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Financial assistance for New Zealand apprentices

Discover information on “Fees Free” for tertiary education and other loan options.

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Do you want to undertake a New Zealand apprenticeship, but need additional financial support? In New Zealand, you have several options available.

The “Fees Free” scheme can give you up to 24 months of training. An additional option is taking out a personal loan. We walk you through your options in this guide.

What are your options?

Fees Free

This government initiative was introduced on 1 January 2018 and provides a free period of tertiary education for first-time students. Students undertaking industry-based training/apprentices can get help with education costs of up to $12,000 for two years.

For apprentices, this includes “Fees paid to Industry Training Organisations or directly to training and assessment providers. The policy will not cover other fees and charges paid by eligible trainees and their employers, including professional registration and occupational licensing fees, or charges for other services such as those provided by group training schemes.” (Tertiary Education Commission, 2018).

You need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for Fees Free:

  • Be employed in New Zealand.
  • Enrolled in an eligible industry training programme, at level 3 or above, on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). The programme must comprise of at least 120 credits.
  • You cannot be still enrolled at school when the course is due to start.
  • Not undertaken more than 60 credits or half a year of full-time tertiary education, but this does not include tertiary training completed while at school.

Please head to the Tertiary Education Commission’s Fees Free website for the full terms and conditions.

Studylink

You may find that in addition to course fees, you need help with living costs.

You can apply for a Student Allowance through StudyLink, which is paid weekly to help with living costs. You may also be eligible for an accommodation allowance to help with your rent. These allowances do not have to be repaid but you’ll need to meet the criteria.

If you are not eligible for the Student Allowance, a Student Loan can help with living expenses. You will have to pay back this loan once your income reaches a certain level.

You can check out the StudyLink website to see if you qualify.

Personal loans

If you’re looking to purchase a vehicle or need something else during your apprenticeship, you may be considering a personal loan from a bank or lender. Some lenders will consider apprentices for loans and you may even be able to take advantage of interest rate discounts.

What income do I need to receive to be eligible for a personal loan?

Banks and lenders usually have set minimum income criteria for you to be eligible for a personal loan. Take a look at the loan options below to see if you meet the income requirements:

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Min. Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Loan Term Monthly Service Fee Establishment Fee
The Lending People Personal Loan
6.99% - 26.99%
$2,000
$75,000
1 to 7 years
N/A
Varies with lender
Secured and unsecured loans of up to $75,000 from a variety of reputable lenders. Eligibility: Be 18+, an NZ citizen, resident, or have a valid NZ work visa, and must earn at least $500 per week.
Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan
6.99% - 24.69%
$2,000
$50,000
36 to 60 months
N/A
$200-$450 depending on loan size
Apply for an unsecured personal loan up to $50,000 with no early repayment fees. Eligibility: Be a NZ resident/citizen and have a good credit score.
Pioneer Finance Secured Personal Loan
11.95% - 27.95%
$1,000
$100,000
Up to 7 years
$12
$270 - $780 depending on size and security
Secured personal loans from $1,000 - $100,000. Eligibility: Be 18+ (may need a guarantor); be a NZ citizen, resident or have a relevant work visa; have a regular source of income
Nectar Unsecured Personal Loan
8.95% - 29.95%
$1,000
$20,000
6 months to 4 years
N/A
$240
Unsecured loans from $1,000 with payouts made within one day of approval. Applications entirely online. Eligibility: Must be 18+, an NZ citizen or permanent resident, and have an income of $400 per week or more (after tax).
Lending Crowd Secured Personal Loan
6.49%-16.78%
$2,000
$200,000
3 or 5 years
N/A
$250-$1,450 depending on the amount borrowed
A secured personal loan from $2,000 to $200,000 with repayment instalment options. Eligibility: Be an 18+ NZ permanent resident, have a good credit history and collateral/security.
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Name Product Max Loan Amount Loan Term Turnaround Time Loan Interest Establishment Fee Account Administration Fee
Save My Bacon Mini Loan
$750
1-8 weeks
Same day
49.95% p.a
$95
$10
Short term loans up to $750 with no hidden fees. Eligibility: Be 18 or over, have an income of at least $400 per week and be a NZ citizen, permanent resident or have a valid work visa.
Teensy Cash Loan
$1,400
6-12 months
Same day
39.95% p.a.
$95
$15
Eligibility: Must be at least 22; in full time employment or receive a full-time benefit; have a minimum income of $500 per week after tax; be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
Moola Payday Loan
$2,000
Up to 184 days
Same day
292% p.a.
$0
N/A
Borrow up to $2,000 and enjoy a flexible repayment plan. Eligibility: Be 18 or over, have an ongoing source of income, working visa applicants accepted (conditions apply).
Teensy Payday Loan
$900
6-16 weeks
Same day
292% p.a.
$0
N/A
Eligibility: Must be at least 22; in full time employment or receive a full-time benefit; have a minimum income of $500 per week after tax; be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
Save My Bacon Flex Loan
$5,000
8-52 weeks
Same day
49.95% p.a
$95
$10
Medium term loans from $1,000 to $5,000 with no hidden fees. Eligibility: Be 18 or over, have an income of at least $400 per week and be a NZ citizen, permanent resident or have a valid work visa.
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How to compare personal loans

  • Interest rates. Interest rates vary from lender to lender and are often stated as a range. The rate you receive is based on your creditworthiness. Some banks offer special rates for tertiary students and graduates.
  • Loan amount and term. How much the bank will lend you is down to certain facts, such as your ability to repay. Loan terms are normally between six months and seven years.
  • Fees. Some loans may not attract fees, but some charge establishment, disbursement, settlement or early exit fees.
  • Features. Find out if the loan allows you to make extra repayments without attracting a penalty, as this allows you to pay off the loan quicker. Also, check out whether you can redraw on this money for future use.
  • Loan use. You can usually use the loan funds for a variety of uses, such as buying tools, a vehicle or living costs.
  • Repayment. With the Student Loan provided by StudyLink, you do not have to make repayments until your income reaches a certain level. With other personal loans, you can usually choose the frequency of repayments, ie weekly, fortnightly or monthly, whatever fits in best with your financial situation.

Things to be aware of when comparing loans

  • Comparing finance options. Make sure you don’t make any sudden decisions because if you do not complete the apprenticeship, you will still have to repay a loan.
  • Added interest. Make sure you compare the interest rates on the loans available. While the original loan amount may seem manageable, the interest can add up. If you cannot comfortably afford the repayments, do not be tempted to take out a loan.
  • Refusal. If you are choosing to undertake an apprenticeship, because you think a loan will help you afford it, you need to check if you are indeed eligible.

Ready to apply?

If you find a suitable loan on this page, click on ”Go to Site”, where you will then be guided through the application process. Remember, different lenders will have their own criteria, but to complete an application for a loan you will usually have to submit the following:

  • Contact details, ie full name and contact address
  • Photo Identification, eg driver’s licence, 18+ Card
  • Proof of income, for example, three-months of wage slips
  • Employer’s name and contact details

While some New Zealand banks may not offer loans tailored to apprentices, some, eg Kiwibank, BNZ and ASB do offer bank accounts specifically for students. Check out these options to see if they can better help you manage your money while studying.

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