Training Incentive Allowance

Help with fees and other study costs for some courses may be available

About the Training Incentive Allowance

The Training Incentive Allowance (TIA) can help pay for things that will help you study, like tuition fees, books, childcare, equipment, transport, and any additional caring costs you have while studying.

The allowance is available for courses at levels 1-7 of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

You may apply for levels 4-7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework until 31 December 2024. Applications for levels 1-3 can continue after this date.

Watch our client Caitlin talk about what the Training Incentive Allowance means to her.

View transcript of 'Our client Caitlin talks about the Training Incentive Allowance' video


The TIA helps me so I don't actually have to save more to pay for day care and pay for stationery. It's all done for me so I don't have to worry about it.

I'm the first person in my family to do tertiary study and that makes me feel a lot better about myself.

The TIA allows me to study and get the job I want, get my qualifications.

'Cause i'm getting all my levels to so I can get a decent job so she is not like disappointed or embarrassed by me.

If I didn't have the money I would probably still be sitting at home doing nothing.


  • Who can get it

    If you’re getting one of these payments, you can get the Training Incentive Allowance:

    • Sole Parent Support
    • Supported Living Payment - caring for a person
    • Supported Living Payment - health condition, injury, or disability
    • Young Parent Payment (sole parents only)
    • Emergency Benefit or Emergency Maintenance Allowance (sole parents only)
    • Jobseeker Support (sole parents only) if you can meet your work obligations while studying


    • be enrolled in a recognised course of study, such as one funded by the Tertiary Education Commission or the Ministry of Education (check this information with your training provider)
    • The study will increase your skills for employment and is:
      • 12 weeks or more
      • Level 1 to 7 on New Zealand Qualifications Framework

    Have a look at your career options

  • How much you can get

    How much you can get depends on how long your course runs and what your study costs are.

    For each week of study, you can get up to $114.19 from TIA to a maximum of $4,567.60 in a 52-week period, as at 1 April 2021.

    You can choose to get TIA as a weekly amount, an upfront one-off payment, or a combination of both. TIA can be paid as a weekly amount for ongoing costs like transport, childcare, Wi-Fi, or as an upfront payment to pay for costs like course fees, stationery, a laptop, or any other one-off expenses. These upfront payments are made to retailers, education providers, or StudyLink – so you may need to get quotes.

    If you have chosen to get weekly TIA payments, you will get these payments with your usual payments from us the week after your study begins.

    You need to apply for TIA every year or if you are starting a new course of study.

    Here are some examples of how you could get payments:

    Example 1

    Anna is getting Sole Parent Support and is studying towards a Certificate in Business Administration, which is a 38-week fees-free course.

    Anna is entitled to get a maximum of $4,339.22 from TIA. That is $114.19 x 38 weeks.

    She chooses to use:

    • $687 to buy a laptop
    • $269 to buy a desk
    • $149 to buy learning software.

    After paying for these one-off costs, Anna still has $3,234.22 of her entitlement to TIA for the year. Her course is taught partly online, so Anna uses $17.50 a week to pay for her internet costs. Anna also has an informal childcare arrangement with her neighbour which she pays $50 a week for. Anna chooses to use TIA to cover this cost.

    Anna’s remaining entitlement to TIA for the year is $716.72. She can access this for other study-related costs which come up while she’s studying.

    Example 2

    Matt is getting Supported Living Payment. He is using TIA to study Introduction to Mechanical Engineering, which is a 25-week study course.

    Matt is entitled to a maximum of $2,854.75 from TIA. That is $114.19 x 25 weeks.

    He chooses to use:

    • $350 to pay for textbooks
    • $1,500 to cover some of his fees.

    Matt now has $1,004.75 remaining of his entitlement to TIA. Matt spends $50 a week to travel to his course so chooses to use the remainder of his entitlement to partially cover his travel costs by getting $40.19 a week for travel costs. Matt has no further entitlement to TIA until next year.

    Because of Matt’s disability, he needs specialist software to complete his exams. He has no further entitlement to TIA so he approaches Workbridge to see if they can assist by paying for the software.

    Note: The above amounts are correct as at 1 April 2021.

  • How to apply

    Complete a form

    You need to submit a Training Incentive Allowance application. You can fill out a paper application (your training provider needs to fill out some of the application too) or one of our case managers can fill the application out with you at an appointment. Applications for TIA must be submitted within 28 days of your study beginning.

    Training Incentive Allowance Application (PDF 223.8KB)

    If a case manager is helping you fill out the application, we will still need to see some information from your training provider. You can get this information via email if it’s easier. The information we will need to see is on pages 5 and 6 of the application.

    Call us

    Call us on 0800 559 009 and we’ll arrange to meet in person or over the phone, whatever works best for you. We'll talk with you to understand your situation and how we can help.

    Before your appointment

    Before your appointment, make sure you have proof of any costs you want covered under TIA. We can check some costs online and will discuss with you the best way to get information to us.

  • Extra help to support your study

    If you find TIA is not enough to cover your study costs, you may be able to get a Student Loan for compulsory course fees and course-related costs.

    Disability Costs

    If you have disability related costs to meet so you can study, Support Funds through Workbridge may be available. These funds can cover extra study costs you have which are above what someone without a disability would have.

    Support Funds through Workbridge

    Caregiving costs

    If you have children who need looking after while you study, we may be able to help pay for childcare. More information is on our website here.

    Training Incentive Allowance and StudyLink

    If you’re applying for TIA and a Student Loan for course related costs, the order in which you apply for (and are granted) these payments can affect the amount you can get.

    If you apply for one-off course related costs through the TIA and then apply for course related costs through StudyLink, the amount you can get for course related costs through StudyLink is reduced by how much TIA you’ve been paid for one-off course related costs. This does not apply for childcare, transport, course fees or disability-related costs.

    If you apply for (and are granted) a Student Loan for course related costs first, the full TIA is available for any costs that haven’t already been covered by your course related costs from StudyLink.

    If you have a number of upfront/one off costs, it’s a good idea to check what you can get from StudyLink before applying for TIA.

    Find out more about it on Studylink

  • Refunding money to the Ministry of Social Development

    In a small number of cases Ministry of Social Development (MSD) clients may find study isn’t right for them now. If MSD has paid their fees, and our client is leaving within your place of vocational education/university/school refund period, providers will need to refund the fees to MSD straight away. You can do this by direct credit:

    Account name: MSD ROBOC 3

    Account number: 03-0049-0006243-25

    Reference: Add the letter C and client’s 9-digit client number (without spaces or dashes) i.e. C123456789

    Code: TIA

    Particulars: Client surname and initial

    Please then email to confirm a refund has been paid and include details of:

    • the amount
    • client surname and initial
    • client’s 9-digit MSD client number
    • what the refund is for i.e. TIA or refund of course fees.

    Applications for the Training Incentive Allowance will currently be open until 31 December 2024 (for courses at levels 4-7 only). You will still be able to apply for TIA for study at levels 1-3 after this date.


This information is a guide only.

Please contact us to talk about your individual circumstances.