Youth Guarantee Fund

Youth Guarantee Fund

Last updated 8 March 2024
Last updated 8 March 2024

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 the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2 or equivalent, and 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, or
  • 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
  • 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. For more information on what should be included in the pathway plan refer to the YG funding conditions.

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 Fees Free interactions with other funds.