Managing Your Student Loan and Other Finances - Information for International Students Studying in NZ

Thursday, December 6, 2018

This list provides you with information on managing your student loan and other student benefits that you receive while studying in New Zealand.

1. Bank Account
Opening an international student account at one of New Zealand’s banks is imperative. Especially if you want to have an account with no monthly account transaction fees and get an ATM card or debit card for free. Some banks will also allow you to keep your money in the currency you are used to. Customising your account (and checking all available options) is important to ensure you utilise the best deals and open the account best suited to you.

2. Loans & Allowances
To get help from Studylink you need to be a NZ citizen, be a refugee or protected person, have been living in NZ for at least 3 years while holding a residence class visa or be sponsored into NZ by someone in your family. Studylink can help with student loans and supplement you with a student allowance for your living costs. A student loan (i.e. money for living costs/course-related costs) is paid back in set increments. A student allowance is a weekly payment that you don’t need to pay back. Take the eligibility test to see if you qualify for a loan or allowance.

3. Other Income
International students can work up to 20 hours per week part-time if they; are studying a full-time English language improvement course, are studying to get their NZ residence/points under the NZ residence policy and/or have enrolled in a full-time course, which must last two or more academic years. In the University summer break, students will often choose to work for up to 40 hours. These are likely to be hospitality or retail jobs, such as; waiter/waitress, bartender, seasonal worker, shop assistant and call centre work (if you have good English skills). Students will work in these jobs to supplement their studies and pay for tuition in the upcoming semester. A good place to find a job is student job search (SJS). If you are a master’s student undertaking research, or a PHD student completing a thesis in postgraduate study, you are entitled to work 40 hours a week all year round. Students can also choose to become a tutor and spend time helping other students, either through their University system or as a private tutor who helps with courses they have already completed. Remember that you will need to pay tax, so you will need to register with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) before you can start your first NZ job.

4. Budgeting Tips
It is important to ensure that you are budgeting correctly and tracking your weekly/monthly income compared to your weekly/monthly expenses. Always make sure that you pay the bills (i.e. rent, power and internet) when they are due. Another hint is to make use of a savings account, put away a third of your earnings there, have money for food, bills and other key expenses in your main account and then withdraw any extra money for drinks, going out or movies as cash. If you are flatting, make sure to open a shared flat account to share bills costs and rent with your flatmates. Another way to save money is by getting a community services card. This is useful because it will help you save on health care. If you're 16-17, you may be able to get a card if you're studying full-time at a university or polytechnic, if you normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here or have applied for refugee/protection status.

Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand.
As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.