International Student Hardship Fund

We are aware that some international students are experiencing unusual hardship because of changes to their personal circumstances, due to the global impacts of COVID-19.

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The Government has established a $1M hardship fund for international students to address urgent, temporary needs, for example temporary inability to access cash or because of reduced part-time employment.


We welcome applications from education providers and organisations to apply for grants of up to $20,000 (GST not to be included) to enable you to provide eligible international students with direct financial relief or other support, including food parcels and support towards living costs.

Organisations can apply for grants up to $20,000.

Applications can be made from 21 May until funding has been allocated.

Which organisations are eligible to apply to ENZ for grants?

  • Education providers who are signatories to the Code of Practice
  • Community groups
  • Peak bodies, or
  • Other organisations who currently work with international students and have the mechanisms and experience to support international students with hardship requests.

Individual students and education agents may not apply to ENZ to access the fund.

What grants are available?

  • Eligible organisations may apply for grants of up to $20,000 (GST not to be included) per request to the fund.
  • Grants are one-off; however, the same organisation may make additional requests after using their initial funding (subject to the availability of funding).

What can grants be used for?

The grants may be used to:

  • scale up existing student hardship initiatives
  • support eligible students through:
    • Direct cash grants
    • The purchase of resources on behalf of international students, such as food parcels, where this is appropriate.
  • The maximum amount that can be applied for is up to $1,000 per international student your organisation is supporting.
  • Funds may not be used for:
    • Salaries or staff administration costs
    • Funding for flights home
    • Tuition fees
    • Granting individual students support of more than $1,000 in cash or kind.

 Which students are eligible for support?

  • Grants can only be used to provide support to eligible students.
  • An eligible student is:
    • A current fee-paying international student, or enrolled as a fee-paying international student as at 23 March
    • Currently in New Zealand
    • In genuine, temporary hardship[1]
    • Not eligible for other government financial support.
  • International PhD students paying domestic fees are eligible for the government’s domestic student hardship fund and should be encouraged to seek help from that scheme in the first instance.

 Table: Summary of eligible and ineligible students

           Eligible students

           Ineligible students

  • A current fee-paying international student, or enrolled as an international student as at 23 March.
  • In genuine, temporary hardship. 
  • International PhD students paying domestic fees.
  • International students who are not currently enrolled or who were not enrolled as an international student as at 23 March.
  • International students who are eligible for other government support.


How do organisations apply?

  • To apply for grant funding, organisations must complete and submit an online application form to ENZ.
  • Organisations will need to provide the following information:
    • Their strategy and approach to identifying students in need, including outreach efforts and ensuring eligibility criteria are met
    • Estimated number of international students and basic demographics (e.g. age range, sector, nationalities, region)
    • Total amount requested, what it will be used for, and how it has been calculated
    • The organisation’s resources to ensure appropriate distribution
    • Agreement to meet reporting requirements (including publication) and to repay any underspend within 12 weeks of having been granted the funds
    • Tax invoice and bank details for payment.
  • Process – apply through this link.
  • Assessment of applications will be completed within five working days. Approval will be notified by email, as will confirmation of distribution of funds.
  • If you have a question, please email

 Reporting requirements:

  • Organisations will need to report to ENZ on:
    • The number of students assisted, and basic demographics (e.g. age range, sector, nationalities, region of New Zealand)
    • The type of assistance provided
    • How much was provided.
  • To demonstrate programme outcomes, and as part of its commitment to ensuring value for money from expenditure, ENZ will publish reports from participating organisations in whole or part.

Closing date

Applications can be made from 21 May, until funding has been allocated.

Further information

Frequently asked questions are available here.

Please email

Thank you for your assistance in helping to support international students currently studying here during these unprecedented times.

[1] Organisations will have discretion to determine what constitutes significant, temporary hardship in accordance with their existing policies and practices.

What's in it for me?