VET student loans

What is VET Student loans?

VET student loans is a scheme provided by the Australian Government to enable eligible full-fee paying students the opportunity to apply for a loan. Such a loan is to aid in the payment of all or part of a student’s tuition fees for a VET course of study in which the student is enrolled unless the student cancels their request for a VET student loan help with the VET provider on or before the census date for the units of study. The loan will remain as a personal debt obligation until it is repaid to the Commonwealth. The signed request for Commonwealth assistance form applies to a loan for the entire VET course of study and is charged on a unit of study basis unless the student pays some of the tuition fees.

The loan is spread across the course with 3 census dates one in each fee period. This scheme is an extension of the FEE-HELP scheme (currently applicable to university students) and extends to students studying one or more of the following courses:

  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma

How do I access VET Student loans?

After you submit an enrolment application and satisfy the student entry requirements, the Advanced Education Australia will advise the Department of Education you wish to access the VET student loan scheme.

You will receive an email from the Department with a username and password. You then create an online application. You must have your USI number and tax file number handy.Note all applications are signed electronically and the application will be treated as having been signed if the communication contains:

  • Student Identification Number
  • Student tax file number
  • An acknowledgement the student has read and understood the application
  • A confirmation by student of the accuracy of the information in the application.
  • If you are under 18 you then print out the application form and have a parent sign, and provide this to the Advanced Education Australia.
  • If a student is under 18 but is independent, proof of independence, e.g. youth allowance receipt must be provided.
  • By signing and submitting the form the person accepts that the VET provider will automatically use the VET Student Loan for those VET units of study on the invoice notice and subsequent invoice notice in relation to the units that contribute to the course unless the student advises the provider in writing that he or she does not wish to use VET student loans as his or her method of paying their tuition fees or any unit of study.

The Advanced Education Australia will issue an invoice 14 days prior to the census date for each unit of study. You will also receive a VET

Student Loan Fee Notice 14 days before course commencement.

On the census date the student will incur a VET student loan debt for the units of study contained in the invoice notice if the student has not withdrawn from the VET unit of study prior to the census date indicated on the invoice notice or has paid upfront some or all the amounts due for the VET unit of study.

What is needed to be eligible for VET Student Loans assistance?

To be eligible for VET Student Loans assistance, a student must:

  • Satisfy the entry criteria;
  • Have not been offered an inducement to undertake the qualification of study;
  • Be a full fee-paying student;
  • Be an Australian Citizen or a holder of a Permanent Humanitarian sub-class visa;
  • Be a New Zealand citizen who:
    • Holds a special category visa
    • First entered Australia as a minor under 18 years of age
    • Has lived in Australia for 8 of the last 10 years
    • Has lived in Australia for at least 18 months in the past 2 years.
  • Have a FEE-HELP balance greater than zero – that is, they have not exceeded their FEE-HELP limit;
  • Be enrolled in a unit of study that meets the course requirements;
  • Be enrolled in the unit of study on or before the census date for the unit and remain enrolled at the end of the census date;
  • Meet the Tax File Number (TFN) requirements;
  • Have completed, signed and lodged with Department of education a Request for VET student loans. This must be at least 3 days after enrolment in a unit or units of study and 14 days before the scheduled census date.
  • You will also be required to advise the Secretary of Department of Education you wish to continue to use the VET student loan scheme throughout the course.

What is the census date?

The census date of a unit of study is the last day a student can submit their Request for VET student loans assistance form to defer their tuition fees through the VET student loans scheme. It is a date the VET Provider sets which is no earlier than 20% of the way through the period in which the unit of study is undertaken. These dates are available on our website under the heading VET student loans. Census dates will apply to each of the VET units of study in which a person enrolls, with the student taking out a loan for any tuition fees that remain unpaid at the end of each census date.

How does VET student loans work?

Following the successful lodgment and assessment of a Request for VET student loans assistance form, the Australian Government will pay directly to the VET Provider, the full amount of the tuition fees associated with a student’s course. This loan is then repaid by the student via the tax system in compulsory and/or voluntary contributions. The loan may affect (by reducing) the persons take home (after tax wage) or salary until the debt is repaid, and may affect borrowing capacity of the person until the debt is repaid to the Commonwealth.

What is the entitlement under the VET student loans scheme?

Over their lifetime, a student will be able to borrow up to the amount of their FEE-HELP limit which is indexed annually by the Australian Government. Repayments do not reset the maximum that can be borrowed.
The FEE-HELP limit for 2017 is $100,879.

What does VET student loans cover?

VET student loans extends only to tuition fees. It does not cover accommodation and general living expenses. It is important to note that a loan fee of 20% applies to VET student loans. This fee is payable to the Australian Government and added to your loan for diploma and advanced diploma courses. It is also not included in the FEE-HELP limit.


Course Loan Cap loan fee of 20% Total debt would be
SHB50115 Diploma of Beauty Therapy $10,000.00 $2,000.00 $12,000.00
CUA51015 Diploma of Screen and Media $10,000.00 $2,000.00 $12,000.00
HLT52015 Diploma of Remedial Massage $10,000.00 $2,000.00 $12,000.00
CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care $10,000.00 $2,000.00 $12,000.00
SHB50216 Diploma of Salon Management $5,000.00 $1,000.00 $6,000.00
BSB50215 Diploma of Business $5,000.00 $1,000.00 $6,000.00
BSB51915 Diploma of Leadership and Management $5,000.00 $1,000.00 $6,000.00
BSB60215 Advanced Diploma of Business $5,000.00 $1,000.00 $6,000.00
BSB61015 Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management $5,000.00 $1,000.00 $6,000.00

When do the first repayments start?

A student’s first loan repayment starts when their employment income exceeds the minimum threshold permitted for the specific financial year. For the 2017 year, the VET student loans threshold level is $54,869.

What else do I need to know about VET student loans?

  • A VET student loans loan can be used to help a student articulate to university and can be applied to a student’s VET tuition fees – provided their total FEE-HELP limit has not been exceeded.
  • A student may cancel their enrolment by
    1. withdrawing from each VET unit of study on or before the census date and
    2. In accordance with our withdrawal policy (see code of practice)
  • Withdrawal will result in the student
    1. not incurring a VET student loans debt ad or
    2. receiving a refund for any upfront tuition fee payments made on or before the census date
  • Eligibility for VET student loans is not affected by previous qualifications or your study results.
  • Any debts to the commonwealth arising from his or her VET student loans remain with the student until they have been repaid by the student and it is the student’s responsibility to ensure they have sufficient FEE HELP balance to cover the VET student loans assistance amounts indicated in the invoice notice.
  • A student may wish to seek independent financial advice prior to applying for a VET student loans loan.