The Government’s pledge of $62.5 million in additional funding to New Zealand schools in 2020 will save parents of more than 416,000 students from paying school donations.

"We know how difficult it can be for parents to afford the donations that schools request. Our scheme will take the significant financial pressure off many kiwi families," Hipkins said in a statement.

Close to nine in 10 of eligible schools have signed up to the scheme in favour of a guaranteed payment of $150 per pupil from the government. 

The opt-in scheme only applies to decile 1-7 schools, as schools in the top three deciles are currently not eligible.

Hipkins said the scheme will help schools secure more funding for additional sporting equipment, technology or school trips.

“From Tai Tokerau to Southland the scheme has been recognised by almost 90 per cent of eligible schools nationwide as an opportunity to secure more funding for the things they want to do more of," he said.

"Students will get to enjoy the benefits of the additional funding without families feeling under pressure to find the money within their household budget.

"We know that every community is different and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to recognise that by giving decile 1-7 schools the opportunity to decide on the best funding option for themselves and for their communities this year and in future years.”

As part of the scheme, schools will also have access to financial advisors at the Ministry.

"As they do currently, these staff will support schools who need financial advice while they embed the donations policy for the first time," Hipkins said.

"The donations scheme is part of the Government’s plan to make education more affordable for students and families.

"It builds on us making the first year of tertiary education free, the first two years fees-free for industry training and scrapping fees for NCEA and scholarship exams."

For the full list and breakdown of schools that have opted into the scheme, visit here.