NZNC, a former PTE, pleads guilty to six charges

24 Nov 2020

Universal Education Group Limited, trading as New Zealand National College (NZNC), has pleaded guilty to six charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, under sections 220 and 223 of the Crimes Act 1961The charges were filed on 5 August 2019 by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) following an investigation into abnormalities identified in student refunds. 

NZNC was a registered private training establishment (PTE) until NZQA cancelled its registration in December 2017, due to concerns about programme delivery and assessment quality. 

Following the deregistration process, NZQA identified serious and significant breaches of its Student Fee Protection Rules, which require PTEs to protect student fees with an approved trusteeNZNC was found to have misappropriated student fees, which led to a deficit in the money available for pro-rata refunds to students affected by the deregistration. 

NZQA identified instances where NZNC intentionally failed to deposit some fees to trust after they were received from studentswhile other students’ fees were used to conceal missing balances in trust.  

NZNC pleaded guilty on 20 November 2020 during a hearing at Auckland District Court. Sentencing is due to take place on 14 January 2021. 

Chief Executive, Dr Grant Klinkum said breaches of the Student Fee Protection Rules were a serious matter. 

“Where providers have breached the rules and are not meeting the standards we expect of them, NZQA will take action to uphold the law and ensure the integrity of New Zealand’s tertiary education system. That is exactly what we have done in this case and these convictions are a pleasing outcome.” 

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