Source: Tertiary Education Commission
Note: information in this section is relevant to training schemes also.
To enable us to determine whether or not to approve a qualification as eligible for SAC level 3 and above funding, we require the following information when the qualification is submitted for approval through the STEO website:
the provider code (EDUMIS number) of the TEO seeking the approval
the qualification code used on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), except for training schemes (which includes short awards)
the title of the proposed qualification
the number of learning hours each week in the qualification
the number of full-time teaching weeks each year required to complete the qualification
the equivalent full-time student (EFTS) value of the qualification calculated using the following methods:
full-time weeks, and
the approval documents from the relevant quality assurance body.
We will not backdate approval for access to student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme. Therefore, we require this information from you at least four weeks before the start of tuition for the qualification. This will ensure that each student who is enrolled in an approved course or programme can access financial support if eligible.
A detailed description of the required information is set out below.
You must give us the four digit code assigned by the Ministry of Education to uniquely identify your TEO. A list of the four-digit code assigned to each TEO is set out in Appendix 1 of the SDR Manual.
Before we can approve a qualification as eligible for SAC level 3 and above funding, you must supply the qualification code. The format of the qualification code is alphanumeric, usually two letters followed by four numbers. The two letters are a standard code, for example NZ (New Zealand Certificate), ND (National Diploma), or PC (programme code – for local qualifications).
If you intend to offer a New Zealand Certificate, National Certificate or National Diploma listed on the NZQF, use the NZQF code for the qualification for all references to the qualification.
Title of qualification
You must give us the title of the qualification(s) for which you are seeking approval for funding.
This does not mean the title of the programme that NZQA approved, unless the programme title and qualification title are the same.
If the programme NZQA has approved consists of one or more qualifications listed on the NZQF plus additional credits, or NZQA has approved a training scheme, the title of the programme or training scheme used in the information for students must accurately represent it, and not imply award of a qualification, or award of a qualification listed on the NZQF, unless that is the case. See section 390 of the Education and Training Act 2020.
You must provide us with information about the duration of the programme, specifically the learning hours and full time teaching weeks.
NZQA defines ‘learning hours’ as all planned learning activities leading toward the achievement of programme or qualification learning outcomes.
Types of learning activities include but are not limited to:
lecturer and tutor contact hours, including workshops and tutorials
tests and assignments
supervised practical placements
self-directed learning activities that you expect the student to engage with/participate in, and
The Services for Tertiary Education Organisations (STEO) website provides three fields for types of learning activities. We acknowledge that three fields is a limitation in light of the various learning activities that TEOs employ with students. However, a TEO should break down its learning activities, and enter hours in the STEO fields below as accurately as possible, based on the guidance below. The three fields are:
teaching hours each week – include, for example, face-to-face classroom/on-line/field trip/simulation time, tutorials, on-site assignments, assessments and examinations
work experience hours each week – include, for example, time the student spends practising or learning skills relevant to their study programme in a workplace; this includes a teaching workplace, which may be on-site, as long as it operates as a commercial enterprise, and
self-directed study hours each week – ‘self-directed study’ means only TEO-directed study carried out by the student; include, for example, time the student spends on off-site assignments (such as homework assignments), and TEO-directed reading and study hours, that the student must complete in their own time. Note: self-directed study does not include self-directed activities that the student initiates.
Note: A TEO will need to use a rationale applied consistently, in terms of which activities constitute what programme learning hours in STEO for each of the three fields above.
In relation to the number of learning hours in the qualification, we need all of the following information. The:
number of teaching hours each week (see teaching hours each week above)
number of hours each week of work experience (see work experience above)
number of self-directed learning hours each week (see self-directed study above)
total number of learning hours each week
total number of learning hours in each year
number of years it will take to complete the qualification, and
total number of learning hours in the qualification (number of learning hours in each year multiplied by the number of years).
Total learning hours in STEO must be the same as the total programme/qualification learning hours approved by NZQA. We expect actual delivery to align with the total learning hours and the learning activities approved by NZQA. This means we expect each TEO to regularly review the delivery of its programme(s) to ensure they are ‘right sized’ for the majority of students (recognising that some students take more or fewer learning hours to achieve a qualification than others).
Note: During audits and investigations we may check whether a TEO’s delivery reflects our and NZQA’s approvals. To do this we triangulate NZQA approval documentation, STEO data, and your information for learners, and compare the information to actual delivery.
Full-time teaching week
A full-time teaching week includes the types of learning hours outlined above.
In relation to the number of teaching weeks in each year of the qualification, you must give us all of the following information. The:
number of full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching weeks
number of weeks of recess in each year
total number of full-time teaching weeks and recess weeks in each year – FTE gross
number of credits on the NZQF contained in the qualification, and
number of credits that a student must achieve each year to complete the qualification.
We generally will not approve a qualification for funding that is longer than 34 weeks in a year, although we may fund an individual student’s enrolment for more than 1.0 EFTS in a year. See Students wanting to accelerate their study (undertake additional learning) under Student-centred provision on the Enrolment page.
EFTS value of the qualification
We require the EFTS value of each qualification in order to determine whether a qualification is eligible to access SAC level 3 and above funding. See Condition: Assigning EFTS values to qualifications.
The EFTS value of each qualification must be specified to no more than four decimal places. The EFTS value determines the workload involved in each qualification and is required so that we can appropriately fund you to deliver the qualification.
This information must be determined using the following methods:
learning hours, and
Each of the three methods should produce the same result. If they do, we can be confident that a student who is studying for a qualification is undertaking a normal and reasonable workload.
Each method is set out in more detail below.
A credit measures the average amount of learning that is required to complete the qualification or part of the qualification.
The EFTS value can be calculated using the credits method by dividing the number of credits for the qualification by 120 (the standard number of credits that equate to one full-time year of study).
Example: If a qualification has 60 credits: 60 divided by 120 = 0.5 EFTS.
The EFTS value can be calculated using the learning hours method by dividing the qualification’s total learning hours by 1,200 (the standard number of learning hours that equates to a full-time year of study).
Example: If the total learning hours for one semester in a qualification is 600 hours: 600 divided by 1,200 = 0.5 EFTS.
The EFTS value can be calculated using the full-time weeks method, by dividing the length of tuition for the qualification in weeks by 34 (the standard number of weeks that equate to one full-time equivalent teaching or tuition year).
Example: If the qualification has a length of 17 weeks: 17 divided by 34 = 0.5 EFTS.
EFTS value when qualification has strands
A qualification may have a range of options or electives with variable credit combinations. These are called strands. Each strand is likely to have a different total EFTS value.
If a qualification has two or more strands, you should determine the EFTS value for each strand. We require the EFTS value of the strand that has the highest EFTS value for our calculations.
You must calculate the EFTS factor of each course in the strand in order to calculate the EFTS value of the strand. The EFTS factor of a course can be determined in the following ways.
Dividing the course credits for a qualification that has up to 120 credits by 120.
For a qualification that has more than 120 credits and we have agreed to fund more than 1 EFTS per learner per year (see Condition: Limit on EFTS values for qualifications), dividing the course credits by the credit value of the qualification.
For a qualification that has more than 120 credits, and we have not agreed to fund more than 1 EFTS per learner per year (see Condition: Limit on EFTS values for qualifications), by dividing the course credits by 120.
Calculating the EFTS value of a qualification with strands
Course EFTS factor
Course EFTS factor
In this example, if we approve the qualification for funding, it will be approved as 75 credits as this is the credit value of the longest strand. The EFTS value of the qualification is therefore 0.625 (75 credits/120 = 0.625 EFTS).
If an approved qualification in STEO has a value of 1.0 EFTS but more than 120 credits, the credit value of the longest strand is used to determine the course EFTS factor for each strand. This ensures that courses common to both strands have the same EFTS factor.
Example: In this example, the credit value of 150 is used to divide the credits, not 120:
Course EFTS factor
Course EFTS factor
EFTS value of a doctoral programme
Ideally, the EFTS value of a doctoral programme should be no more than four EFTS. This is because we will only fund up to a maximum of four EFTS for a student’s doctoral programme (reported using Source of Funding (SoF) 01).
See Condition: Use of SAC3+ Fund Funding for doctoral study.
An integrated programme of study may lead to two qualifications, such as a double degree. For an integrated programme of study, the EFTS value is based on the total credits, less any overlap between the two qualifications.
If there are a variety of approaches, you need to negotiate the EFTS value with us.
Extra courses within a qualification
If a course within a qualification is optional, it will usually be eligible for SAC level 3 and above funding. In these circumstances, a student’s enrolment may generate more than 1 EFTS in a 12 month period.
For example, a student takes an:
additional course in an academic year towards a qualification that requires more than one year of study, or
optional summer school course towards the qualification.
If an extra course becomes the norm for all students undertaking a qualification, we will consider the change to be a significant change to a qualification, which requires approval from the relevant quality assurance body, and the TEC (see below).
Quality assurance requirements
See Condition: Organisation eligibility for quality assurance requirements for TEOs to be eligible to access SAC level 3 and above funding.
In addition, to be eligible for SAC level 3 and above funding, a course must be part of a programme or training scheme that has been quality assured. For universities, the quality assurance body is the Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP). For all other TEOs that receive SAC level 3 and above funding, it is the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).
To determine whether to approve a qualification for SAC level 3 and above funding as part of your mix of provision in your Investment Plan we require evidence that the appropriate quality assurance body has approved the programme leading to the award of the qualification.
Under section 101 of the Education and Training Act 2020, the New Zealand Teachers Council is responsible for conducting, in conjunction with quality assurance agencies, approvals of teacher education programmes and qualifications that lead to teacher registration.
Defining a qualification
You must give us the following information that defines the qualification:
the qualification award category (recognised qualifications have an award category code – refer to Appendix 9 of the SDR Manual)
the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) level of the qualification (refer to Appendix 9 of the SDR Manual)
the level of the qualification on the NZQF (refer to Appendix 9 of the SDR Manual)
the outcome of completing the qualification (for example, whether the qualification is designed to lead the student directly into the labour market)
the New Zealand Standard Classification of Education (NZSCED) of the qualification (refer to Appendix 8 of the SDR Manual), and
whether distance learning is available.
If the programme is made up of more than one qualification concurrently, you will need to provide evidence of NZQA approval for the concurrent qualification programme. It is more efficient to seek NZQA programme approval for all concurrent qualification combinations that you want to deliver, or may deliver in the future, at one time, rather than make separate applications.
Discuss with the Sector Helpdesk that the programme is for concurrent qualifications when you enter each qualification in STEO.
After the qualifications have been separately approved in STEO as eligible to access TEC funding, contact the Sector Helpdesk to request that they be made concurrent in STEO.
Making a change to a programme leading to the qualification
If you make a significant change to a programme leading to award of a qualification in STEO, you must meet the requirements of Condition: Making changes to qualifications.
In addition, see NZQA’s information about making changes to a programme leading to award of a qualification.