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Have an issue or complaint?

Universities New Zealand will investigate and act upon claims that relate to our statutory functions. Under the Education Act 1989, as the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, we have a statutory responsibility for ensuring the quality and integrity of qualifications offered at New Zealand universities.

The following are examples of the sorts of issues that we can and will investigate:

  • Fraudulent awarding of marks or grades to students or awarding of marks or grades that have not been fairly gained by students.
  • Failure to follow policy and regulations in making decisions where the intent is to award marks that have not been fairly gained by students.
  • A material and deliberate misrepresentation of the level of academic preparedness of students for the course to which they are admitted.
  • Receiving money or other gifts in return for award of marks that have not been fairly gained.

However, Universities New Zealand will usually only investigate claims where the individual complaint and appeals processes of the relevant university have been fully exhausted.

Before making a claim of wrongdoing, please familiarise yourself with Universities New Zealand’s policy on this matter.

Student issues or complaints

If are a university student and have an issue or complaint about internal or external assessment processes in the university sector, read about the process and options available to you: UNZ’s Overview of assessment, quality and complaints practices

If your concern or complaint cannot be resolved by your university, you can make a complaint to Universities New Zealand. Generally, Universities New Zealand will only use this power once each university’s own internal review and appeals processes have been properly completed.

To make a complaint to Universities New Zealand, you can:

If your concern or complaint cannot be satisfactorily resolved by Universities New Zealand, the matter can be referred to the Office of the Ombudsman.

If your complaint is about other tertiary sector providers, not a university, then contact either:

International student issues or complaints

Each university provides academic support and pastoral care for the well-being of their international students.

In addition, New Zealand’s Code of Practice for International Students sets out what you can expect of an education provider to ensure you are well informed, safe and properly cared for. The Pastoral Care of International Students Code of Practice is available in a number of languages from the NZQA website.

The NZQA website contains information on the Code and provides information on what to do if you have a complaint about treatment by a New Zealand education provider or agent of an education provider.

If your complaint is about money or contracts with an education provider, use the free iStudents Complaints website.

Staff issues, complaints or protected disclosures

To make a complaint, university staff can:

The Protected Disclosures Act 2000 encourages people to report serious wrongdoing in their workplace by providing protection for employees who want to 'blow the whistle'. This applies to public and private sector workplaces.

Universities New Zealand deals with protected disclosures that relate to the statutory functions of the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (NZVCC ). These are set out under Section 241 of the Education Act.

We would encourage people to read our policy about how we will deal with claims of serious wrong-doing under the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 – often referred to as the Whistleblower legislation, beforehand.