Boarding Allowances

What is a Boarding Allowance?

A Boarding Allowance is a contribution to your child’s Boarding fees, so that they can board away from home, either at a boarding school or privately board with someone who is not your child’s legal guardian.

There are two types of Boarding Allowance, either an Access Barrier Boarding Allowance or a Multiple Barriers Boarding Allowance.
Ākonga can only receive one of the allowances at a time. A barrier is a circumstance that is preventing ākonga from achieving in and attending school.

When do applications close?

All Boarding Allowance applications for the following school year are due by 31 October each year.

Decisions are issued early December.

We may consider applications outside of this annual date at our discretion.

Once eligible, ākonga will continue receiving their Boarding Allowance each year that they are boarding. They do not need to reapply for the Boarding Allowance unless their circumstances change.

Changes that may affect Boarding Allowance eligibility.

How much is a Boarding Allowance?

The amount of Boarding Allowance funding an ākonga receives depends on:

  • what type of barrier they are facing — an access barrier or multiple barriers
  • where they board (hostel or private).

Boarding Allowance 2024 Funding

2024 rate
Access Barrier boarding allowance
Rēkohu| Chatham Islands $6,300
Aotea | Great Barrier and
Rakiura | Stewart Island
Eligible students from all other
Multiple Barriers boarding allowance
Hostel (all locations) $8,500
Private boarding (Rēkoh| Chatham
Private boarding (all other locations) $4,500

Multiple Barriers Additional Funding

Additional funding is provided for ākonga receiving the Multiple Barriers Boarding Allowance to support them at school eg, counselling, uniform, extra-curricular activities.

The additional funding is an annual one-off payment of $540 and is paid in Term 1 with the first Boarding Allowance instalment.

Additional Travel Funding for Island Communities

When receiving a Boarding Allowance, additional funding is provided to assist with the cost of travel for ākonga between the mainland and Great Barrier Island (GBI). GBI additional travel funding is $920 per year and is paid in termly instalments with their Boarding Allowance.

For ākonga that live on Pitt Island or Chatham Islands and are receiving a Boarding Allowance, the Ministry funds the travel provider four return trips each year between their home and the mainland.

How is the Boarding Allowance Paid?

The Boarding Allowance is paid directly to your child’s school. It is a contribution to their boarding costs and may not cover all of their boarding fees. The difference will need to be paid by their guardian.

If your child is boarding privately, the person providing the board needs to arrange to receive the Boarding Allowance funding from the school.

Access Barrier

The Access Barrier Boarding Allowance is for ākonga in New Zealand who live a significant distance to their nearest state, state-integrated or Māori medium school and the Ministry’s school transport does not provide a solution. Ākonga must meet all three of the below eligibility criteria to be eligible for the Access Barrier Boarding Allowance.

Criteria 1

Have to travel an unreasonable distance (eg 50 kms) to the nearest state, state-integrated, Māori medium school (MMS) where the ākonga can enrol.

For ākonga seeking special character school education at a state-integrated school, it must be the closest school of its type — that is, the closest Catholic school if a Catholic education is chosen.

For ākonga seeking MMS education — MMS chosen will be considered the closest, in recognition of the importance of iwi and hapu affiliation to a Maori-medium education.

Criteria 2

The closest school transport service to get to their nearest state, state-integrated, MMS school is unreasonable (eg 15 kms)

Criteria 3

Have to travel longer than 45 minute one way to their nearest state, state-integrated, MMS.

Note: If there are other barriers to your location (eg road conditions) that are impacting your child’s ability to get to school, they may be considered in this assessment and can be added to the application. For further information on other travel support, please visit our School Transport page:

School transport assistance

Multiple Barriers

The Multiple Barriers Boarding Allowance is for ākonga who are experiencing significant barriers to their education.

The Boarding Allowance team assess the applications, considering the following criteria:

  1. Poor participation at school – difficulty engaging in everyday classroom learning, completing schoolwork, keeping up adequate attendance and engaging in extra-curricular activities
  2. Poor relationships – socially isolated, has difficulty forming relationships and or lacks respect for others.
  3. Behavioural issues – disruptive, harms others or themselves, participates in criminal activities, or has a history of stand-downs, suspensions or expulsions
  4. Low educational achievement – shows significantly lower attainments (lower than same age peers) in literacy, numeracy, oral language and other subjects
  5. Environment – lacks family and community support, has poor or negative role models, is exposed to physical or psychological harm, or multiple community or government agencies (e.g. Police, Oranga Tamariki, a health or mental health service) are involved with the young person.

If you are applying for a Multiple Barriers Boarding Allowance for your child, you and a referrer need to complete the application. The referrer should be a trusted person who has knowledge of the barriers your child is facing. Some of the options for a referrer can include:

  • your child’s current teacher
  • your family doctor, or other health professional
  • a social service provider
  • Learning Support, Ministry of Education
  • Oranga Tamariki
  • Youth Aid, New Zealand Police

If your referrer isn’t able to communicate all the barriers your child is facing, more than one referrer can help with your child’s application.

All the information you and your referrer provide is confidential. The Ministry will not share it with anyone else unless they are part of the application and selection process.

Your child is not eligible if they have custody or guardianship orders under sections 78, 101,102, 110 or 141 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. Their boarding fees may be met by Oranga Tamariki or the Ministry of Health.

How do I apply?

To apply for the Boarding Allowance online,(external link) please complete the online application process.

Please note: If you are applying for the Multiple Barriers Boarding Allowance, you will need to ensure your Referrer has completed and signed Section 3, as this will need to be submitted at the time of application.

If you are experiencing difficulties with the online application process, our IT Service Desk will be able to assist you. Please contact them on 04-463 8446 or you can contact the Boarding Allowance Team 04-463 8045

Email or Post

Download and complete the application form [PDF, 644 KB](external link), and multiple barriers form [PDF, 500 KB] (external link) ;and send the application via email or post

  1. click on the link to download the form (and multiple barriers form too, if required)
  2. 'save as' the form to your desktop
  3. open the saved form in adobe reader
  4. fill in the form
  5. click 'save as' and save the completed form to your desktop
  6. submit your completed application to the Ministry, either:

Changes that may affect Boarding Allowance Eligibility

The Ministry must be notified of any changes that may affect ākonga and their Boarding Allowance eligibility, such as:

  • a new school opens near home which means they no longer meet the geographical isolation barrier
  • a new transport facility (either Ministry funded or a public transport service) becomes available to the school nearest their home which means they no longer meet the geographical isolation barrier
  • family moves to a new home
  • transfer to another school
  • move back home with legal guardian
  • no longer boarding
  • complete their schooling, leave school or are not attending school.

It's best to talk to the Ministry's Boarding Allowances team as soon as you know there might be a change.

The Ministry of Education's Boarding Allowances Team

You can contact the Ministry’s Boarding Allowance team if you need support with the Boarding Allowance Application process, or if you have any questions about the Boarding Allowance scheme:

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