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Student eligibility

US citizens and eligible non-citizens may borrow up to the total estimated cost of attendance and no more. The general cost of attendance is calculated by the Financial Aid Administrator, and it can only be modified if a student meets specific requirements.  The cost of attendance includes allowances for:

  • Tuition, student services and insurance fees
  • Books and study supplies of NZD$1,000 per year
  • Living costs, including rent, utilities, food, personal experiences and transport. The 2024 rate is $560.00 per week of study
  • Travel to and from New Zealand – NZD$3,500 to pay for a return flight each year of study
  • Immigration New Zealand visa application fee – NZD$410.00 per year

Cost adjustments

It is important to remember that a cost of attendance is the estimated costs of your studies at the University of Otago.  The calculation is based on the information at the time of assessment.  In some situations, a cost of attendance can be adjusted, some examples are:

  • Due to the next year allowances not yet having been confirmed, the cost of attendance may have been calculated based on the current year rates.
  • Additional papers added that increases the tuition fee amount.
  • Change in start dates for postgraduate students.
  • Scholarship being approved after the cost of attendance was calculated but before the loan has been originated.

Loan amounts

Subsidised (undergraduates only) and Unsubsidised loans have fixed maximum limits depending on whether the student is dependent, independent or postgraduate.  Parents of dependents and postgraduate students may be eligible to cover the full cost of attendance from a PLUS loan which is not an entitlement (it is subject to credit checking and may be declined by the US Department of Education).

Find out how much you can borrow at the US Government's Federal Student Aid website:

How much can I borrow? – Federal Student Aid

The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive for an academic year is determined by the Financial Aid Office and it may be less than the maximum annual amounts shown on the Federal Student Aid website. The US Department of Education charges an origination fee on all loans and this fee is deducted from each disbursement.

For more information about loans, including information about interest rates and fees, visit the US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website:

Loans – Federal Student Aid

Interest rates and fees for federal student loans – Federal Student Aid

Programme eligibility

Not all programmes are eligible for Title IV student aid.  Courses and programmes with elements containing online or distance education are not eligible for Title IV student aid. Joint courses with US schools, or programmes where any part of the education (internship courses, field trips, etc) that takes place in the US are not eligible.

Furthermore, if you wish to study abroad on an exchange semester (or similar) as part of your current studies at the University of Otago, you can take up to 25 per cent of your programme of study in the United States or at another international institution that isn't itself eligible for the US Direct Loan.

Loan enquiries

Financial Aid Administrator
International Office
Ground Floor, Clocktower Building
90 Union Place East

We recommend that you contact us to make an appointment so that we can ensure the administrator will be available to see you.

Tel +64 3 479 8582

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