July 2018
- 12 Jul 2018

Refunds for domestic students on courses under three months

An important legislative change to domestic student withdrawal and refunds came into effect from 2 June 2018. This change relates to withdrawals and refunds for domestic students on courses that are less than three months in duration.

We ask that PTEs pay close attention to the withdrawal period and refund amount in the table below, and update their refund policies accordingly to reflect this change.

NZQA-specified withdrawal periods and refund amounts for domestic students on courses of under three months

NZQA specifies the following withdrawal periods and refund amounts for domestic students on courses of under three months under section 235 (1A) of the Education Act 1989:

Course* length

Withdrawal period

Refund amount

For courses of 2 days or less


Any refund is at the PTE's discretion

For courses of more than 2 days but under 5 weeks

Up to the end of 2 calendar days of the course commencing

A minimum of 50% of the amount the student paid in respect of the course

For courses of 5 weeks or more but less than 3 months

Up to the end of 5 calendar days of the course commencing

A minimum of 75% of the amount the student paid in respect of the course

*A course means a programme or training scheme in which a student is enrolled.

Refer to the Student withdrawals and refunds web page for further information.

Ensuring that programme delivery is compliant

NZQA has been monitoring the delivery of business programmes leading to New Zealand qualifications at levels 5 and 6, and level 7 diplomas this year.

Programme monitoring is carried out against the approval and accreditation criteria. Evidence is gathered in relation to structure and delivery, regulations, assessment and moderation, resources, and review processes.

Some of the findings so far indicate that while tertiary education organisations (TEOs) may have well-documented systems and processes, there are programme delivery issues. In particular, assessment practice issues – which monitoring has a strong focus on – indicate that teaching and assessment needs to be lifted to a higher standard to meet programme learning outcomes.

There are three main areas where TEOs can ensure delivery is compliant:

  1. TEOs need to ensure that assessment materials are designed to assess the learning outcomes, and that they provide guidance to learners and assessors on the standard of work expected. If the assessments do not align with the learning outcomes, the learners are already at risk of not meeting the qualification requirements.
  2. Marking must be robust and subject to peer review. Generous marking or a lack of clarity on how marks are awarded should be mitigated and managed through internal moderation processes.
  3. Learners must have sufficient English language proficiencies to demonstrate their understanding of the topic. The standard of English language proficiency should match the vocational context of the qualification. Even though learners will develop language ability as they progress through a course, learner work should be close to or at the level required by employers.

Other findings indicate that ongoing review processes – for example, ensuring changes are approved, industry/sector engagement, self-assessment, and compliance with learning hours – will ensure the programme is maintained effectively and delivered in accordance with the approval and accreditation criteria.

NZQA encourages providers to reflect on these findings and consider if any changes are required to their programme delivery to ensure that learners will credibly achieve the programme learning outcomes. Information on programme changes can be found at: Changes to programme approvals.

For more information on the NZQA Monitoring and Assessment team and its functions see: Monitoring and Assessment.

Learning outcomes in programmes of study

Applications for programme approval and accreditation must demonstrate how the learning outcomes enable the development of knowledge, skills, understanding and application required to achieve the qualification graduate profile outcomes (e.g. using an explanatory mapping matrix).

NZQA has noted instances in programme approval and accreditation applications where applicants are incorrectly using graduate profile outcome statements from the qualification, or the titles of the unit standards being used to assess, as learning outcomes in the components of the programme.

Graduate profile outcome statements describe what a learner will be able to ‘do, be, and know’ as a result of completing the learning journey. Unit standard titles describe the outcome that someone, who is credited with the unit standard, has demonstrated they can do and/or know, but neither are necessarily suitable as learning outcomes.

Programmes that use unit standards as an assessment tool must still include learning outcomes that demonstrate the development of knowledge, skills, understanding and application and which lead to the attainment of the graduate profile outcomes of the qualification in question.

Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) – update for July 2018

Introducing the Code team’s newest member

Francesca Black joined our team in June as a senior advisor (Code). She has been seconded from NZQA’s International Policy and Liaison team where she was a senior policy analyst.

Francesca has had extensive teaching, pastoral care and leadership experience in New Zealand schools. Francesca has worked at two schools that ran successful international education programmes, where students greatly enjoyed their time in New Zealand and achieved well in NCEA. She has also worked for the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health. She is a welcome addition to the NZQA Code team. 

Upcoming changes to the Code

The Education (Tertiary Education and Other Matters) Amendment Bill was passed on 29 March 2018 and is now law.

One of the changes relates to the Code. This change has direct relevance to schools, but will result in amendments to the Code that will also apply to TEOs.

The amendment relates to schools’ management of international student misconduct outside of school. The Education Act now specifies that an international student’s enrolment is governed by the enrolment contract with the school. The parts of the Act that relate to stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions for domestic students no longer apply.

This means that schools will now be able to take disciplinary action against international students for misconduct outside of school, in line with the terms and conditions in the enrolment contract and the Code.

The Ministry of Education will be updating the Code to include the protections that were previously in the Act, to ensure that any terminations of enrolment are fair and reasonable.

The Ministry of Education and NZQA will be working together to ensure changes are aligned with the Guidelines update. The aim is to publish the revised Code and Guidelines in the second half of 2018.

Code self-review and attestation 2018

The due date for your organisation to attest you have completed your annual self-review report is 1 October 2018. Please submit your self-review attestation form by this date.

New Guidelines and tool for self-review

In June, NZQA emailed signatories a new self-review resource to guide signatory self-review of performance against the Code. The resource is available on the Annual self-review and attestation page of the NZQA website. There are two parts:

  • Guidelines for self-review of performance against the Code
  • Self-review tool (template) for signatories to the Code.

This prototype will be finalised in October 2018. Please send any feedback to the Code team by 1 October 2018 at code.enquiries@nzqa.govt.nz or call us at 0800 697 296 (ask for the Code team). 

Familiarise yourself with recently published guidance

NZQA has recently published new guidance on the following aspects of the Code. Note that this updates what is in the Guidelines:

Outcome 2: Managing and monitoring agents

Outcome 3: Provider responsibilities for international students

Outcome 3: International student insurance 

Please ensure you and your relevant staff review this guidance.

Scam warning

See this recent article: Police warn Chinese and international students of threatening scammers.

Regional engagement and Code 101 workshops

NZQA aims to visit the regions at least once a year to update you on Code matters, run workshops, and answer your questions in person.

Code 101 workshops are free. They will be offered in Auckland, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson and Southland.

The Code 101 is a full-day workshop designed for:

  • New signatories to the Code
  • New staff, or staff who would like to find out more about the basics of the Code
  • Signatories who have not enrolled an international student since before December 2015, who wish to refresh their practice and how to undertake self-review.

The workshop:

  • upskills staff who would like to know more about the nuts and bolts of the Code 
  • includes discussion topics such as: ‘why does the Code matter?’, ‘the intent of each outcome’, ‘how to undertake self-review’ and ‘NZQA’s role as Code Administrator’
  • is interactive, increases your knowledge, addresses any urban myths, and assists you in understanding what the Code really means for you and your organisation.

Dates for 2018 Code 101 workshops

Location Date Venue
Auckland 16 August Ministry of Education Office
Auckland 10 September Ministry of Education Office
Rotorua 6 August Ministry of Education Office
New Plymouth 14 August Ministry of Education Office
Palmerston North  4 September  Ministry of Education Office
Christchurch 2 August  Ministry of Education Office
Dunedin 15 August   Ministry of Education Office
Nelson  20 August  Ministry of Education Office
Southland                     TBC Ministry of Education Office

Register by emailing: code.enquiries@nzqa.govt.nz. Please advise the workshop that you wish to register for, your organisation/school name, names and roles of attendees, and their contact details.


Cut-off dates for submitting programme approval and accreditation applications for 2019

The following are the cut-off dates for submitting programme approval and accreditation applications where the intention is to begin delivery early in 2019.


Cut-off date for applications

Degree programme approval and accreditation applications

31 August 2018

Sub-degree level approval and accreditation applications

8 October 2018

These timelines exclude any time when an application is subject to a Request for Further Information.

One programme per application

When submitting applications online, only one programme per application will be accepted. Please submit a separate application for each programme the application relates to.

NZQA professional service fees

From 1 July NZQA increased the fees it charges for its quality assurance work. This includes all approvals, accreditations, registrations and EER.

A full list of current fees is available at NZQA fees.

Transition to New Zealand qualifications

New Zealand qualifications are the new qualifications arising from the Targeted Review of Qualifications and replace National and provider-developed qualification at Levels 1-6 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

The transition to the new qualifications is well underway and transition dates have been communicated to affected qualification developers. The dates are also available on our website. Just enter the qualification number into the qualification overview page and view the qualification details: Qualifications – Advanced Search.

For queries about transition dates, email NZQFQuestions@nzqa.govt.nz.

Immigration New Zealand decline rates for student visas

The 2017 decline rates for student visas are available on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Education organisations must use these decline rates when enrolling international students, to determine which Rule 18 requirements apply.

Rule 18 specifies the English language proficiency testing requirements for international students from countries with a student visa decline rate of over 20 per cent.

Keeping records

Section 6.2 of the PTE Enrolment and Academic Records Rules requires PTEs to keep all student assessments for at least 12 months from the date of completion. This means that, even if students have graduated, all of their assessment material must be retained by the PTE for at least one year.

Updating contact details

Help us talk to the right person first time – keep your organisation’s contact details on the Education Organisation profile page up-to-date.

If you have a query about approvals and accreditation, please contact your NZQA representative directly. You can find this person on your profile page.

Printing New Zealand qualification certificates

NZQA encourages TEOs to award and issue New Zealand qualifications listed at Levels 1-6 on the NZQF.

When you are designing New Zealand Certificates and Diplomas, refer to the guidance on the following web page: TEO issue of New Zealand qualification documents.

Forms and attestations due

PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2018

PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2018 need to submit the following documents to NZQA by 31 August 2018:

Quarterly student fee protection attestation due 14 September 2018

The quarterly attestation form for Student Fee Protection for the quarter ending 31 August 2018 is due to your trustee by 7 September 2018. Lodge the trustee attestation with NZQA by 14 September 2018.

Forwarding information and queries

Forward the above documents and any queries to: qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz.

Subscribe to eQuate 

You can subscribe to eQuate through the ‘sign up’ link on the eQuate section of the NZQA website.

Compliance summary for July-August 2018

Annual Statutory Declaration

To NZQA within five months of a TEO’s financial year-end

For all TEOs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2018, due 31 August 2018

Independent Assurance Practitioner’s Review

To NZQA within five months of a PTE’s financial year-end

For PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2018, due 31 August 2018

Student Fee Protection audit

To NZQA within five months of a PTE’s financial year-end

For PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2018, due 31 August 2018

Student Fee Protection quarterly attestation – quarter ending 31 August 2018

To NZQA by 14 September 2018

Not required for standard trusts – only for static trusts or bank bond trusts

Code of Practice self-review attestation

To NZQA by 1 October each year

Annual requirement

Fit and Proper Person and Conflict of Interest declarations

With new applications for registration; also, for proposed new governing members* of registered PTEs

*See Section 232 of the Education Act 1989 for the definition of governing member

Must be completed by all new governing members before commencing in the role, and at any time when an existing governing member has a new conflict of interest or change in fit and proper status

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