SAC levels 3 and 4 (competitive) pilot

SAC levels 3 and 4 (competitive) pilot

Last updated 27 February 2017
Last updated 02/27/2017

This page provides information on a new competitive pilot to allocate a portion of SAC levels 3 and 4 funding.

As a part of the 2016 investment round, we invited eligible tertiary education organisations (TEOs) to submit applications to participate in a new competitive pilot to allocate up to $35 million of Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding at levels 3 and 4 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).  

The pilot built on the success of the previous competitive processes for SAC-funded provision at levels 1 and 2 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).  It was also signalled as one of the Investment Approach “quick win” initiatives in the 2017 and 2018 Plan Guidance (released November 2015).

The aim of the pilot was to:

  • direct investment towards higher quality delivery of provision in these areas
  • increase responsiveness to industry needs in the primary sector
  • improve outcomes for learners (better stair-casing and clearer pathways into higher levels or into employment)
  • provide greater certainty that proposed funding rates reflect the costs of delivery at levels 3 and 4.   

Primary sector focus

The new competitive pilot focused on agriculture, horticulture and viticulture education provision (identified using New Zealand Standard Classification of Education (NZSCED) narrow fields 0501 and 0503).  

These areas have been identified as areas of national importance and recent changes within primary sector education provision have created an opportunity for the TEC to strengthen the quality and delivery of agriculture, horticulture and viticulture education provision at sub-degree level.   

The competitive process will enable the TEC to direct investment towards higher quality delivery that focuses on the skills required by employers in the primary sector and provide strong pathways for learners into skilled employment or further study at a higher level.

SAC levels 3 and 4 competitive process has been completed

The competitive process is now complete and all applicants have been advised of the outcome of their application. 

We took a holistic view in allocating provision through the competitive process. This included balancing a number of factors such as regional distribution of provision, learner needs and regional demand.

Expertise from the Ministry for Primary Industries helped  inform decisions and the distribution of provision recommended for funding.  This was to ensure that provision in these areas met the current and anticipated needs of primary industry in New Zealand.

Results of the SAC levels 3 and 4 competitive round

The SAC levels 3 and 4 competitive pilot allocated a total of $27.69 million for primary sector provision within the pilot focus areas for 2017.  This is an increase of around $0.5 million compared with the 2015 value of delivery.

There were 26 eligible applications considered for SAC levels 3 and 4 competitive funding for the 2016 round, of which 19 will receive funding.  

The pilot has seen a number of changes in the overall distribution of funding, including:  

  • less extramural provision and more face-to-face delivery funded
  • improved matching of funding by region, particularly in priority regions. This includes an increase in the level of funding in regions of economic priority (Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki and the Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman areas
  • funding level by sub-sector, with a decrease in provision across the university and ITP subsectors, and an increase in PTE provision.  This is primarily due to other applicants scoring higher in quality assessments and/or offering better value for money for the same or similar provision.

Funded provision will also lift the number of New Zealand Certificates being funded. This supports the drive for increased quality of provision resulting from the Targeted Review of Qualifications.

In a small number of areas (Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury and extramural provision) allocated funding has decreased. This is due to the limited number of TEOs that proposed to deliver provision in these regions, and providers in these areas reducing or no longer delivering provision within the pilot focus area.

Understanding how your application was scored

You should have received your individual scores summary. If you have not yet received your summary please email us or contact your Investment Manager or advisor.

The score summary sheet has information about how each of your qualifications scored against the three quality dimensions and components in the assessment framework. To help you understand this scoring summary, please refer to ‘Understanding how your application was scored’ below. This document also provides you with information about the assessment process.

Understanding how your application for the 2016 SAC levels 3 and 4 (competitive) pilot was scored (PDF, 302 Kb)

Some provision not purchased

In the decision-making process, the Review Panel chose not to fund some qualifications for a number of reasons. These reasons included: showing preference for new New Zealand Certificates over expiring National or Local Certificates; where qualifications were proposed to be delivered extramurally and adequate volumes were available locally via a direct contact delivery model; and where provision was better suited to delivery through Industry Training due to a strong ‘on-job’ focus. 

Roll-over enrolments (grand-parenting)

We are currently considering grand-parenting arrangements for currently funded qualifications that were not successful in the competitive pilot. To be considered for funding via grand-parenting arrangements students must have enrolled in these qualifications prior to 31 October 2016

Applicant debrief

There is no formal process to appeal decisions for the competitive pilot. 

However, unsuccessful applicants can take up the opportunity to debrief following the allocation of the SAC levels 3 and 4 via the competitive pilot. Debriefs may be provided by email, phone, or at a meeting. 


If you have any questions about SAC levels 3 and 4 competitive pilot please email

Additional information

For more information about the competitive process, refer to: 

Application documents

Performance information available in Workspaces

We uploaded some TEC-held performance information into some TEO Workspaces. This information was used when assessing applications in accordance with the hierarchy set out in the 'Understanding how your application was scored' document (above).

Questions about performance information

If you have any questions about the performance information loaded into your organisation’s Workspace, please contact our Sector Helpdesk on 0800 601 301 or your Investment Manager.