A University of Waikato student has managed four years of study without owing any money. But it's not over yet.
Darelle Howard, 22, has made the most of the university's scholarships, receiving more than $27,000 from five different schemes over the past four years.
"I apply for every scholarship I'm eligible for, I work part-time and I ask lots of questions which has opened up lots of funding opportunities," Miss Howard says.
The former Mount Maunganui College student - who is doing a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree [Hons] has won five scholarships totalling more than $27,000.
The latest was a $6000 Freemason's University Scholarship. She also received a $5000 Vice-Chancellor's Academic Excellence School Leaver Scholarship for achieving NCEA endorsed with excellence.
"Some scholarships have a long application process but it's worth the effort if you're successful - it's not a bad hourly rate really," she says.
On top of the scholarships, Miss Howard receives student allowance from StudyLink and works part-time during the semester and full-time over the breaks at jobs she's found on Student Job Search.
Although it's been stressful at times to juggle work and study, not having a student loan is something Miss Howard's really proud of.
"A bit of hard work can go a long way and there are so many support services at University to help - you've just got to ask," she says.
Now, she's set to do her Masters - in political economy - next year so she's found three different scholarships that she will apply for to get through her final year of study.
The plan then is to head to the United Kingdom and study at either Cambridge, Oxford or the London School of Economics.
That again requires even more money and a scholarship, otherwise she says she'll never be able to afford to go over there.
With the new Applicant Day event coming up on Saturday 19 September, Miss Howard thinks it's the perfect opportunity for people to visit the campus and talk one-on-one to University staff about their study and finance options.
"I had no idea what I wanted to study when I was still at school but talking to one of the Waikato's Future Student Advisers helped me find the subjects that were right for me," she says.
Applicant Day, on September 19, is a new event that gives prospective students, applicants and their families the opportunity to receive guidance on their study options and complete their applications on the day.