The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and Te Puni Kokiri expressed worries to the Government about the effects of student loan changes on Maori and Pasifika students.
Budget papers reveal that changes made to the student loan scheme will lead to a 10% drop in those groups' participation in tertiary study.
The Government changed the scheme in the Budget so that students must pass at least 50% of their full-time courses over two years in order to be able to keep on borrowing.
Eligibility for interest-free loans is also now restricted to seven years for an undergraduate degree.
Te Puni Kokiri said the performance criteria are at odds with the declared intent of the Tertiary Education Strategy to encourage more Maori and Pasifika students into study.