Young Kiwis given access to help loans

01 December 2016

A year ago on 1st December 2015 the Royal Assent was granted on legislation to give young New Zealanders access to student loans in 2016.

The legislation was passed by the Federal Government on 24th November 2015 and enables some young Kiwis to access student loans from 1 January 2016.

Oz Kiwi notes that while some people now have access to student loans, it is limited.

To access HELP loans New Zealanders must have:

  • first entered Australia as a dependent child aged under 18 years of age;
  • been ordinarily resident in Australia for the previous 10 years (that is, you have been physically present in Australia for at least eight out of the past 10 years) and 18 months out of the last two years at the time of application for the loan; and
  • are otherwise eligible for the loan.

The government estimates that up to 2,500 students were eligible in the first year. Oz Kiwi recognises this is not ideal, but it is the first positive reform since the February 2001 changes.

A lot of work had been done on the proposal between 2013 and 2015 to give New Zealanders access to HELP loans. Below is timeline of events:

  • An amendment was first proposed by Labor MP Craig Emerson, then Minister for Tertiary Education, in June 2013 but the LNP refused to support it.
  • Several times it appeared that it would happen, with an official announcement made in June 2013 for access to start in January 2014.
  • Labor lost the 2013 election and the amendment became part of the Coalition Government’s Higher Education and Research Reform Bill 2014 that was twice rejected by the Parliament from late 2014 through to mid-2015.
  • The amendment stalled until Senator Kim Carr (VIC), Shadow Minister for Tertiary Education, took it to the House in November and it finally passed into legislation on 30 November 2015.

New Zealanders who meet the (above) criteria could now access the HELP scheme from 1 January 2016.

[View details about accessing HELP loans].


HELP for New Zealanders who grow up here – Craig Emerson (June 2013)

It is now decision time for the PM – Jim Chalmers (Nov 2013)

Access to Student Loans – Joint Statement by Abbott & Key (Feb 2014)

Better access to student loans for New Zealand citizens in Australia – Senator Birmingham (Nov 2016)

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