Background to the Student Funds Trust Deposit Exemption Rules

Between 2005 and 2011, NZQA had the power under the Student Fee Protection Policy (2005) to allow exemptions for courses that cost $500 or less, were not longer than five days or 50 hours, or were free or fully government or business funded (third-party funded).

The Education Amendment Act 2011 did not include a rule-making power for exemptions, so the ability to grant new exemptions ceased on 30 August 2011. Exemptions that had been granted under the Student Fee Protection Policy (2005) continued on their merits because the 2011 amendments did not revoke them.

The Education Amendment Act 2015 allows NZQA to make rules prescribing the types of courses that are exempt from the requirement to deposit student fees with an independent trustee under section 234E(1) of the Education Act 1989.

As a result, NZQA developed the Student Funds Trust Deposit Exemption Rules 2016 (the Exemption Rules) to exempt programmes and training schemes where student fees amount to $500 or less (including GST).

NZQA consulted with the PTE sector on the proposed Exemption Rules for a six-week period from 9 September 2015 to 21 October 2015. Feedback received from the consultation was analysed and carefully considered during the process of finalising the rules. The Exemption Rules have now been finalised and approved by the NZQA Board and the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment. The Exemption Rules will come into force on 13 February 2016.

The Exemption Rules do not include an exemption for courses of less than five days or 50 hours in length. All historical exemptions granted under the Student Fee Protection Policy (2005) or under any earlier versions of that Policy (the Policy having been made under the now repealed section 253(1)(ca) of the Act) will be revoked on 30 June 2016. PTEs must make arrangements to be fully compliant by that date with the requirement to deposit non-exempt student fees with an independent trustee under section 234E(1) of the Education Act 1989.

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