Aspire Scholarships Support Choice In Education

  • Heather Roy

Associate Minister of Education Heather Roy today announced that applications are now open for the Government's Aspire Scholarships, which will enable students from low-income families to attend a private secondary school.

"Budget 2009 allocated $2.6 million to these scholarships.  ACT and National in Government are committed to widening the education choices available for students and their families - the Aspire Scholarships are an important step toward achieving that goal," Mrs Roy said.

"Parents are best placed to decide the education model that suits their children's needs but, for many, a private schooling is out of reach.  These scholarships will place choice in their hands and assist with the costs associated with attending a private school of their choice - providing up to $15,000 for school fees per year, and up to $1,500 annually for course-related costs.

"Aspire Scholarships are aimed at families earning an annual income of $65,000 or less, and who have a net worth of $150,000 or less.  To qualify, students applying for a scholarship will have to be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

"Applications must be submitted to the Education Ministry by October 14 2009 and must include contact details for the applicant's current principal and a chosen referee - such as a family friend or church member.  Eligible applications will be entered into a randomly selected ballot, to be drawn after the closing dates, and successful applicants will be required to enrol in a school independently.  For students that miss out on the October 14 ballot, a second ballot will held at the end of October, which will also enable eligible families to make late enrolments.
"In total, 150 scholarships will be awarded for the 2010 school year - 50 each in Years 9, 10 or 11.  The total number will increase to 200 in 2011 and 250 in 2012," Mrs Roy said.

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Questions and Answers

Who is eligible for the Aspire Scholarship?
Students who will be in Year 9, 10 or 11 in 2010, from households that have:
* an annual income of $65,000 or less
* a net worth of $150,000 or less.

How many scholarships are available?
In 2010, there will be 150 scholarships available: 50 for students in Year 9, 50 for students in Year 10 and 50 for students in Year 11.  An additional 50 will be available in 2011, to be distributed across Year 9, 10 and 11 students, and then a further 50 will be available in 2012, to be distributed across Year 9, 10 and 11 students.

How do students apply for the Aspire Scholarship?
Application forms are on the Ministry of Education website (  You can also request an application be sent by calling (04) 463 8262, or a local Ministry of Education office:

* Whangarei: (09) 463 8900
* Auckland: (09) 632 9400
* Hamilton: (07) 858 7130
* Rotorua: (07) 349 7399
* Napier: (06) 833 6730
* Wanganui: (06) 349 6300
* Lower Hutt (04) 463 8699
* Nelson: (03) 546 3470
* Christchurch: (03) 378 7300
* Dunedin: (03) 471 5200
* Invercargill: (03) 211 3610

How much is the Aspire Scholarship worth?
An Aspire Scholarship will cover a student's private school fees up to $15,000 per year, for each year they are at the private school. Students will also receive a yearly allowance of up to $1,500 for costs such as a uniform and school trips.

How will the successful applicants be chosen?
A ballot will be held for all eligible applications. For 2010, two ballots will be held, one after 14 October 2009 and one after 28 October 2009. If you get your application in by 14 October 2009 you will be placed in both ballots if you are not chosen in the first one.

When do applications close?
The first round of applications closes on 14 October 2009. The second round closes on 28 October 2009.  If you get your application in by 14 October 2009, you will have two chances to be selected in the ballot draw.

How can I find out more information?
You can find more information on the Ministry of Education website at the following link:

What do I do if I have further questions?
If you cannot find the answer to your question on the Ministry of Education website, please contact the Aspire Scholarship administrator at or 04 463 8262. Alternatively, contact your local Ministry office.

What if I win a scholarship but I can't find a suitable private school?
If you are a successful applicant, it is up to you to find a suitable private school within eight weeks. It is at the discretion of each private school as to whether an applicant can be enrolled, and some schools may not have the capacity for any more enrolments. If you cannot find a suitable school within eight weeks you will no longer be eligible for the scholarship.

If I win a scholarship, will my private school fees be paid each year I am enrolled or just for one year?
The scholarship will cover your private day school fees, up to the amount of $15,000 per year, for each year that you attend your chosen private school.

What if my parents and I move out of the area and I have to leave the school?
If you leave the private school you originally enrol at with the Aspire Scholarship, there is no guarantee you will be able to re-enrol at a new private school using the same scholarship.  If you encounter this situation, you should contact the Aspire Scholarship administrator ( or 04 463 8262) or your Ministry of Education local office, to discuss your options.