What to expect when you’re studying

Tertiary study can be challenging – especially when you’re living in an unfamiliar place or are new to New Zealand.

As a student, you can expect to receive a high standard of education, and to feel safe and well cared for while you study.

Each code sets out how education providers are required to support the health, safety and wellbeing of students.

For domestic students, providers will be guided by four principles for implementing the interim Code (“engaged”, “proactive”, “flexible” and “transparent”). A principles-based approach acknowledges the diversity of students, providers and their communities, and that there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

What you can expect

As a tertiary student, your provider should help you to be:

  • safe, physically and mentally
  • respected and accepted for who you are
  • supported in your learning and wellbeing 
  • connected with your social and cultural networks 
  • able to have your say in decisions about services.

In addition, international students can expect that:

  • the marketing and promotion information you receive before you enrol is clear, complete and accurate, so you can make a well-informed decision about whether an education provider is the right choice for you
  • you will receive enough information and support to help you with your enrolment, including understanding the legal obligations you have, and that you will receive all the proper documentation
  • education providers’ agents give you reliable information and act with integrity and professionalism.

Have your say about an ongoing Code for domestic students

The Ministry of Education is seeking feedback from students, parents, whānau and others about what should be covered in an ongoing Code for domestic students to be in place from 2022 and beyond. To have your say, see the Kōrero Mātaruanga Education Conversation page.

More information for international students

The Code for international students is available in:


Your education provider is your first point of contact for any complaint you have. For students travelling from other countries, this includes any complaint about the agents your provider uses.

Each provider must have a complaints process in place for you to go through, and they must tell you what that process is. Follow that process to see if your complaint can be resolved by your provider.

If your education provider has not resolved your complaint, you can contact the following organisations:

Domestic tertiary students

  • Please contact NZQA, and we will direct you to the appropriate channel.

International students

If you are in doubt about who to contact, you can contact NZQA. NZQA is a government organisation, who can provide an independent assessment of your complaint and will either investigate your concerns or explain what you can do next.

You can contact NZQA through this form, or send an email to code.enquiries@nzqa.govt.nz

If you need more information on the complaints process, contact NZQA on 0800 697 296.

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