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There are scholarships available to assist you financially with your studies in New Zealand, but first, you have to know where to look and how to apply successfully. This guide will show you how to find out what scholarships you might be eligible for, top tips for applying for scholarships, and discuss the IELTS requirements for applying for these scholarships.

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Scholarship application criteria

Scholarships are generally awarded to students who have a good academic score, and who are likely to perform well in their chosen field of study.

However, each scholarship has its own eligibility criteria. Some scholarships are only available to students from a certain country, or who have completed certain qualifications.

Different scholarships also have different conditions. For example, some scholarships will require a one-off application, while other ongoing scholarships may need proof of academic success in order to continue.

Because every scholarship is different, you’ll need to carefully read the eligibility criteria and application process, so you won’t miss any requirements or deadlines.

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New Zealand scholarships for international students


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When looking for a tertiary scholarship in New Zealand, there are many different options to consider. Because of this, we recommend you begin researching and applying for scholarships well in advance.

Here is a list of some of the most popular scholarships available for international tertiary students:

Scholarship Description
Manaaki New Zealand ScholarshipsThis government-funded scholarship is only available for students from eligible countries. You must be over the age of 18, and preferably under the age of 40.

They give priority to applicants who choose one of our approved subjects (called sectors on the application form).

There are eleven approved education institutions at which Manaaki New Zealand Scholars can study: eight universities and three institutes of technology.

The Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship includes full tuition fees, a living allowance of NZD $531 per week and an establishment allowance of NZD $3000.
New Zealand - Global Research Alliance Doctoral Scholarship (NZ-GRADS)A doctoral scholarship (PhD) offered to science students from developing countries. You must study in New Zealand, and can only apply to one of the available projects.

This scholarship covers: Tuition fees up to NZD $10,000 a year and a living allowance of NZD $28,000 per year (tax free)
Vice Chancellor’s International Excellence Scholarship (University of Waikato)This scholarship will provide NZD $15,000 towards any course of study at the University of Waikato.

To be eligible, you must be able to demonstrate high academic achievement. You must also enrol and complete a face-to-face course, instead of an online one.
University of Auckland International Student Excellence Scholarship This scholarship is worth NZD $10,000 towards your tuition fees. It’s awarded to students who are highly successful academically.

New Zealand scholarships search tool

Depending on your level of study, your home country, and the institution you wish to study at – you may be eligible for other available scholarships.

If you are looking to research scholarships that might apply to you, the New Zealand Education website has a helpful toolexternal icon that will filter available scholarships so you can find the most appropriate ones.

Universities in NZ for IELTS scores of 5.5 and above

Top tips for applying for scholarships

When researching scholarships, it’s important that you understand what the scholarship will cover, and what you will need to provide. Here are some top tips for applying for scholarships:

1. Start early

Don't wait and put off your application until the last minute. Start researching and applying for scholarships as early as possible. The application process can be time-consuming and the earlier you get prepared the better your chances are to meet the deadline.

2. Research scholarships in advance

First, determine what your academic interests are and what is important to you. Then, look for scholarships that align with your plans and make sure you meet the eligibility criteria.

3. Understand the terms

Find out all that you need to know to make sure the scholarship is a good fit for you. Is the scholarship a one-off payment, or if it will provide ongoing support? Will you need to demonstrate high academic marks consistently? Are there any conditions around employment after you finish your course of study?

4. Keep track of your applications and deadlines

Create an Excel sheet and make a list of all the scholarships you plan to apply for. Include a checklist of the requirements and any supporting documents needed and their respective deadlines.

5. Create a great application

If you want people to notice your application, you need to make it special. You can do this by talking about the things you're really good at, things you've done well before, and the things that make you different from everyone else. You also need to write your essay in a way that makes people interested in you, by telling them about what motivates you, your achievements and what you hope to do in the future. If you do this well, the person reading your application will learn more about you and will want to know even more!

6. Get help

Speak to your lecturers, teachers, mentors and other professionals in your field as they can provide guidance on which scholarships to apply for. They can also provide valuable advice and offer feedback on your application.

7. Check everything thoroughly

It's recommended that you double-check your application to ensure that everything is correct and complete. Go through your checklist to make sure that you haven't missed any documents and check all for spelling and grammar.

8. Follow up

After submitting your application, it's important to follow up with the scholarship provider to ensure that they received it and that it's complete. Send an email or make a phone call to inquire about the status of your application. This will show that you are organised, motivated, and interested in the scholarship.

Your work is not done after one application. It's important to continue your research and look for other scholarship opportunitiesexternal icon.

IELTS requirement for scholarship applications

Various scholarships are available to New Zealand students, each with its own eligibility requirements. A majority of scholarships may still require evidence of English language proficiency.

Generally, applicants require an IELTS (Academic) band score of 6.0 (with no individual band score of less than 5.5). The best way to find out about the requirements for the scholarship program you’re interested in is to contact the institution or scholarship provider directly. Alternatively, you can also get in touch with an education counsellorexternal icon. They have access to information from multiple education providers.

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How to prepare for IELTS?


Get test ready with IELTS Prepare

Achieving a great IELTS score takes time and planning. You can’t just book and take your test in a matter of days – no matter how strong your English skills are. Successful test takers create a schedule to help them study everything they need to know before they sit an IELTS test. They make time to practise all four English skills – ListeningReadingWriting and Speaking – as they know that each one is different.

If they have trouble with a topic, they attend a FREE Masterclass with an IELTS expert who can teach them how to improve. And, when they’re almost ready to take IELTS, they will complete as many practice tests as they can find. 

So, when there are hundreds of resources to help you study, where do you begin? Click here to access your go-to guide to IELTS preparation. All of our most important materials – both free and paid – are listed here, divided by category.

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By keeping these things in mind, you’ll be in the best position possible to find, apply for, and receive a scholarship. All the best.