Our privacy notice

Te Matatapu

Last updated 31 May 2021
Last updated 31 May 2021

This privacy notice lets you know how the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will protect and manage all personal information we hold.

This is a general notice that covers the privacy practices across the TEC at our premises, on our websites, including Fees Free and Careers Services.

Personal information

Personal information is any information that identifies a person. At the TEC, personal information we collect includes:

  • name and contact details (eg, phone numbers, email address, home address)
  • date of birth
  • National Student Number (NSN)
  • demographic information (eg, gender, ethnicity)
  • educational history
  • job title and organisation
  • residency status and documentation evidencing this
  • statutory declaration (as to your eligibility for Fees Free).

Collecting your personal information

We collect your personal information to:

  • correspond with you
  • verify your identity
  • assess your eligibility to receive our services
  • ensure tertiary education organisations receive appropriate funding.

We generally collect this information directly from you.

We also collect information about your enrolment and course activity directly from your enrolled tertiary education organisation. The information we collect from them enables us to fund them appropriately for the Government subsidies associated with your training.

You don’t have to provide any personal information to us but if you don’t, we may not be able to determine whether you’re eligible for our services.

Occasionally, we need to collect information about you from third parties because it is not practical to collect this information directly from you. These third parties are the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development (StudyLink) and tertiary education organisations. We collect this information because we have a statutory function to make sure you meet eligibility criteria.

To determine Fees Free entitlement, we need to collect information from each tertiary education organisation you’re enrolled at to verify your eligibility. We collect:

  • Nationals Student Number (NSN)
  • qualification codes
  • course codes
  • course start and end dates
  • course equivalent full-time student (EFTS) factor
  • if you withdraw, the date you withdrew
  • the amount of Fees Free funding you have used.

Sharing your personal information

We may disclose your personal information to StudyLink, the Ministry of Education, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and tertiary education organisations to help them perform their functions relating to student allowances, student loans and the administration of other aspects of the tertiary education system.

We may disclose some of your personal information to tertiary education organisations so that, if you’re eligible for Fees Free tertiary education, you won't be charged inappropriately.  

At all other times, we’ll only disclose your personal information if you allow us, or if we are required to by law.

Looking after your personal information

We may use cloud computing to manage and store information. We operate our cloud computing according to New Zealand Government standards. We take all reasonable precautions to protect personal information we hold from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. We do this by:

  • having strong external and internal premises security
  • storing information in access-controlled systems and limiting staff interaction with data
  • providing training on the Privacy Act to all our staff.

When you contact us, we may create a profile of you in our customer relationship management system. The profile will hold the information we have collected from you and the information you have provided us. This includes your contact details and details of all our communications with you.

Accessing your personal information

You have the right to request access to any personal information we hold about you, and to ask for it to be corrected if you think it is wrong. If you would like to request your information or seek corrections, please email us at privacy@tec.govt.nz.


Personal information is required to assess your application and your suitability for employment within TEC. It will be kept, used and disclosed only in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020 and the Public Records Act 2005.

All information you provide as part of your application will be treated as confidential by the TEC and used only for the purpose it is collected. If your application is successful, this information will be kept on your personal file and can be used for the purposes of your employment with us.

Privacy on our websites

Any personal information you enter into our websites, eg, your NSN for Fees Free eligibility, will be encrypted while in transit from your browser to the hosting environment in New Zealand. The hosting provider is not permitted to access or use the information for any purpose other than managing this website for us. If you’ve answered the additional questions to help us determine your eligibility, we’ll store the information you’ve provided in secure and access-controlled systems.

We collect information about all visits to our websites, including the:

  • IP address of the device being used
  • type of browser being used, eg, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox
  • type of device, eg, PC, laptop, phone, tablet.

Our systems remove any information that might identify you and send the rest to Google Analytics. We then use Google Analytics to get information like:

  • how many people are on our website
  • what page of the website was visited most in a given time period
  • the location people are connecting from
  • what types of devices are being used.

Find out more about Google Analytics.

We use ‘cookies’, which are record-keeping tokens that are stored on your device when you visit our website. The aggregate data from cookies is collected and stored on our internal servers, and only accessed by authorised staff. Cookies help us analyse site usage more accurately and help us provide additional functionality to you.

If you do not wish to receive cookies from tec.govt.nz or our affiliate websites, you can set your browser to refuse them or to warn you when you are about to receive one. Turning off cookies will not affect your ability to use any of our websites.

Call recording policy

As part of our commitment to giving you the best customer service all of our calls are recorded for quality management or internal training purposes.

We record calls:

  • for staff training purposes,
  • to improve the quality of our customer service,
  • to ensure the information we provide is consistent and accurate,
  • so we can find ways to simplify our service to you,
  • to ensure we have an accurate record of your call, which may be needed to support any transactions that take place over the phone and/or if there is a dispute.

We understand your personal information is important and we are committed to protecting it. We store the recordings securely and destroy them in accordance with Archives New Zealand requirements.

Call recordings are only accessible by authorised TEC personnel and only for the purposes indicated above. Call recordings may be disclosed in full or in part in response to requests made under the Official Information Act 1982. Requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis with the privacy interests of the individuals involved being given due consideration.

Can I request a copy of a recording?

You have the right to request access to, and correction of any personal information that we hold about you. To access or update your personal information please call us on 0800 601 301 or email CustomerService@tec.govt.nz.

The call recording requested will be evaluated before being provided. However, unless we have a lawful reason for withholding the information, we will provide you with access to the call recording.

Contact us

If you have any questions about privacy at the TEC and our management of your personal information, you can contact us:

Email:   privacy@tec.govt.nz

Post:      The Privacy Officer
               Tertiary Education Commission
                PO Box 27048
                Wellington 6141

Phone: 0800 601 301