University Of Otago Hardship Fund

Are you experiencing unexpected financial difficulty? The OUSA Student Hardship Fund can help you out of a tight spot. It is open to domestic, international, full-time and part-time students of the University of Otago.

If your application is successful, the Hardship Fund will provide a one-off payment up to $250. The fund is designed to be flexible and each case is considered carefully by a panel whose members are committed to student welfare. The fund will not consider paying fines (parking/disciplinary fines through the University/legal fines) or arrears with finance companies.

Alternative avenues

Before you apply, please see if you can access any of the other forms of financial assistance available. These are listed below.

The process

  • Check out alternative options for financial support (below).
  • Complete the application form online.
  • An OUSA Student Support advocate will contact you to arrange an time to meet
  • You will met with an advocate to talk through your situation in confidence and complete the application process.
  • Your application will be assessed confidentially by a panel. The panel will not know who you are (i.e. your name is not supplied).
  • OUSA Student Support will advise you of the outcome via email.

Pūtea Tautoko and student hardship

Applications are now open for the University’s Pūtea Tautoko student hardship fund. The application process is via eVision. Applicants will be asked to supply information about their financial circumstances, declare income sources and financial assistance, and explain how COVID-19 is impacting their ability to study at Otago. They will also need to nominate a referee who can attest to their situation. 

The fund will be open to all University of Otago students, whether they be New Zealand or international students, full-time or part-time, undergraduate, or postgraduate.

Students who have an urgent need for financial assistance and cannot wait for their Pūtea Tautoko application to be processed and/or have a non-COVID related need can apply for the OUSA hardship fund.

Alternative Financial Support

Before you complete your application, check your eligibility for any of the following other supports.

1. StudyLink Urgent / Unexpected costs
If you have to pay for something urgently, get an unexpected bill, or have a personal emergency, they might be able to help. Contact Studylink to determine eligibility. Phone 0800 889 900. Please note this not available for international students.

2. WINZ Special Needs Grant 
This is the same as the Studylink Special Needs Grant but is for non-Studylink clients. Contact Work and Income NZ to determine eligibility. Phone 0800 559 009 Please note this not available for international students.

3. WINZ Recoverable Assistance Payment Grant 
As above. Phone 0800 559 009 Please note this not available for international students.

4. Consumer Electricity Fund 
DCC finances a fund to help Dunedin residents in hardship pay their electricity bill. This is a one-off grant, that you can apply for once every 5 years. Anyone is eligible who lives in Dunedin. Contact us and we can refer you. 

5. University of Otago Emergency Fund 
This is for one-off, unforeseen/emergency situations. The University requires students to have an interview with an OUSA Student Support advocate to determine eligibility for this fund. Contact [email protected] to find out if you can apply for this.

6. Bank Overdraft Facility 
Most banks offer a student overdraft facility at a reasonable interest rate. Speak with your bank about this facility.

7. Family Assistance 
Can your family provide some temporary financial assistance?

8. OUSA Student Support Foodbank 
Students in need can access the foodbank (free) a couple of times per semester. Drop into 5 Ethel Benjamin Place, between 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. No appointment needed.