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If you do overseas volunteer work (or work for a token payment) for an approved charitable organisation, you may be able to avoid being charged interest on your student loan for up to 24 months. You can apply to be treated as still being in New Zealand, which means your student loan will be interest-free.

The organisation that you’re volunteering for must either:

  • be on the approved charitable organisations list at the time we grant the application
  • have been on the list when you did the work, if you have completed it.

You can apply if the work you do is to relieve either:

  • poverty
  • hunger
  • sickness
  • the impacts of war
  • the impacts of a natural disaster.

You can also apply if the country you work in is on the OECD list of countries receiving development assistance, and you are working to either:

  • improve the economy
  • raise educational standards.

Look for your charitable organisation below. If you see it on the list, you can ask them for the letter you need for applying to keep your student loan interest-free.

Volunteering overseas when I have a student loan

Charitable organisations and the student loan scheme

Charitable organisations for the purposes of section 25(1)(b) of Student Loan Scheme Act 2011

This is a list of approved charitable organisations whose volunteers may be exempted from interest on their student loans while working for these organisations overseas.

The following organisations apply from 1 April 2006:

  • Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA)
  • Amnesty International
  • ANCOP Foundation International Inc
  • Anglican Social Services (Hutt Valley) Trust Board
  • Caritas Internationalis
  • ChildFund International
  • CBM International
  • Christian World Service (CWS)
  • CORSO Incorporated
  • Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres
  • ECPAT International
  • Habitat for Humanity International
  • Hibiscus Coast East Timor Appeal Trust (HETA Trust)
  • IHC New Zealand Incorporated
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • IN Network
  • International Save the Children Alliance
  • Livelihood International Foundation Trust
  • Mahitahi Catholic Overseas Volunteer Trust
  • Mobility Equipment for the Needs of Disabled Trust (MEND)
  • New Zealand Family Planning Association Incorporated
  • New Zealand Vietnam Health Trust
  • Oxfam International
  • Pax Christi International
  • RedR International
  • Richmond Fellowship International (RFI)
  • Rotary International
  • Soroptimist International
  • SurfAid International
  • Te Ora Hou Aotearoa Incorporated
  • Te Tuao Tawahi: Volunteer Service Abroad Incorporated
  • TEAR Fund
  • The Cambodia Trust
  • The Foundation for Peace Studies Aotearoa/New Zealand Incorporated (The Peace Foundation)
  • The Fred Hollows Foundation
  • The Leprosy Mission International (TLM)
  • The Salvation Army International
  • The UMMA Trust
  • The Volunteer Ophthalmic Services Overseas Trust (VOSO)
  • Trade Aid NZ Inc
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
  • Vietnam Cambodia and Laos Support Network (VICALSN)
  • Vision Pacific Charitable Trust
  • World Vision International
  • WWF
  • World Young Women's Christian Association (World YWCA)

The following organisations also apply from 1 April 2007:

  • Bright Hope International Trust
  • Interserve (NZ)
  • Mission Aviation Fellowship of New Zealand Inc
  • National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of New Zealand
  • NET Ministries (National Evangelization Teams)
  • OMF New Zealand (Overseas Missionary Fellowship)

The following organisations also apply from 1 April 2008:

  • Hare Krishna Food for Life Trust
  • SIM New Zealand
  • Tandem Ministries
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Trust Board

The following organisations also apply from 1 April 2009:

  • Australian Volunteers International
  • Pioneers
  • Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Restless Development

The following organisation applies from 1 April 2010:

  • Partners Relief and Development NZ

The following organisations apply from 1 April 2012:

  • Aziza's Place
  • Engineers Without Borders New Zealand Incorporated
  • International Care Ministries Limited
  • Marist Mission Ranong
  • New Zealand Church Missionary Society Trust Board
  • Servants to Asia's Urban Poor Incorporated
  • WEC International

The following organisations apply from 1 September 2012:

  • Empower Missions Trust Incorporated
  • Troppodoc Charitable Trust

The following organisations apply from 1 September 2014:

  • ADC Incorporated
  • Aotearoa Development Cooperative
  • Kailakuri Health Care Project – New Zealand Link
  • The New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society

The following organisations apply from 1 September 2015:

  • International Justice Mission
  • Lattitude Global Volunteering Limited
  • Mercy Ships New Zealand
  • Wycliffe Bible Translators New Zealand

The following organisations apply from 14 May 2016:

  • Asian Outreach Trust
  • Hebron Missions Centre Charitable Trust
  • First Steps Himalaya

The following organisation applies from 16 November 2016:

  • Vipassana Foundation Charitable Trust

The following organisation applies from 23 November 2016:

  • Flame Cambodia

The following organisation applies from 9 December 2016:

  • The African Lion and Environmental Research Trust

The following organisation applies from 3 March 2017:

  • WorldTeach

The following organisation applies from 10 May 2017:

  • Congregation of Christian Brothers East Africa District

The following organisation applies from 01 June 2018:

  • Destiny Rescue International

The following organisation applies from 12 June 2018:

  • GC3