Disability Allowance if you:
- have a disability that is likely to last at least six months
- have regular, ongoing costs due to your disability that are not fully covered by another agency
- are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
- normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here.
- eligibility also depends on how much you and your partner earn.
For more in-depth information on the Disability Allowance, and to better understand the criteria and application process, visit the Work and Income website.
Jobseeker Support Student Hardship weekly payments
If you are not studying over the summer and have not been able to find work, or if your job is only part-time and you are on a low wage, then the Jobseeker Support Student Hardship can help.
Eligibility for Jobseeker Support Student Hardship weekly payments
To be eligible you must be returning to study and registered with Student Job Search. If you receive the Student Allowance, you will qualify for this benefit. If you don’t receive the Student Allowance, you will have to show evidence of hardship. Staying in Wellington, having to pay rent, and not receiving regular support from family qualifies as hardship.
When to apply
Apply four weeks before your break starts to ensure you get the correct payments on time. If you get a job, you can always cancel the benefit.
Usually, you will receive your first payment in the third week of your break. This is because there is a one-week stand-down period and StudyLink make payments one week in arrears. When your break finishes, you'll get your last payment a week later (in the first week of your course).
How to apply
Apply online through StudyLink.
You will need to have submitted a Student Allowance and/or Student Loan application for the next period of study. Make sure you are also registered with Student Job Search.
If you would like help with the application process, contact us for an appointment.
Community Services Card
Most students are eligible for the Community Services Card, which reduces the costs of healthcare and services. Eligibility is judged on personal annual income. See the Work and Income website for details and how to apply or ask for an application form from Student Health or a Student Finance Adviser.
The dental grant can be accessed through either StudyLink or Work and Income. If you're on a low income or benefit, they may be able to help you pay for immediate and essential dental treatment.
Immediate and essential dental treatment includes treatment such as fillings and extractions, but not periodic cleaning or check-ups.
You can apply for up to $1,000 a year (any 52-week period), to help with immediate and essential dental treatment. You don't have to pay this back.
They may still be able to help if the cost of your dental treatment is more than $1,000. You may need to pay some of this back, depending on your situation. Talk to either WINZ or StudyLink about how they can help.
You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for this grant. Read more about eligibility and the application process on the Work and Income website.
The Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association provides welfare services to help students in need. This includes the community pantry and sanitary products, while they often have free food from Kaibosh available at certain times throughout the trimester. If you have lectures between campuses, VUWSA also has inter-campus bus passes available and cheap campus parking for students.
Alongside their welfare services, VUWSA also provide advocacy support which can help students with academic and personal problems.
To find out more in-depth information about what VUWSA may be able to help you with, you can visit the VUWSA website
Free and affordable food around the city
There are many organisations around Poneke that help people access affordable or free food and meals. Free food store is located on Willis Street and utilises leftover food from cafes, businesses and supermarkets to ensure that it is not wasted. Everybody Eats is a pay-as-you-can-afford restaurant that runs a few days each week. This is located on Dixon Street.
Fruit and vegetable markets
Poneke has a variety of different fruit and vegetable markets, usually held during the weekend. Markets are generally more affordable than supermarkets and you are commonly buying directly from the farmers. It pays to take cash to these markets as not all will accept Eftpos. You can look at a directory of some of the markets around the city or Google which ones are close to you.
Wonky Box is a fresh fruit and vegetable subscription box delivering produce that's at risk of going to waste. They collect odd-looking and surplus produce from local growers and deliver it straight to households across the North Island. Their mission is to be fairer to consumers, fairer to growers, and fairer to the environment. They want to help New Zealanders reduce food waste and eat seasonally all year round at an affordable price.
Wonky Box can be an affordable way to get a variety of fruits and vegetables delivered to your door. You can check the contents of the boxes every week on the Wonky Box website. For enrolled students, the student finance team have a code that can be used on your first order to save some putea. Email email@example.com with your student ID number to receive a 20% discount code.
The University has partnered with Blackbullion, an online financial literacy platform.
Blackbullion is an online financial learning platform designed for tertiary students. It helps students get money smart about university finances, personal savings, and their financial future.
Registration for Blackbullion is free for all students of the University. It gives you unlimited access to a range of financial learning platforms, resources, and tools.
Complete Blackbullion’s online financial pathways at your own pace and increase your financial literacy—from how to budget and save while studying to understanding taxes. Sign up for money boot camps and 21-day saving challenges. Jump on the budget calculator tool to understand where your money is coming from and where it’s going.
Blackbullion have put together a Quick Guide to Scams (PDF) which tells you how to recognise a scam.
To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org
To chat with someone in person about your finances, make an appointment with our Student Finance Advisers for confidential, non-judgemental financial advice on campus.