Micro-credentials funding and fees

Micro-credentials funding and fees

Last updated 12 December 2022
Last updated 12 December 2022

This page provides information and guidance for tertiary education organisations (TEOs) seeking funding approval for micro-credentials they have developed.

Funding for micro-credentials

We want to invest in micro-credentials that meet the needs of industries and communities, and support government priorities delivered by highly capable TEOs. To be funded, micro-credentials need to have a clearly established industry or community need, be tightly focused on a set of skills and have stand-alone value.

Not all quality-assured micro-credentials can be funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) as we have to prioritise how we distribute funding. Our investment in micro-credentials will complement rather than replace existing privately funded training. Alongside the micro-credentials we fund, we expect employers, industries, and learners will cover the full cost of others themselves. 

We are open to funding micro-credentials at any level of the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF), but we want to ensure that learners are supported to make good choices, including enrolling in full qualifications where appropriate.

Eligible organisations

All TEOs eligible for Delivery on the NZQCF funding at any level (DQ1-2, DQ3-7 (non-degree), and DQ7+) in 2023 can apply for funding to deliver micro-credentials.

If your organisation is not currently approved to receive any funding from us via an Investment Plan, you will first need to apply for funding as a new provider. For more information about this process, see Application to receive TEC funding.

Talk to us early

If you are a TEO creating a new micro-credential, we encourage you to discuss your ideas with us in the early stages of your micro-credential’s development, before submitting it to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), if you hope to receive TEC funding for its delivery. We will advise you if it is something we could potentially fund before you invest resources into developing it.

How to apply

The current TEC criteria and guidelines for the approval of TEO-developed micro-credentials came into effect on 1 November 2022. All applications must meet the approval criteria and use the form below: 

How to submit your application

Please read the criteria and guidelines carefully and submit your completed application using Workspace 2. Notify us by emailing micro-credentials@tec.govt.nz.  

You can apply at any time. We expect to advise outcomes within four weeks. It may take longer than this in some circumstances or if we require additional information.

WDC-developed micro-credentials

The criteria and guidelines outlined on this page do not apply to Workforce Development Council (WDC)-developed micro-credentials as those are not subject to specific TEC approval. Where a TEO wishes to gain accreditation to deliver a micro-credential developed by a WDC, the TEO needs to apply to NZQA. If granted accreditation by NZQA, the TEO can then follow the standard TEC process for new qualifications by entering the micro-credential in Services for Tertiary Organisations (STEO).

If you have any questions about this, please call us on 0800 601 301 or email customerservice@tec.govt.nz.

Fee limit on micro-credentials

From 1 January 2021, the maximum that you can charge for micro-credential fees is $60 (GST inclusive) per credit, if they are approved for TEC funding. This includes both new and existing micro-credentials.

You may seek an exception to this by applying through our micro-credential fee limit exception process.

You would need to provide evidence that the micro-credential has:

  • Higher actual and reasonable costs: you would need to demonstrate that the fee cap makes it financially unsustainable to offer the micro-credential, in terms of the costs of delivering the micro-credential, and that there are no satisfactory alternatives to limit costs. This will take into account the total income that the micro-credential would receive from both government funding and fees.
  • Strong industry need: you must provide evidence that there is strong support from industry and/or employers to deliver the micro-credential and that this clearly meets industry and/or employer needs.

How to apply for an exception to the fee limit

Information about how to apply is set out in the application request form. Please read the instructions carefully.

Application Form – Exception to the Fee Limit on Micro-Credentials 

If you are seeking funding for your micro-credential, and seeking an exception to the fee limit, you will need to submit both an exception to the fee limit application and a TEO micro-credentials application form.

If you already receive funding for your micro-credential and are only seeking an exception to the fee limit, you will only need to submit an exception to the fee limit application.

Please submit your completed application to micro-credentials@tec.govt.nz.

Re-prioritising funding from existing allocation

If we approve a micro-credential for funding, we expect that in most cases TEOs will re-prioritise funding from within their existing allocation. To do this, you will need to make an in-year Plan Amendment via a MoP change in Workspace 2.

You can increase the number of learners you enrol in the micro-credential over time (and make any necessary changes to the MoP) but you would need to ensure that the micro-credential continues to meet the priorities set out in the Tertiary Education Strategy, Plan Guidance and Supplementary Plan Guidance in force at the time of the proposed increase.

Plan Guidance and Toolkit
Tertiary Education Strategy

If we approve your micro-credential for funding and you would like to seek additional funding for it, you can submit an additional funding request either at the time of your micro-credential application, or after it is approved. You will need to follow the standard process for additional funding. You can do that as part of the annual investment round or as an in-year additional funding request.

We may consider investing additional funding to support micro-credentials if there is an exceptionally compelling case for strong employer or community demand and a clear contribution to government priorities.

In considering further funding, we will look at the performance of existing provision by the TEO, including whether their existing allocation can be reprioritised from lower performing provision to the micro-credential.