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The basics
New Zealand: Student Finances

The top scholarships in New Zealand

There are several top scholarships available to aspiring international students aiming to study in New Zealand. We take a closer look.

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Studying abroad can be costly. There are many factors which influence how much you’ll have to pay. This includes everything from the destination you choose to the degree you study. While careful planning and research help, having the added support of funding or financial aid can make the difference to keeping your study abroad dreams on track. We’ve done some research and found the top scholarships for international students in New Zealand.


New Zealand International Scholarships 


Every year the New Zealand government offers scholarships to international students for both undergraduate and postgraduate study. Eligibility extends to international students from Africa, the Pacific, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and other Commonwealth countries. 


The scholarship is comprehensive and covers tuition fees, living allowance, accommodation, travel and medical insurance. To qualify for the scholarship, you’ll need to submit a strong motivation letter to the selection panel for your choice of subjects and degree. This includes outlining how you will apply the skills you learn. Evidence of academic ability and an excellent academic record is also required. 


One of the top tips for a successful application is to check the list of recommended subjects by the New Zealand Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs. Matching your ambition with scarce or in-demand skills is a good strategy. 


Explore universities in New Zealand


University of Canterbury International Undergraduate Scholarship 


The University of Canterbury is a world top 250 university (QS World University Rankings 2022) based on the South Island of New Zealand. Each year the university awards scholarships to high-achieving undergraduate international students. To qualify, students must have completed a university-level qualification and must be full-fee paying international students. 


The scholarship awards 25 scholarships a year, with a value between NZD 10,000 and NZD 20,000. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition fees. The scholarship is applicable for one year with no automatic renewal. 


Read about the top universities in New Zealand.


University of Auckland International Student Excellence Scholarship 


Based in the capital city of New Zealand, the University of Auckland ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide as per the QS World University Rankings 2022. Home to 9,000 international students from over 120 countries the institution has dedicated scholarships to support the ambitions of these students. 


The university’s International Student Excellence Scholarship covers undergraduate or postgraduate tuition fees up to NZD 10,000. Students must be fee-paying and newly registered at the university for a postgraduate diploma or master’s qualification. The scholarship does not cover master’s degrees by thesis. There are approximately 50 scholarships available per year, with application deadlines in November and April. 


If you’re looking for some inspiration, you can read our guide to the 10 most popular undergraduate degrees in New Zealand


University of Waikato International Excellence Scholarship


The University of Waikato has a 60-year history of providing higher education in New Zealand. It has three campuses, two in the city of Hamilton and one in Tauranga. The university was ranked 72nd globally for the quality of its research (QS World University Rankings 2021) and is host to 2,500 international students. 


The International Excellence Scholarship is open to all first time international undergraduate and postgraduate students. The selection criteria for the award of the scholarship are academic achievement and excellence. The minimum academic standard for success is the equivalent of a GPA B+. As part of your application, you will need to submit evidence of an unconditional offer from the university and a personal statement outlining why you want to study at the university. 


The award applies to all subjects, and both taught and research postgraduate qualifications. The scholarship is applied to tuition fees and is worth an amount of NZD 10,000. The scholarship also offers the opportunity for you to become a global ambassador for the university 


Do your research on how to get a student visa for New Zealand


New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships 


If you are an aspiring student from a Commonwealth country in Africa, Asia, the Pacific or the Caribbean region, then a Commonwealth Scholarship could be an option. The scholarship, provided by the government of New Zealand, aims to give opportunities to talented international students. Upon graduation, you are equipped to return to your home country to make a difference with new skills and knowledge. 


The scholarship is for postgraduate certificate and diploma courses, as well as master’s and PhD degrees. The award covers tuition fees, travel costs, accommodation and living costs. Additionally, work permits are granted to partners of scholarship recipients to live and work in the country for the duration of study. 


Commonwealth Scholarships are for the duration of a given qualification, with one to two years for a master’s degree and a maximum of three to four years for a doctoral degree. The amount awarded may differ depending on your degree, location and profile. 


As you can see, there are many financial aid options available for international students in New Zealand. Don’t let money concerns stop you from pursuing your ambitions. For further reading on the subject, you can refer to our guide to financial aid and our scholarships page if you’re looking for funding.