The purpose of Pūtea Tautoko is to provide financial relief by way of grants to current students for whom unforeseen financial hardship emerged as a severe barrier to successful study at the University of Otago, and for whom other forms of support are not readily available.

Grants are typically between $500 and $2,000 per student.

Strict confidentiality will be observed in the consideration of applications for support from the Fund.

For further information, please email

Application dates

Applications are open—apply via your eVision portal.


University of Otago students are eligible to apply including domestic, international, full-time, part-time, undergraduate, postgraduate, on-campus, distance, and Pathway programme students. Bridging Programme and Language Centre students are not eligible to apply.

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Before applying

Please consider carefully the purpose of Pūtea Tautoko in relation to your situation. The University, donors, and University staff have contributed funding to support successful study at the University of Otago.

Prior to applying to Pūtea Tautoko, students are expected to have already explored other income options from New Zealand Government sources such as Studylink (e.g. student loans and allowances) or Work and Income (e.g. health and disability payments) and demonstrate how their ability to cover costs is impacted by unforeseen circumstances. Details must be provided in your application.

StudyLink—Your eligibility may have changed as a result of you and your family’s circumstances.

OUSA—Budgeting advice, advocacy, tenancy agreements, OUSA Hardship Fund, OUSA Care Package, and more.

Dunedin City Council electricity fund—The fund is to help people living within the Dunedin City Council rateable area with a grant towards an electricity account.

Jobseeker Support Student Hardship—A weekly payment (eligibility criteria apply) to help with your living expenses during a study break of more than three weeks.

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Information required

Before applying to Pūtea Tautoko, you should make sure your personal details, New Zealand bank account, and home address in eVision are up to date.

As part of the application, you will be asked to provide details of your current financial situation, including any scholarships, student allowances, personal savings, earnings from paid work, family support, or any other income you receive.

Please be aware, you may also be asked to provide further evidence of your financial situation—including bank statements and other supporting documentation. Where it is appropriate, you may be asked to seek OUSA budgeting advice before you receive a grant from Pūtea Tautoko.

How to download your bank statements

You are required to nominate an impartial independent referee to support your application. The referee will be asked to provide comment on your financial situation. Before you submit your application, please let your referee know you are applying, and ensure they understand your situation in order to verify your circumstances.

Important information on referees

Examples of unsuitable referees include:

  • Colleagues
  • Coursemates
  • Family members
  • Flatmates
  • Friends
  • Landlords
  • Partners

Tutors engaged privately are not appropriate referees.

If you are a residential college resident, a suitable referee would be your Head of College.

If you are a postgraduate or senior undergraduate, it may be your supervisor, a lecturer, or University-employed tutor.

If you are an international student on a New Zealand Scholarship, your referee should be a staff member from the International Office.

You may also choose to nominate a University staff member from support services such as Student Health, Te Huka Mātauraka, the Pacific Islands Centre, Disability Information and Support, or the Graduate Research School as a referee.

Appropriate referees outside of the university include a GP, current employer, ex-employer, and other recognised community leaders.

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Submitted applications

Once you have submitted your application you will receive an email sent to your student email address advising you that your application has been submitted. You will also see this information under the All Alerts section on the homepage of your eVision portal.

Applications are screened and forwarded by the Pūtea Tautoko Manager to the panel for consideration.

Applicants should receive an outcome of their application within 20 working days but depending on the number of applications that are being assessed, there may be delays from time to time.

If your application is found to be incomplete, it will be declined.

Anyone in receipt of a Pūtea Tautoko grant who is found to have provided misleading information, or used any of the funding inappropriately, may be required to repay the grant (in whole or in part), and may be barred from making future applications to the Fund.

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Applying more than once

You are eligible to apply for and receive Pūtea Tautoko funding more than once, however, you can only receive one grant per semester unless exceptional circumstances are applicable.

Exceptional circumstances will be determined by the assessment panel.

Pathway students application process

Application process screenshots for Pathway Programme students (PDF 798KB)

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Please see the related article: Applying to Pūtea Tautoko for more information.

PhD students who wish to extend their thesis submission and require financial support are asked to apply to Pūtea Tautoko. If they are more than 12 months from their deadline or the end of financial support from PhD scholarships they should discuss this with their supervisor, and email Pūtea Tautoko administrators at 

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