Youth Guarantee Fund

Youth Guarantee Fund

Last updated 16 June 2023
Last updated 16 June 2023

Youth Guarantee (YG) funding provides fees-free tertiary study at Levels 1–3 to enable young people to progress to higher-level education or employment.

The Youth Guarantee Fund is part of a wider suite of initiatives that includes Vocational Pathways and Secondary-Tertiary Programmes (such as Trades Academies). These initiatives provide opportunities for learners to achieve a minimum of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2 or equivalent, to enable progression to higher levels of study, training or employment.

More information on the wider programmes is available at Youth Guarantee.


The Youth Guarantee Fund provides fees-free tertiary education for learners aged 16–24 years who have no or low prior qualification achievement. Learners may study towards:

  • NCEA Level 1 and 2 aligned to the Vocational Pathways
  • another qualification at Level 1 or 2 on the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF) that is intended to enable learners to progress to higher-level education or employment, or
  • a qualification at Level 3 on the NZQCF, particularly if the learner:
    • has no or low (Level 1) prior achievement before enrolling in Youth Guarantee, or
    • has achieved Level 1 or 2 qualification(s) through Youth Guarantee and is progressing to a Level 3 Youth Guarantee qualification during their two equivalent full-time student (EFTS) Youth Guarantee entitlement.

Key changes from January 2023

From 1 January 2023 the following changes will be applied to the Youth Guarantee fund:

  • lowering the credit value from 100 to 80 credits per equivalent full-time student (EFTS) at Levels 1 and 2 to better reflect learning profiles and ensure better alignment with expectations in schools (there is no change to the EFTS credit value for Level 3 learners)
  • increased learner YG lifetime entitlement to 2.5 EFTS
  • extending the YG upper age limit to include learners up to 24 years of age (at the time they commence the YG programme)
  • enabling part-time enrolment to support flexible arrangements and learner needs
  • increasing the transport assistance subsidy from $860 to $1,000 per EFTS to better enable providers to support their learners’ transport needs
  • increasing the pastoral care subsidy from $537 to $2,000 per EFTS to ensure adequacy of funding
  • renaming the pastoral care subsidy as “wellbeing and pathways support subsidy” to signal a broader purpose of this funding
  • making the wellbeing and pathways support subsidy non-recoverable to ensure funding security for
  • a condition of the wellbeing and pathways support subsidy is that tertiary education organisations (TEOs) are expected to work with learners and their whānau to develop a pathway plan to map “where to from here”. The plan would support each learner’s needs to move to further study and/or employment. The level of detail would depend on:
    • each learner’s individual needs
    • their end goals
    • support they need throughout their study to meet those goals
    • any support the learner requires post-study to take the next steps towards further study and/or employment.

Youth Guarantee interaction with Fees Free

Youth Guarantee interaction with Fees Free

Courses funded under Youth Guarantee that started on or after 1 July 2020 do not use a learner's entitlement to Fees Free, and do not impact a learner's future eligibility for Fees Free.

For information on the interaction of Fees Free and Youth Guarantee before 1 July 2020, see Interactons with other Funds – MPTT and YG interaction with Fees Free