The Aspire Scholarship

The Aspire Scholarship is for students from low income families wanting to attend a New Zealand private secondary school. Applications are closed now for the 2018 scholarship.

What is the scholarship?

The Aspire Scholarship has been designed for students from low income families who would like to attend a New Zealand private secondary school. The scholarship contributes up to $15,000 per year for private secondary school fees and up to $1,500 per year for course related costs.

Eligibility criteria

A student is eligible for an Aspire Scholarship if:

  • they will be in Year 9 in 2018
  • their primary caregiver(s) have a joint annual gross income of $56,000 or less (not including Working for Families tax credits)

  • their primary caregiver(s) have a combined net worth of $200,000 or less (not including household items)
  • they, or their primary caregiver(s), are not beneficiaries of any trusts (exceptions will be made on a case by case basis)
  • they are a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident of New Zealand
  • an application is received at the Ministry of Education National Office by 5pm on Friday 19 May 2017

What does it cover?

An Aspire Scholarship will contribute up to $15,000 per year for tuition fees, and up to $1,500 per year for course related costs, for Years 9-13, the duration of a student’s attendance at their chosen private school. Tuition fees include term fees, enrolment fees, application fees, and any other compulsory attendance fee that is directly related to a student’s tuition. It is the responsibility of the parents/caregivers to pay for any remaining school fees over and above the contribution from the Aspire Fund. Course related costs are any additional school items or costs related to the student’s schooling.

The scholarship does not cover boarding fees. If a student chooses to board at a private boarding school, families may use their $1,500 course related costs allowance towards the costs of boarding, but are otherwise responsible for any boarding costs. The scholarship can only be used at New Zealand’s fully registered private secondary schools (also known as independent schools). It cannot be used at state or state-integrated schools.

Selection process

Applicants will be balloted for the 2018 Aspire Scholarships, and drawn at random. Only applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will be included in the ballot. Academic achievement and personal qualities are not relevant for this scholarship, and will not affect an applicant’s chance of receiving a scholarship.

All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application by letter.

Successful scholarship recipients

Successful Aspire Scholarship recipients are fully responsible for enrolling at a private school, and are not guaranteed enrolment at any private school by the Ministry of Education. Private schools have their own enrolment processes and conditions, and recipients must abide by these.

After scholarship recipients are notified by the Ministry, they will be given approximately 3 months to confirm an enrolment at a private school. Applicants are encouraged to make contact with private schools before they are notified of the outcome of their application so they are well prepared if their application is successful.

Contact details for each private school can be found on the following list [DOCX, 25 KB].
Go to the Independent Schools of New Zealand website (external link) for more information about these private schools.

Ongoing support

An Aspire Scholarship holder may keep their scholarship for the time they attend a private school - a maximum of 5 years (Year 9 to Year 13). The duration may be extended in exceptional circumstances. Support will be stopped if the student leaves school or transfers to a state or state-integrated school. If the student transitions directly to another Aspire compatible private school, they will be able to keep their Aspire Scholarship if the family takes responsibility for any additional fees involved in the transition.

Further information

If you have any questions, read the supporting information [PDF, 180 KB] about the programme and answers to frequently asked questions, or get in touch:

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