Exemption from student fee protection arrangements

Following consultation, the NZQA Board and the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment have approved the Student Funds Trust Deposit Exemption Rules 2016, which take effect on 13 February 2016.

The new rules exempt courses (ie. programmes and training schemes) where the total student fee is $500 or less (including GST) from the requirement to deposit student fees with an independent trustee. These rules supersede and revoke any historical exemptions under the Student Fee Protection Policy (2005).

A transition period from 13 February 2016 to 30 June 2016 will give Private Training Establishments (PTEs) time to check their current Student Fee Protection (SFP) arrangements, and make any necessary changes:

  • By 31 March 2016, all PTEs should check their arrangements, notify NZQA of their status, and (if necessary) apply for NZQA approval of new SFP arrangements.
  • By 30 June 2016, all PTEs must have appropriate SFP arrangements in place, and all fees must be appropriately protected.

Step 1 – Check and notify NZQA

All PTEs, regardless of their current arrangements or exemption status, should take this step.

Check your PTE’s current SFP arrangements to confirm that appropriate arrangements are in place for any courses that are not exempt.

Notify NZQA of your PTE’s status by completing the SFP Exemption Notification form (DOCX, 95KB) and returning it by email or post by 31 March 2016. The form must be signed by the Chief Executive or chair of the governing body of your PTE.

Step 2 – Establish a new SFP arrangement (if applicable)

If your PTE provides courses which were previously exempt, but which are no longer exempt under the new rules, you will need to put in place an appropriate SFP mechanism to protect fees relating to those courses. If you already have an approved SFP arrangement set up (i.e. for other courses that you provide), you may use that if you wish.

Information about your options is available on the Student fee protection page.

When you have decided which mechanism you want to use, and discussed this with your chosen trustee, please complete the Approval for SFP Mechanism form (DOCX, 95KB) and submit to NZQA by 31 March 2016.

NZQA will advise you whether your application has been approved within four weeks of receiving it.

Step 3 – Make sure all student fees are protected by your SFP arrangement

Ensure that your SFP mechanism is ready to be functional no later than 30 June 2016. All fees received from 1 July 2016 onwards must be protected by your chosen SFP mechanism.

If you did not previously have an SFP mechanism in place, you will need to make sure you are familiar with the Student Fee Protection Rules 2013. These set out a number of requirements, such as arranging for an annual audit of your SFP mechanism.

Ongoing requirements for Student Fee Protection compliance

All PTEs (through the existing Annual Return Statutory Declaration) will be required to attest to their ongoing compliance with the requirement to deposit non-exempt fees with an independent trustee. In addition, the scope of the annual SFP audit will be expanded to include review of PTEs’ use of the exemptions criteria. The relevant templates will be amended accordingly.

For further information see Background to the Student Funds Trust Deposit Exemption Rules.

If you would like to discuss the requirements, please email qadrisk@nzqa.govt.nz or phone 0800 697 296.

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