Hardship Fund for Learners (HAFL)

Published date : Fri, 03 July 2020 01:33 PM
On 14 May 2020, the Minister of Education announced the creation of the Hardship Fund for Learners (HAFL).

The purpose of this fund is to provide temporary financial assistance for students who are facing hardship due to the impacts of COVID-19. The funding is distributed by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) directly to Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) — like Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi — who are then tasked with allocating financial assistance to students in hardship and most in need of support.

TEC defines hardship as any suffering, deprivation or financial challenge faced by a learner due to COVID-19 that is interfering with their ability to progress with their studies. In this regard, the HAFL can help with a range of costs including but not limited to:

  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Personal accommodation costs (e.g., rent)
  • Necessary medical costs
  • Transportation costs
  • Childcare costs

We can use the HAFL to support our students facing hardship by:

  • providing direct cash payments to learners; and/or
  • directly purchasing resources on learners’ behalf, where appropriate.



To be eligible for this funding, students need to:

  • be a domestic student;
  • have a valid enrolment in a programme being delivered in 2020; and
  • demonstrate that they are in financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



Funding support will be awarded to students on the basis of demonstrated need, as per the definition of hardship outlined by TEC above. Some factors that will be taken into consideration when assessing need could include:

  • Loss of or reduced hours in employment
  • Issues in covering rent/board/mortgage
  • Inability to pay utility bills or cover grocery expenses
  • Unforeseen costs or other added requirements for studying off campus and/or online
  • Length of study and/or time left until completion
  • Any other relevant circumstances identified by the Programme Coordinator and/or kaiako


All offers of funding support will be conditional upon receipt of a completed application form and bank account evidence.


Application and selection process

An application form must be completed by the students, accompanied by supporting bank account evidence, and forwarded to HAFL@wananga.ac.nz.

Applications will be assessed by the HAFL Committee as they are received. Students will be notified via email regarding the outcome of their application.

If you have any queries, please contact us via email at HAFL@wananga.ac.nz.


Regulations and conditions

Institutions funded from the HAFL must periodically report to the TEC on how, where and when they have used the funding. The TEC will use the information to regularly update a public list on the TEC website. We must keep records where cash payments have been made directly to students and retain original receipts and invoices where HAFL funding has been used to purchase resources on behalf of students. For more information on the reporting and monitoring requirements, click here.


FAQs for tauira considering applying for the HAFL


How do I know if I’m eligible to apply for this Hardship Fund?
All domestic students who are currently enrolled and facing hardship from COVID-19 are eligible to apply for this funding. If you’re not sure, contact us at HAFL@wananga.ac.nz to check. International students cannot access this fund.

How do I apply to the fund?
If you are eligible, complete the application form here.

What can this money be used for?
This money can be used to cover basic living costs that you are unable to meet such as food, utilities, rent or other unexpected expenses. Costs related to transitioning to online learning i.e., access to loan laptops and internet connectivity are not covered by the HAFL fund. If you are experiencing difficulties engaging in online learning due to a lack of equipment or connectivity issues, please discuss this with your kaiako in the first instance.

How much can I receive from this fund?
There is no cap on how much support tauira can receive. However, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi will be allocating funding responsibly and in a way that is consistent with the purpose of the fund. Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi is required to keep records and report the amount of funding provided to you. Our total spend and the number of students supported by the institution will be published and periodically updated on the TEC website.

It is also important to note that there is no guarantee that your application will be successful, or that you will receive the amount of funding requested. Although we are required to keep records of funding provided, and also to share this with TEC via your National Student Number, your personal and individual details will not be published publicly.


More information

For more information on the HAFL, visit: https://www.tec.govt.nz/funding/funding-and-performance/funding/fund-finder/hardship-fund-for-learners


Click to apply online

Whakapā mai

Contact us for any enquiries

Hardship Fund for Learners
Hardship Fund for Learners Committee