Study for free

Study for Free in 2019

You can now study for free at Ara in 2019.

In 2019, you can study at Ara for free in your first year if you have not studied before. You can find out more information on and see if you are eligible by inputting your National Student number.

If you don’t have or remember your NSN you can find it on this site also.

To find out more about National Student Numbers visit

Explore your study options today using our A-Z study directory or apply for a programme using our online application form.

Should I apply now or wait?

It’s never been a better time to apply for study at Ara in 2019 and we encourage you to apply now. We’ll take care of the finer details for you once the new policy guidelines are provided to us and let you know.

Who can study for free in 2019?

The government has announced that anyone who is a New Zealand citizen or resident of New Zealand or Australia and has lived here for at least three years can now study in their first year of tertiary study for free. There are no age restrictions and you can complete your studies either full time or part time over a number of years.

If you need help to determine if you are eligible, refer to the below guides.Student guide for study for free Industry training guide for study for free

For full eligibility requirements, visit

If you need to make a statutory declaration as part of confirming your eligibility you can find details of local JP’s at

What does this mean if you are a school leaver, someone who has never studied or someone who has done some study?

School leaver
All school leavers are eligible for 12 months’ fees-free study. STAR and Experience Ara programmes (which you may have done while still at school) don’t affect your eligibility, even if you earned credits for them.

Over 18 with no tertiary study experience
Regardless of your age, if you’ve never done any tertiary study before, you’re eligible for 12 months’ fees-free study. This is a great way to build on your existing skills, to get a formal qualification in your current field, or to gain new skills for a change of career. If you choose to study part time, you can spread your fees-free allocation over a longer period (up to two years). We have full time, part time and online options at Ara, allowing you to study even if you’re working full time.

Over 18 with some previous tertiary study experience
If you’ve done six months or less tertiary study at any time in the past, you’re eligible for 12 months’ fees-free study. You may also be eligible for fees-free study if your training was acquired on the job and didn’t result in a formal qualification.