Coronavirus: Course-related costs limit increased as part of COVID-19 tertiary relief package

Full-time students will now be able to access $2000, up from $1000, for course-related costs on a temporary basis, as part of the Government's multimillion-dollar COVID-19 tertiary support package.

The Government has also ensured that support payments will continue for students unable to study online for up to eight weeks, as well as some other technical changes.

Where students receive partial tuition fee refunds in 2020 because their course has been discontinued due to COVID-19, this will not affect their future entitlement to student loans.

And where students are unable to complete a course of study in 2020 due to COVID-19, this will not affect their entitlement to access the Government's policy that makes tertiary education fees-free for the first year.

"We do not want to see students unfairly disadvantaged due to COVID-19," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said during her post-Cabinet press conference. 

Domestic students who are enrolled in full-time tertiary study can access these supports from Wednesday, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. 

He said the measures, coupled with the support the Ministry of Social Development can already give - such as the wage subsidy scheme - will help to ease the financial impact COVID-19 is having on tertiary students.

"We are also working on a second package of changes to prepare the system for significant growth in participation in key strategic areas as greater numbers of New Zealanders are expected to look to retrain and some industries need bigger workforces."

The cost of the package is $35 million in operating funding and $98 million in capital expenditure, bringing the total to $133 million. 

The new measures apply to all full-time domestic students studying at university, polytechnics, or private training establishments this year, whether they are enrolled already or planning to. 

It follows the Government’s announcement last week that hard copy education packages and electronic devices will be sent out to primary school students in COVID-19 lockdown as part of an $87 million package.