A high school education doesn't come cheap these days with uniform, study fees, activities and devices all costing parents a significant amount.

However, eligible parents may not know that financial assistance is available to help pay the entry fees for students to sit NCEA - National Certificate of Educational Achievement.

Entry fees were $76.70 for all NCEA standards as at July last year, with $30 extra for each NZ Scholarship subject on top. Fees are capped at $200 per student.

Community Services card holders and parents receiving a Work and Income or Studylink benefit can apply for assistance to reduce the fee to $20, or for families with two or more children who are NCEA candidates, a maximum of $30 per family.


According to the NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA), parents who are not Community Services card holders, or who do not receive a benefit may also be eligible if their joint family income would entitle them to a Community Services card.

Families with two or more children who are candidates and where the fees would normally be more than the $200 maximum can also apply, irrespective of income.

Forms to apply are available online at www.nzqa.govt.nz or can be supplied by schools.

NZQA said only one application form needed to be completed, even if it is for more than one student.

All secondary students entered for national qualifications receive a unique National Student Number which is needed to apply for financial assistance. These are sent out in June, or are available from the school.

Schools send the completed applications on to NZQA by September, and let parents know of the outcome.

International students do not qualify for financial assistance, with NCEA standards charged at $383.30 and scholarship subjects $102.20 each.

Late last year, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said there was "overwhelming support" for a proposal to scrap NCEA fees.


"I am looking very closely at whether we can abolish the fees and if so how quickly we can do that," he said at the time.