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NZDF helps son stick to study

Bachelor of Arts student Aiden Wilson has the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to thank for helping him stick to his study.

01 August, 2022

While not a member himself, Aiden has been able to study at Massey University with the same benefits as a serving member, made possible through his dad, an Operational Watch Keeper in the Tactical Operations Centre at Base Ohakea.   

NZDF members are able to access discounts on course fees through the Force4Families website.  This opportunity extends to ex-serving personnel, veterans and the immediate dependants of NZDF members, like Aiden, as part of the NZDF/Massey partnership.

For the 21-year-old, now in his third year of a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Media Studies and Creative Writing, the access to discounted course fees has made it easier for him to stick it out through the challenging days of university life.

“Of course, there’s the Government’s first year fees free to get you started. But after that, study is paid for out of your own pocket or by getting a student loan.  Knowing I could study with access to discounted course fees has been a big factor in me sticking around.  It's been such a help financially,” he says.

While surrounded by great memories of Air Force life, like the school holiday programmes at Ohakea, Aiden chose to pursue his love for music instead of a military career… or at least that was the plan.

In 2020, Aiden moved from Palmerston North to Wellington to study Music Technology as part of a Bachelor of Commercial Music at Massey’s College of Creative Arts.  Due to unforeseen circumstances and COVID-19, Aiden moved back to Palmerston North during his first year.  

Unfortunately, the Music Technology major wasn’t available as a distance course option so he switched to a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Media Studies – something else he discovered he really loves.

“In 2020 was fees free for me because it was my first year.  In 2021 I decided to pay the fees out of my own pocket because I didn't want to have a huge student loan later on.  The NZDF discount meant I was paying less upfront, financially it’s been a game changer.”

Once he graduates, Aiden would love to land a job working for an alternative media outlet.  He’s currently building up work experience for his CV as a staff writer for Massey’s student magazine, Massive.  

In 2020, Massey and the NZDF signed a Relationship Agreement enabling NZDF personnel and their immediate dependants to access opportunities and benefits such as special tuition rates when enrolling in any qualification with Massey.

Aiden wants to help grow awareness of this great opportunity with other eligible NZDF family members, like himself, so they too can take advantage of it to pursue their passion.   

“Thanks to the NZDF and Massey, it's been such a big help to me.  It's a nice incentive to keep me pushing through the university hardship but also it’s such a fantastic programme to be on.”

For more information visit the Force4Families website.