How, who and what we fund

Me pēhea, ko wai, he aha ngā mahi whai pūtea

Last updated 15 February 2023
Last updated 15 February 2023

Each year, we invest over $3.3 billion in tertiary education. This page outlines how, who and what we fund.

Our investment aims to help equip New Zealanders with the knowledge and skills they need for lifelong success. Most of the funding is provided in the Government’s Budget via . We occasionally provide funding on behalf of other government agencies.

The Tertiary Education Strategy

Our funding decisions are guided by the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES). Part of our role is to make sure that our funding helps achieve the Government’s priorities for tertiary education.

As well as reflecting what we expect from tertiary education, the strategy describes how a high-performing tertiary education sector can create better opportunities for individuals and for New Zealand.

How we fund

We provide most of our funding through Investment Plans. Funding decisions are communicated through a funding confirmation letter.

We also allocate funding through off-Plan processes. This funding is often managed through a funding agreement.

Under the , the Minister of Education issues and delegations, which set out the purpose of each fund and give us authority to administer funding.

To help us achieve the desired educational outcomes, we provide TEOs with guidance on each fund. Where outcomes are not meeting our expectations, we may apply performance consequences.

Who we fund

Each fund has specific eligibility criteria that define which TEOs are eligible for that funding. These criteria are usually outlined in the funding mechanisms and delegations. We only fund eligible TEOs.

The types of TEOs we fund include:

  • Workforce Development Councils (WDCs)
  • community organisations
  • schools
  • .

Accessing funding from us

If your organisation is interested in finding out how it can access funding from us, please contact our Customer Contact Group by emailing or calling 0800 601 301.

What we fund

We want to give everyone the opportunity to achieve, so we offer a variety of funds tailored to suit different types of tertiary education and learners. This means that we focus funding on:

  • improving outcomes for learners, particularly in foundation education
  • vocational education
  • improving the participation of priority groups (such as Māori and Pacific learners) in education at higher levels of the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF).

For more detailed information about each fund, search our fund finder