With the Covid-19 pandemic made hardship affecting the tertiary education students, the Government has announced a fresh $20 million HAFL funding for education providers.
Hardship Fund for Learners (HAFL) was first announced by the Government in 2020 in response to the nationwide lockdown. As part of continuing this support for learners, the Government has declared a new funding in June 2021. In September 2021, further funding was provided following the national Alert Level 4 lockdown.
The objective of the Hardship Fund for Learners (HAFL) is to provide temporary financial assistance to the students who are facing difficulty as any suffering, deprivation or financial challenges such as food, Utilities, Housing, Health related costs, Transportation costs, Childcare costs and Resources for learning etc. This fund supports the Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) to provide temporary financial assistance for currently enrolled domestic students.
HAFL funding has been automatically allotted to all eligible TEOs using a formulaic model. This model takes into account each TEO’s funding allocation, with additional weighting based on various factors. Currently, there is no cap on the fund allocation to individual students, however, the education providers will be allocating the fund effectively to fulfil the purpose of the fund. 
It is a priority to deliver the hardship fund to the learners immediately to provide assistance at right time. As most providers have the infrastructure already in place to identify their learner’s needs and provide support quickly, the TEOs are in the best position to understand the hardship needs within their student populations, which enables them to prioritise the funding effectively. This will also facilitate to continue the good relationship between the learners and providers.
Following the latest government announcement, TEC has already allocated half of this new funding out to providers.
Previous results are indicative of the ability of this funding to make a positive impact on the student's performance.
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is one of the largest tertiary education provider in New Zealand. Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has the potential to monitor interventions and investments versus outcomes, which enables them to continue supporting the students who need it most. A majority portion of the student population in this institution was vulnerable to lockdown implications. After the HAFL funding, the report showed that the students who received the funding were able to complete their courses at 9% above average completion rates.