Grants & Hardship

Class Grants

OPSA operates a fund to assist student classes and groups with exhibitions, study, social events, and conference grants etc.
Access to funds can be obtained by your Class Representative completing a Class Grant Request Form (available from the OPSA Office) or download here:   request-for-form-.pdf

Development Grants

Grants may be made at the discretion of the OPSA Advisory Board for any student or group who may require some financial help with a special “one-off” project or event. Any application must be made in writing to the Advisory Board, attaching all relevant information.

Budget Advice 

OPSA also offers confidential and FREE Budget Advice to all OP students.It’s a great way to smooth out your finances and to help plan for leaner times ahead.

Student Hardship

OPSA in conjunction with the Polytechnic, operates a Student Assistant Fund which can help students that may find themselves in unforeseen financial difficulty. Each case is individually assessed by a Committee in a confidential manner.

Any student facing a financial crisis or hardship, should first contact OPSA to discuss and evaluate the situation. We can then decide the most appropriate form of assistance available.

You can get a Hardship Application Form from the OPSA office or download here:   current-SAFund-applic.form.pdf

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Completed forms should be sent to OPSA’s Student Support Advisor & Advocate.


Scholarship Information 

Information on scholarships and award schemes available to students can be found on the BreakOut scholarship and funding information service (accessed via Dunedin Public Library, Port Chalmers, Mosgiel, Blueskin Bay, or Waikouaiti libraries).

External Grants

StudyLink Special Needs Grant 

If you have no money to buy food and your need was caused by an essential expense, then you may be entitled to a StudyLink Special Needs Grant. The maximum amount in a 52 week period unless exceptional circumstances or stated otherwise is $400 for a single person.


  • You are a Studylink client
  • You do not have savings
  • You have assured Studylink you have explored alternatives including borrowing money from friends or family etc.
  • You can prove you have no available funds (To do this means a verified account balance from the bank that includes the last 10 transactions made). This must be done on the same day as your appointment with Study link. (The official policy is that overdrafts do not count as ‘funds’).
  • If you have a part-time job you need to take two pay slips

WINZ Special Needs Grant 

If you’re not a Studylink client, WINZ also have a Special Needs Grant that is for people with urgent and necessary needs who have no other way to meet these costs - more information.

Electricity Fund 

The DCC finances a fund to help Dunedin residents in hardship with their electricity bill. This is a one off grant. Inquire at Salvation Army (474-9852) or Anglican Family Centre Methodist Mission (477-0801) to apply for this fund. More information.

Thinking of Studying at OP? 

Check out what support you’re entitled to first - it may not be as much as you think, especially if you’re coming off a benefit.