Student Loan Scheme Annual Report 2016

Publication Details

The purpose of this annual report is to inform Parliament and the New Zealand public about the performance of the Student Loan Scheme in 2015/16. It also includes the audited financial schedules of the scheme for the year ending 30 June 2016.

Author(s): Ministry of Education.

Date Published: December 2016

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The purpose of this annual report is to inform Parliament and the New Zealand public about the performance of the Student Loan Scheme in 2015/16. It also includes the audited financial schedules of the scheme for the year ending 30 June 2016.

The report describes how the loan scheme operates in the context of the New Zealand tertiary education system and the goals of the Tertiary Education Strategy. It explains the contribution made by the scheme in enabling greater access to and participation in tertiary education as well as developments to the loan scheme and student support policy over time.

It also looks at the outcomes of the scheme and provides detailed information about borrowers and their lending and repayment patterns. Finally, the report gives a detailed financial analysis of costs and the valuation of the loan scheme.


Data from agencies

This report uses data from four principal sources.

The information on active borrowers and borrowers in study is largely drawn from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). Inland Revenue has supplied data on the repayments, loan balances and borrower segments. Tertiary education data and information on borrowing in the years before 2000 were supplied by the Ministry of Education.

The source data for the graphs and tables in this report, as well as additional Ministry of Education research cited, can be found on the Education Counts website,

Other data has come from Statistics New Zealand's Integrated Data Infrastructure (see below). Data from these sources is complemented by information drawn from the Census, the Household Labour Force Survey and other published data sources. Each table and graph states the source of its data.

Where data in the tables and graphs is provisional and subject to minor change at a later stage, this has been noted.

Different timeframes apply to the data series depending on the nature of the activity. Application and borrowing data is for the calendar year (January to December) in keeping with the academic year. Financial data is based on the government's financial year (July to June).

Each agency endeavours to provide accurate and relevant information, and methods of gathering and reporting data are continually being enhanced.

When new data is collated, it not only provides information for the most recent year, but is also linked back across historical figures to take advantage of improvements in data quality. Revised data is used in this report, so readers might notice small changes in historical data reported in the current year compared with previous reports.

The Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI)

The IDI is managed by Statistics New Zealand according to the requirements of the Statistics Act 1975. It includes data on student loans and allowances, along with a range of other information. This material has been made available according to strict privacy and confidentiality protocols developed with guidance from the Privacy Commissioner.

The IDI includes the following data on student loans and allowances:

  • information collected by tertiary education providers on students, enrolments and courses
  • information collected by the Ministry of Social Development on students' borrowings under the loan scheme and their student allowance payments
  • data on student loan balances, repayments, income and tax status from Inland Revenue.

The dataset has been updated with records to 31 March 2015.

Terms used in this report

Nominal dollars

In this report, unless otherwise stated, all financial data is expressed in nominal dollars without adjustment for inflation.


Statistics on ethnicity and ethnic groups are obtained from student declarations on enrolment and loan application forms. It should be borne in mind when using these statistics that declaration of ethnicity is not mandatory and, where information is provided, students may choose to select more than one ethnicity.

Student support

This refers to the Student Loan Scheme and the Student Allowances Scheme, which act together to provide financial assistance directly to students while studying. The two schemes are closely linked:

  • The Student Allowances Scheme provides eligible full-time students with a weekly payment to help with their living expenses. The allowance paid is based on the financial and personal circumstances of the student and their family, making sure that those from a low-income background are supported while studying. The assistance helps people in the initial years of their study and does not have to be repaid.
  • The Student Loan Scheme provides funding for tuition fees as well as a contribution towards course-related costs and living costs for full-time students. The amount for living costs is calculated less any amount paid as an allowance. All amounts borrowed under the loan scheme have to be repaid. Section 3.1 gives details of the amounts paid as allowances and the living costs borrowed.

The Student Loan Scheme is currently available to New Zealanders who are enrolled in approved courses of study provided they meet eligibility criteria and performance conditions. For the eligibility criteria see Appendix 1.


Many of the terms used within the Student Loan Scheme and in this report are specific to the scheme. Refer to the Glossary (Appendix 3) for specialised terms and their definitions to help with the accurate interpretation of this report.