Tertiary administration

Tertiary education organisations and students can learn about the Government agencies working in the further education sector, STEO, funding, the NSI and more.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • Tertiary Education Organisations
  • Tertiary Education Peak Bodies
  • Students

Learn about the administrative structure of the tertiary education sector.

Responsible agencies

Ministry of Education

The Ministry of Education is responsible for the development of the Tertiary Education Strategy and policies in relation to student loans and allowances, Youth Guarantee, foundation education, legislative change, and the tertiary quality assurance system. It also deals with funding policy, fee regulation, tertiary education institution ownership and performance management matters. The Ministry provides strategic policy advice as well as a wide range of research and analysis in relation to the performance of the tertiary sector.

Tertiary Education Commission 

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is responsible for funding tertiary education in New Zealand. They also provide policy advice and implementation across the sector and support tertiary education organisations to be accountable, self-improving and self-managing. They give effect to the Government’s requirements for tertiary education as outlined in the Tertiary Education Strategy and act in accordance with their role and responsibilities as set out in the Education and Training Act 2020. All forms of post-secondary school education and training come under their umbrella. From literacy and numeracy education to academic study, Modern Apprenticeships, work-related training and to doctoral research.

New Zealand Qualifications Authority

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority, or NZQA, administers the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) for secondary school students and is responsible for the quality assurance of non-university tertiary training providers. 

Services for Tertiary Education Organisations (STEO)

The Services for Tertiary Education Organisations (STEO) website is an information channel for tertiary education providers. 

It provides information on:

  • Unfunded International Providers (UIP) data collection*
  • submitting the Single Data Return (SDR)
  • completing and submitting workforce questionnaires
  • completing and submitting RS20 returns
  • accessing National Student Index (NSI)
  • other tertiary education related information
  • Student Management System (SMS) certification.

Unfunded International Providers (UIP) data collection*

On 3 August 2015, a change to the Private Training Establishment Registration Amendment Rules 2015 was tabled by NZQA and approved. This change took place on 1 March 2016.

The method of electronic submission, referred to in the NZQA rule change, as set out by the Ministry of Education on the STEO website(external link).


If you work at a tertiary education organisation there is tertiary funding information on the Tertiary Education Commission website.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) implements the Government’s fees-free tertiary education policy. It also makes sure that enrolling students are eligible for fees-free education and that providers receive the right amount of funding for those students.

Classification of courses and Qualifications (NZSCED)

The New Zealand Standard Classification of Education (NZSCED) is a subject-based classification system for courses and qualifications at universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, wānanga and private training establishments in receipt of Government funding.

Detailed information about the classification system and the latest updates are available on Education Counts.

National Student Index (NSI)

The NSI is a database maintained by the Ministry of Education and allocate a unique identifier, the National Student Number, to every student enrolled at an education provider in New Zealand. Learn more about the database and how to access it.

Paying the Export Education Levy (EEL)

Most education providers who enrol international fee-paying students are required to pay an Export Education Levy (EEL).

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