COVID-19 update for Tertiary students - 6 April

Regardless of what is going on at the moment e.g. course timings changing or moving courses on-line, for the duration of the lockdown, you will continue to get access to all the student support available, so stay enrolled.

Over the past two weeks, we have been gathering your key questions and providing answers through regular bulletins. This bulletin provides answers to;

  • Why stay enrolled?
  • What if my tertiary provider cannot continue to deliver my programme?
  • What are the processes providers must follow to make major changes to their course structure?
  • What to do if I am feeling low or anxious?

If your question is not answered in this bulletin, we will try to provide an answer in the coming days.

Why stay enrolled?

As tertiary education providers work to adapt their course delivery to New Zealand’s COVID-19 response, some students may consider withdrawing from study due to uncertainty around how their courses will continue, significant changes to their programme or other circumstances of hardship.

We encourage students to remain enrolled with their tertiary provider because:

  • You will continue to receive student allowance or living costs, even if your provider is currently unable to deliver your course during Alert Level Four.
  • You can continue to access student support services offered remotely such as remote counselling services and financial hardship assistance.
  • Staying enrolled is the best way for you to stay on track with your studies and complete your programme or qualification. Withdrawing from enrolment will likely extend the amount of time it takes to complete your studies, meaning you may need to take on more student loan debt if you’re borrowing for fees or living costs.
  • Withdrawing from study now may also affect your eligibility for student allowance or living costs in the future.
  • If you withdraw from study, you may not eligible for potential future support.

What if my tertiary provider cannot continue to deliver my programme? 

  • Some tertiary study may not be suitable for remote delivery via online learning, particularly courses with lots of practical components. Tertiary providers are working hard to adapt their programmes where they can.
  • We ask that students work with their providers to understand how their programmes may need to change over the coming weeks and how start and end dates of programmes may be affected.
  • If your tertiary provider has to discontinue a particular course in your programme or defer your programme, talk with your provider about alternative courses you could do which could credit towards your qualification. If your provider offers the option for you to study part-time you can keep accessing student support.

What is the process education providers must follow to make major changes to their course structure for 2020?

  • Government has asked all tertiary education providers to review their programmes so that students can progress their studies during this lockdown period and in the following months. In many cases this will mean shifting to digital delivery, or the timing of programmes, for instance.
  • The unprecedented situation caused by Covid-19 means everyone is trying to make good decisions quickly.  Stay in touch with your provider – it’s likely they’ll publish more information about the reasons and impact of decisions on your study.
  • How can we know that providers are following processes and ensuring the student voice is heard, when they are making course changes?
    • Talk to your provider about particular issues any changes presented to you.
    • Talk to your student association about how they can help with questions you have.

What to do if I am feeling low or anxious?

If you’re feeling low or anxious about yourself or others in your bubble, have a look at The Lowdown website. The website has information to help young New Zealanders recognise and understand depression or anxiety, including:

Helpful information on anxiety and depression.

  • Guidance on other issues relevant to young people, such as bullying and family relationships.
  • Quick steps to help build healthy mental wellbeing.
  • Places to go to get help.
  • Information for anyone worried about a friend.
  • A moderated forum for young people to share stories and experiences and provide peer-to-peer support.
  • A free text service (text 5626).

Things change quickly so stay up to date by following the links below:

For answers to questions about Student Allowance and Living Cost payments refer to StudyLink’s website.

For health advice, refer to the Ministry of Health’s website

COVID-19 – Ministry of Health

For official Government information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), including health advice and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website.

For more advice for students, visit the Ministry of Education website:

COVID-19 - Ministry of Education

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