VET Student Loans
What is a VET Student Loan?
The VET Student Loans (VSL) program replaced the VET FEE-HELP loan program from 1 January 2017.
Through this Commonwealth Government program, you can access loans for courses that:
- Meet industry needs
- Lead to employment outcomes
- Assist in addressing skills shortages
- Have a high national priority
The VSL program has caps on the loan amount you can borrow. If your fees are above the loan cap, you will need to pay the difference. If you are affected by loan caps, you will be advised of this during your enrolment. Please note, that loan caps are indexed annually in accordance with the VET Student Loans Act 2016.
How Does it Work?
Eligible students can repay their tuition loan fees for approved diplomas or advanced diplomas using the VET Student Loan program.
You can either:
- Repay all your tuition loan fees (up to the loan cap limit) when your income reaches the repayment threshold
- Pay some of your tuition loan fees upfront and repay the balance when your income reaches the repayment threshold.
You repay your loan through the Australian tax system when you reach the minimum income threshold for repayment. The minimum income threshold for repayment is set by the Government each year and is published on Study Assist in the VET Student Loans information booklet. There is a loan fee of 20% for full fee-paying students. There is no loan fee for eligible students in some NSW Government subsidised (Smart and Skilled) training places.
Please be aware that your loan remains a personal debt until it is repaid, and it may reduce your take-home (after tax) pay and your borrowing capacity. You might wish to seek independent financial advice before applying.
For more information about the fees for Government subsidised training places, please visit Smart and Skilled – Prices, fees and subsidies. Centrelink benefits do not affect your eligibility or the loan amount you can access. Fee concessions are not available for Diploma and above courses. However, fee exemptions may be available for eligible students in a Smart and Skilled place. Please contact the college for further information.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible, you must:
- Be an Australian citizen, or
- Hold an eligible permanent humanitarian visa and usually reside in Australia, or
- Be a New Zealand citizen on Special Category Visa (SCV subclass 444) who meets the long-term residency requirements.
* Holders of other permanent visas and temporary visas are NOT eligible for a VET Student Loan
To be eligible, you must:
- Have a tax file number or be applying for one
- Have a Unique Student Identifier (USI)
- Intend to study your course in Australia
- Meet the academic suitability requirements of the VET Student Loans Student Entry procedure
- Have a Commonwealth Higher Education Support Number (CHESSN)
- Not have exceeded your lifetime Commonwealth student loan limit, which is set each year by the Commonwealth
- Have read the VET Student Loans information booklet.
- Have given any requested documentation to H&H and submitted the Commonwealth loan application online form (eCAF) by the first census day no less than two business days after enrolling (see How do I apply)
- Comply with ongoing Commonwealth engagement and progression requests to log on to complete the online student engagement form to confirm that you are a genuine student, continuing to study and the progress in your course. You will get these requests two or three times a year, depending on how long your course is. If you do not complete the form and survey within the required time, you may be ineligible to continue accessing VET Student Loans to pay for the remainder of your course tuition fees.
Lifetime Loan Limit
The lifetime loan limit is the total amount you can incur in your lifetime under any Commonwealth HELP student loan scheme – whether it is Higher Education FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or a VET Student Loan. It is indexed each year, in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2017, the lifetime loan limit is $102,392 for most students can view their loan obligations by logging into the Study Assist website. You will need your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) to log in.
What is a Unique Student Identifier (USI)?
All students studying in a nationally recognised training course are required to have a USI. If you already have one, please ensure you use this same USI whenever you enrol for any training. If you don’t have a USI, go to https://www.usi.gov.au/ to register before you apply to enrol, or you can apply as part of your enrolment. Refer to how to create a USI for more information and assistance.
New Zealand Citizens
The residency requirements for New Zealand citizens on a Special Category Visa are:
- You first began living in Australia at least 10 years before applying for a loan, and at that time, were a child under 18 years of age and did not have a spouse or de-facto partner.
- You have been in Australia for at least eight of the 10 years immediately prior to applying and at least 18 months of the last two years.
You will need to provide evidence of your eligibility before requesting a VET Student Loan.
Is a VET Student Loan available for my course?
You can access the VET Student Loan for the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care CHC50113 at h&h Accredited Training. You can use the VET Student Loans for full-time, part-time and distance education study.
If the price for the Diploma is above the maximum loan you can borrow, the office will advise you of other available payment arrangements when you inquire about your course.
VET Student Loan Tuition Fees are published as required under the VET Student Loans Act 2016 and are regularly updated.
How do I Apply?
As a VET Student Loan is an agreement between you and the Commonwealth Government, to apply for a VET Student loan:
- You must meet all eligibility requirements for the loan
- h&h will advise the Commonwealth that you wish to apply, if you are accepted into the Diploma course,
- The Commonwealth will then email your log on details and password to access the online loan application
- You will need to provide your valid Tax File Number (TFN) during your application. If you don’t have a TFN, you can apply at most Australia Post outlets. A valid Tax File Number means that the details you provide to h&h must match those held with the Australian Tax Office. If you provide an invalid Tax File Number, you will not be able to access a VET Student Loan for your tuition fees.
- Your loan application is not the same as your enrolment with h&h. The Commonwealth Government requires that there is a two-day cooling off period between your enrolment and applying for a loan.
- The course you apply for will have a census day, which is the last day you can apply for a loan for the fees for that period, so make sure you complete your application on time.
You must ensure that you understand the terms and conditions before you make a commitment. You must read the VET Student Loan information available on StudyAssist, the Commonwealth Department of Education website for students and consider seeking independent financial advice.
During your study, you may be contacted again by the Government to confirm your engagement and progression in your course and confirm that you wish to continue to use your VET Student Loan to pay your tuition fees for the course. It is important that you advise h&h if any of your personal or contact details change during your study. Further information regarding the VET Student Loan engagement and progression process is available on the Commonwealth Department of Education website. If you fail to complete the engagement and progression process, you will be unable to continue access to a VET Student Loan for your tuition fees.
There are no age restrictions to apply for a VET Student Loan. If you are under 18, you must complete one of the following requirements:
- Your parent or guardian must sign the Commonwealth’s parental consent form for your loan. This is available from your college or on the Commonwealth Department of Education website. You must provide this form to your college before you can apply for a loan. OR
- If you are independent and are receiving Youth Allowance on that basis, you must provide your Centrelink Income Statement noting your independent assessment.
Your parent or guardian will not be responsible for making loan repayments and it will not affect their credit rating.
Student Entry Procedure
All students wishing to apply for a Commonwealth VET Student Loan must be assessed for academic suitability to undertake a high level VET qualification. This is to ensure that you have the skills and knowledge to succeed in your course.
Academic assessment is in addition to any other entry requirements, or other additional selection criteria for your course. Refer to the VET Student Loans Student Entry Procedure.
To be assessed as academically suitable, you must either:
- Provide a copy of your senior secondary certificate of education (that has been awarded by an Australian authority or agency), or
- Provide evidence of attainment of an Australian Qualification Framework qualification at certificate 4 or above. You may provide a transcript from your previous provider or a transcript from the national USI register (for qualifications attained from 2015), or
- Undertake an approved literacy and numeracy assessment and be competent at Exit Level 3 or above in reading and numeracy. We college will assist you through the process to undertake this assessment if required. You will not be charged any money for this.
If you have completed previous studies, you could be eligible for reduced fees. You should let h&h know immediately if you have experience in the area you are studying and think you may qualify for RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning). You can also discuss this with a trainer prior to enrolling. Refer to the Credit Transfer Policy.
How will my Course Fees be Charged?
- Fees for courses eligible for VET Student Loans are charged by Units of competency within a block. Your course will have at least three blocks and your payments will be spread across the duration of your course. Each block has a census day, set at no less than 20% into the block. Refer to the attached Schedule of VET Tuition Fees for more information.
- You will be sent an Invoice Notice 14 days before each census day, indicating your fees and census dates. Your debt is incurred on the day after the census day. After a census day has passed, H&H will also send you a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) for that block. The CAN will provide you with information about your debt, including the loan fee if applicable. If you believe your CAN is incorrect, you should contact the college immediately.
- There is a gap between the course fee and the loan cap that the Commonwealth will allow for your course. You will be advised of this when you enquire, and also about other payment options that are available. You can apply for a payment plan and pay any gap fee prior to the census date in order to finalise your payment for that block.
- Please note that a 20% loan fee will apply for full fee paying students.
How do I Pay Back the Loan?
- You repay your loan through the tax system when your income is above the minimum repayment threshold. Repayment thresholds are adjusted each year to reflect changes in average weekly earnings. The minimum repayment income threshold for 2017-18 is $55,874.
- A VET Student Loan is a personal debt that can affect your credit rating and have wage and tax repayment implications. From 1 July 2017, all existing and future debtors from any Commonwealth student loan program who move overseas must make compulsory HELP repayments. If you are living overseas and earning an income that exceeds the minimum repayment threshold, you will be required to make compulsory repayments towards your debt. Please refer to the ATO website for more information.
- For a summary of the important information you need to know, read or download go to the Commonwealth Study Assist website.
Rights and Responsibilities
If you are considering applying for a VET Student Loan, you should familiarise yourself with your obligations by reading the VET Student Loan information booklet.
Further information is available at:
- To ensure fair treatment for students, H&H has policies on a range of issues including student selection, entry requirements, assessment and equal opportunity.
Grievance procedures for academic and non-academic matters
- h&h undertakes to deal with complaints and grievances in a timely manner. You are entitled to raise concerns about your academic results or appeal a result. Further information can be found on the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy.
- You may further raise a concern or grievance about harassment, vilification, discrimination, misuse of personal information, financial matters, course applications or any other matter of concern to you.
- Complaints to h&h are managed in accordance with Complaint Management Policy.
- In the first instance, you could speak with a trainer or Team Leader. They may be able to resolve your complaint or provide you with a Suggestion or Complaints Form. Otherwise, you can make a complaint by submitting the Complaint Form to the General Manager.
If you are still not satisfied with the outcome and your complaint is specifically related to a VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loan, you can contact the NSW VET Student Loans Ombudsman on 1300 362 072.
Withdrawals and Refunds
If you choose to withdraw, you may be entitled to a refund of any up-front payment you’ve made, or re-credit of your loan balance if you have taken a Commonwealth loan.
- Tuition fees and refunds – information for students
You must withdraw in writing by completing the appropriate withdrawal form:
- VET Student Loans Withdrawal Application
The loan amount you incur will depend on the timing of your withdrawal. There are no penalties if you withdraw on or before the census day. However, once a census day has passed, the loan amount for the Unit of Study is incurred.
- In some special circumstances, you may apply to have your debt reversed.
- Application to Re-credit a FEE-HELP Balance form
Students also have the right to apply for a review of a decision not to re-credit a loan balance. See the VET Student Loans Review Procedures.
If h&h ceases to provide a course in which you are enrolled, h&h will ensure that you are offered enrolment in a similar course of study.
Alternatively, h&h will:
- Refund any upfront payment and act in accordance with the Statement of VET Tuition Assurance for VET Student Loans
When you enroll at H&H the collection, storage, use and disclosure of any personal information you provide are protected by legislation.