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The TEC recommends that a tertiary education organisation’s (TEO’s) standard admission and enrolment process for Student Achievement Component (SAC) for provision at level 3 and above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) (for this website page, referred to as SAC3+) includes the steps set out below:
Provides information on qualifications (including courses) and enrolment
Applies to the TEO for admission and enrolment (separately or together)
Verifies the student’s identity
Confirms the student’s eligibility to study (and eligibility to attract SAC3+ funding)
Makes a formal offer to enrol the student on a course or programme of study
Formally accepts the offer
Records the enrolment
Invoices the student for any tuition fees
Pays any tuition fees or arranges for them to be paid
Records payment of any fees or charges, including withdrawal and refunds
Provides for refunds for students who withdraw from courses within the defined withdrawal period
|TEO ||Once the withdrawal period has passed, the student is a confirmed student enrolment|
More information on these steps is set out below. These guidelines apply to each TEO, unless specified otherwise.
There are also a number of conditions and legislative requirements that relate to enrolment. See the Conditions page for more information.
We expect a TEO to publish admission information before the start of each programme. This information should include:
- admission requirements
- criteria and processes for having a student’s prior learning assessed and recognised
- criteria and processes for applications for cross-credit courses across multiple qualifications
- documents that a student must submit (for example, a student's academic transcript or record from another TEO)
- enrolment processes
- minimum attendance and code of conduct requirements
- the TEO's withdrawal policy
- student support services
- fees and other course costs
- criteria and processes for selecting students into restricted entry courses (if relevant).
There are specific legislative requirements for both tertiary education institutions (TEIs) and private training establishments (PTEs) to provide information about fees. See the Conditions page for more information.
A TEO may decide to restrict the number of eligible students who can enrol in a programme. A TEO could do this by:
- setting minimum entry standards for qualifications or courses
- requiring a student to achieve satisfactory academic progress
- requiring a student to complete another qualification
- setting admission limits (for example, capped numbers of high-cost SAC3+ provision such as aviation – see the Eligibility page (programme eligibility) for more information.
If a TEO decides to restrict the number of eligible students who can enrol in a programme in accordance with section 224(5) of the Education Act 1989 , we recommend that the TEO determines and publishes the maximum number of students who can enrol in a particular qualification or course each year, and the criteria and processes for selecting students into those restricted entry qualifications or courses.
The TEO must not, however, restrict enrolment in a programme for which SAC3+ funding is provided on the basis of private advantage (for example, restricting enrolment to the TEO's employees only). See Condition SAC3+020.
We recommend that a TEO publishes its enrolment forms. An enrolment form should collect all of the information that a TEO is required to report in the Single Data Return (SDR). To ensure an enrolment form collects all of the necessary information, the TEO should become familiar with the SDR Manual to identify the information that must be collected. The TEO could also use the Ministry of Education's generic enrolment form.
To be admitted into a programme, a student should apply to the TEO. A student should do this by filling in an enrolment form and sending the form to the TEO, and providing the TEO with evidence of identity to enable the TEO to verify the student's identity, and determine eligibility to enrol as a domestic student.
If a student's enrolment changes for any reason, the TEO should update its records to reflect those changes. We recommend that a TEO also sends an updated enrolment form or document to the student.
The TEO should specify the period in which a student may change their enrolments or withdraw from a course or programme without financial penalty (less any administration charge). See "Withdrawals" below.
There are specific legislative requirements for PTEs relating to fee refunds. See the Conditions page for more information.
Verification of identity and verification of eligibility
A TEO must verify the identity of each student enrolling at the TEO. Once verified, the TEO can then check if the student is a valid domestic enrolment (i.e. eligible to attract SAC3+ funding), or is eligible to attend a TEO as an international student (for example, by having a student visa).
Verification of identity
A TEO must verify a student's identity when the student enrols for the first time in a programme of learning that leads to a qualification with an equivalent full-time student (EFTS) value of greater than 0.03 EFTS (see Condition SAC3+017). The TEO can verify the student’s identity by one of the following:
- confirming that all data fields match the student’s National Student Number (NSN). The data supplied by the student must correctly match the details of their NSN in all data fields when cross-referenced with the NSN details held on the National Student Index. The student must declare that they are the owner of the NSN
- receiving an assertion through the Department of Internal Affairs’ RealMe® online identity verification service
- sighting the original or certified copy of a current passport
- sighting the original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:
- a birth certificate
- a certificate of identity
- a New Zealand certificate of citizenship
- an expired passport that has not been cancelled.
If a student is unable to obtain a birth certificate, you can contact us to discuss using a whakapapa statement as evidence of identity.
For subsequent enrolments in consecutive years, the TEO is not required to re-verify identity. However, TEOs should assess their level of risk around identity verification and, if appropriate, should develop a policy as to when the TEO must re-verify the student’s identity.
TEO to have a policy for when additional identity verification is required
Each TEO should have a clear identity verification policy that informs staff and students about when additional evidence of identity may be required (for example, police checks or referee checks for teaching degrees). We recommend that TEOs familiarise themselves with the Department of Internal Affairs' Evidence of Identity Standard.
Valid domestic enrolments
A TEO must comply with Condition SAC3+018 and verify a student's eligibility as a valid domestic enrolment using the following verification methods:
Type of student
A New Zealand citizen
a TEO must do one of the following:
a) confirm the student's citizenship status using the student’s NSN;
b) receive an assertion through RealMe® that the student was born in New Zealand (prior to 2005);
c) sight an original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:
i) a New Zealand birth certificate;
ii) a New Zealand passport;
iii) a New Zealand certificate of citizenship;
d) if a student is unable to obtain a birth certificate for the purposes of (c)(i) above, contact the TEC to confirm that a whakapapa statement signed by both the student and a kaumātua is acceptable evidence of citizenship.
A New Zealand resident:
a TEO must sight an original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:
a) a passport with a current returning residency class visa (a passport with a visa label);
b) a passport, and letter or email, confirming current returning residency class visa (label-less visa, followed by confirmation with Immigration New Zealand, where appropriate);
c) a certificate of identity from Immigration New Zealand if the student is a refugee.
An Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident currently residing in New Zealand:
a TEO must sight an original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:
a) an Australian birth certificate;
b) an Australian passport;
c) a passport with a current Australian resident return visa.
A dependant of diplomatic personnel:
a TEO must sight the original or certified copy of an authorised form from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Other types of valid domestic enrolments:
a TEO must ensure that a student is either:
a) an exchange student taking part in a New Zealand Government approved exchange programme at a TEO;
b) an international student involved in postgraduate research.
Re-verifying a valid domestic enrolment
For subsequent enrolments in consecutive years, the TEO is not required to re-verify a student’s validity as a domestic enrolment. However, TEOs should have a policy for when re-verification is required (for example, if a student’s valid domestic enrolment status when they first enrol is time-bound, or subject to change).
TEO to have a policy for when additional eligibility verification is required
Each TEO should have a clear eligibility policy that informs staff and students about when additional evidence of eligibility to study may be required, such as additional confirmation of academic achievement (for example, for a student enrolling in a Medical degree).
Enrolments of students with student visas as domestic students
Visa approval notification
Immigration New Zealand (part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) is moving towards the use of label-less visas. As the visa is recorded electronically in Immigration New Zealand’s system, some students will not have a visa label in their passport. Instead, a label-less visa approval notification is sent by email or by letter to the student.
Students with label-less visas may present their visa approval notification as evidence of their visa when they enrol with a TEO, and the TEO may choose to use VisaView to verify this.
TEOs can use Immigration New Zealand's VisaView online enquiry system to check whether a student who is not a New Zealand citizen can study with them in New Zealand.
Please see the “VisaView Guide for Education Providers” for more information. You can also contact Immigration New Zealand if you have questions.
To comply with Condition SAC3+016, TEOs may want to retain a download of the VisaView record, although you will be able to refer to it online as required.
Enrolment of international students
If a student is an international student, a TEO should confirm that the student is eligible to attend the TEO as an international student. You can do this by either:
- sighting the student's passport and conducting a VisaView check (as above)
- sighting the student's passport with:
– a current student visa label or visa approval notification (as above) (or in the case of a pathway student visa, the letter from Immigration New Zealand specifying the TEOs and courses the student is eligible to attend)
– a current work visa label or visa approval notification with conditions that allow the student to study (this relates to an international student who has a practical component in their study programme)
– a current work or visitor visa label or visa approval notification if the student is enrolling in a course of less than 12 weeks. Please see Immigration New Zealand's website for more information about work and visitor’s visas.
Although Condition SAC3+016 details the enrolment records to be kept for a SAC3+ funded student, we recommend that TEOs keep the same records for their international students, in order to comply with the record-keeping requirements for TEIs in section 225 of the Education Act 1989, or, for PTEs, section 236A of the Act.
Deferring start date
A TEO may allow a student to defer the start date of their enrolment in a programme. We recommend that a TEO specifies the circumstances in which a student may defer their enrolment. The TEO must ensure that it does not claim funding for a student who has deferred his or her enrolment until the student actually starts the programme.
Recognition of prior learning
Recognition of prior learning (RPL) relates to previous study or experience relevant to a programme of study or training a student is currently undertaking.
RPL enables a student to proceed with the study or training without repeating aspects of the qualification, or re-learning skills the student has already gained through past work or other experience.
A TEO must not seek funding for RPL credited to a student. For more information, see Condition SAC3+021.
Across the total programme of study or training, Condition SAC3+007 prevents a TEO from enrolling a student in an additional course or qualification if the total enrolment for that year will exceed the annual EFTS value of the qualification being attained. However, in an exceptional circumstance, a student may elect to exceed the EFTS value (for example, if the student needs to re-sit a course in order to achieve it, the total EFTS value of that student’s enrolments at the TEO for that year will be greater that the annual EFTS value of the qualification that is attained).
The TEO should not enrol a student in an additional course or qualification unless the student has elected to exceed the annual EFTS value of the qualification to accelerate the programme of study or training (for example, a student may choose to complete a 3 year qualification in 2 and a half years by undertaking a higher course load each year).
In that instance, the additional student learning hours should be matched by an appropriate number of extra teaching hours. While we will generally will not approve a qualification for funding that is longer than 34 weeks in a year, if an individual student wishes to compress their learning, we will only fund the enrolment up to 52 weeks in a year.
Example: a qualification that is 34 weeks each year in length is generally 1.0 EFTS in value each year, which equates to 0.03 EFTS each week.
0.03 EFTS per week x 34 weeks = 1.0 EFTS.
If a student studies for 52 weeks in a year, the maximum amount of EFTS that the TEC will fund for that student is 1.56 EFTS.
0.03 EFTS per week x 52 weeks = 1.56 EFTS.
TEOs should ensure students understand the workload that will be required of them to achieve their courses and qualifications.
TEOs should also be aware that a student may be concurrently enrolled at another TEO and therefore undertaking a high study load. While this is not prohibited, TEOs should take care to identify those students and ensure that they are supported to successfully complete their courses and qualifications.
A TEO must not induce a student into enrolling in SAC3+ funded provision. An enrolment that is induced is an invalid domestic enrolment – see the Eligibility page.
An inducement to enrol includes any of the following:
- a financial benefit to the student
- a personal advantage to the student not directly related to the attainment of that qualification
- a physical item that a student retains possession of after the course of study or training has ended.
An inducement does not include:
- a scholarship, as defined in Condition SAC3+019
- a physical item that:
- is essential for a student to complete the compulsory requirements of the programme of study (including printed course notes, an e-reader for course notes, course-related textbooks), and
- cannot be returned and reused for students in subsequent intakes (for example, due to health and safety reasons; time-limited materials or materials that will be updated; if it is not financially feasible)
- an item or arrangement that has been approved by the TEC. For example, we may approve an item that has minimal residual value or useful life in the general marketplace, or is needed for a student’s pathway into the vocation for which study or training has been undertaken
- the guarantee of a job placement on the successful completion of a programme of study, backed by a partial or total money-back guarantee
- a conditional offer of a partial refund (such as a refund for a timely or electronic enrolment).
Payment of fees
A student is not considered to be a valid domestic enrolment for the purposes of funding unless they have paid or committed to pay the fees (if fees apply) – see Condition SDR001 and Condition SDR001 (PTE). If a student fails to pay the fees, the TEO must treat the enrolment as invalid (this only applies where student fees are compulsory or required).
A student is considered not to have paid the fees, and is not a valid domestic enrolment, if the student has withdrawn from a course (whether formally or informally) or is expelled, and received a refund of all of the fees (or had any commitment to pay fees waived).
To avoid doubt, if, after a student has paid the fees, the TEO decides to pay for the student's fees through a scholarship, the student remains a valid domestic enrolment.
A student who has withdrawn from their course (formally or informally) or been expelled after the withdrawal date, and has not received a refund, remains a confirmed student enrolment and valid domestic enrolment for the purposes of reporting to the TEC, and must be included in the SDR.
When a TEO has confirmed a student's enrolment, we expect the TEO to provide the student with an invoice that specifies the courses in which they have been accepted, and itemises the fees and course costs of each course in which the student is enrolled.
The student will be required to pay the fees specified in the invoice or arrange for them to be paid. If a student has arranged to pay the fees through the Student Loan Scheme, a TEO should:
- get the student's agreement to authorise the payment from their loan account
- send a “Verification of Study” to StudyLink
- receive confirmation that StudyLink has accepted the student's loan application
- inform the student in writing of arrangements concerning payment.
After a TEO has received payment (or confirmation that payment has been arranged), it should issue a receipt to the student.
If, after a student has paid for the fees, the TEO refunds all or some of a student’s fees (including if the TEO decides to pay for the student's fees through a scholarship), the TEO must refund the student in the manner in which the original fee was paid. This could be either to StudyLink, if the student paid using the Student Loan Scheme, or directly to the student.
Fee refunds must be processed in a timely manner. Failure to do so can result in students incurring unnecessary interest on their loans (where interest applies) and impact on the calculation of EFTS lifetime limits.
A “withdrawal” means the withdrawal of a confirmed student enrolment from a course, programme or training scheme. The withdrawal can be by notice from the student to the TEO, or as a result of non-attendance or non-participation by the student.
Setting a withdrawal date
There are requirements for setting a “withdrawal date” – this creates a specified period during which a student can withdraw from a course and not receive a full refund of any fees and course costs paid (or a waiver of any commitment to pay fees). The withdrawal date differs between PTEs and other types of TEOs.
For TEOs (other than PTEs), the TEO may set the withdrawal date. If the TEO does not set a withdrawal date, it will be the date on which 10% or one month of the course for which a student is enrolled has passed, whichever is the lesser.
For PTEs, if a student is enrolled for all or part of a programme or training scheme that is of more than three months’ duration, the withdrawal date and refund period entitlements are set out in sections 234C to 235D of the Education Act 1989.
If a programme or training scheme is less than three months’ duration, the TEO must set a withdrawal date for each course in the programme or training scheme, which must be no earlier than the date at which 10% of the course for which a student is enrolled has passed.
Students who have not withdrawn
Even if a student has not withdrawn from a course by the withdrawal date, they may be disengaged from the programme of learning, for example, by not attending a face-to-face course or not logging in for on-line learning. If these students continue and are unsuccessful, they will be counted as a course non-completion for the calculation of Educational Performance Indicators. It is therefore in a student’s and a TEO’s best interests to clarify early on, before the withdrawal date, if a disengaged student is withdrawing from a course.