VET Student Loans

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VET Student Loans from 1 January 2017

The Commonwealth government has announced a re-design of the current VET FEE-HELP loan scheme from 1 January 2017. The new VET Student Loans program will replace the existing scheme from 1 January 2017.

Course eligibility for VET Student Loans is limited to courses that have a high national priority, meet industry needs, contribute to addressing skills shortages and lead to employment outcomes. Further information and the eligible VET Student Loans course list are available from the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training website


Are you keen to study at TAFE NSW but not sure if you can afford the course fees?

VET Student Loans

Are you keen to study at TAFE NSW but not sure you can afford the course fees?

Depending on the course of study, assistance may be available.

If you are eligible, we can assist you to apply for a VET Student Loan.

What is a VET Student Loan?

A VET Student Loan is a Commonwealth Government loan scheme that allows eligible students to study now and pay later, once they reach a defined income level. It helps eligible vocational education and training students cover their fees for eligible Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses.

VET Student Loan assistance is a loan from the Commonwealth and has the following features:

  • the loan will remain as a personal debt obligation until it is repaid to the Commonwealth.
  • the loan may affect (by reducing) the person’s take-home (after Tax) wage or salary until the debt is repaid, and may also affect the borrowing capacity of the person until the debt is repaid to the Commonwealth.
  • the signed request for a VET Student loan form applies to a loan for the entire VET course of study, charged on a unit of study basis, unless the student elects to pay some of the tuition fees up front.
  • Census dates will apply to each of the VET units of study, in which the person enrols, with the student taking out a loan for tuition fees that remain unpaid at the end of each census date.

A student may cancel their enrolment by:

Withdrawal will result in the student:

  • Not incurring a VET Student loan debt; and/or
  • receiving a refund for any up-front tuition fee payments made on or before the census date.

Important note:

Students may wish to seek independent advice prior to applying for a VET Student loan.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for VET Student loan you must:

  • Be an Australian citizen or a permanent humanitarian visa holder who will be resident in Australia for the duration of study
  • Be a New Zealand citizen on a Special Category Visa (SCV subclass 444) who meets the long-term residency requirements.*
  • Meet the academic suitability requirements of the TAFE NSW VET Student loan Entry Procedure
  • Provide a tax file number
  • Not exceed your FEE-HELP loan limit
  • Provide, or be allocated, a Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) – a unique identifying number provided by the Australian government
Residency requirements for New Zealand citizens on a Special Category Visa:
  • arrived in Australia at least 10 years ago as a dependent child under 18 years of age and did not have a spouse or de-facto partner; and
  • ordinarily resident in Australia for the previous 10 years (that is, they have been physically present in Australia or at least eight of the past 10 years) and
  • lived in Australia for at least 18 months of the last two years at the time of application for the loan.

TAFE NSW VET Student Loan Entry Procedure

In accordance with the Higher Education Support (VET FEE-HELP) Bill 2015 and the associated VET Guidelines 2015, all students wishing to apply for a Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP student loan must be assessed for academic suitability to undertake a high level VET qualification. This is a student protection measure introduced by the Commonwealth Government from 1 January 2016.

Click here for more information on the Student Entry Procedure.

Is a VET Student Loan available for my course?

VET Student loans are available for higher-level qualifications offered by TAFE NSW:

  • all TAFE NSW Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas
  • eligible TAFE NSW Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas

Credit transfer

Many TAFE NSW qualifications can earn you credit towards a Degree at universities or higher education organisations across Australia. The amount of credit you may receive depends on the agreed arrangements (called articulation arrangements) for your qualification and the higher education qualification you want to do.

How do I pay back the loan?

You repay your VET Student loan through the Australian tax system when you reach the minimum income threshold for repayment. Information about the minimum income threshold is available in the VET Student Loans information booklet 2017.

HELP debts are managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Please contact the ATO on 13 28 61 to find out the balance of your HELP debt. Be sure to have your tax file number (TFN) handy when you call.

How do I apply?

As with any loan you take in your lifetime, you must understand the terms and conditions before you sign up. Please read the Commonwealth VET Student loan Information booklet carefully. Please also consider taking independent financial advice.

If you decide that taking a VET Student Loan is the best way for you to pay for your studies, you will not be able to apply for a loan at the same time as you enrol. It is a Commonwealth requirement that at least two business days elapse between enrolment and applying for a loan. Most students are able to apply for a loan online. Your TAFE NSW location will send you a link when your eligibility is confirmed. Some students who need to provide evidence to support their eligibility, will be given a hard copy Request for VET Student Loan Assistance.

To apply for a VET Student Loan, you should:

  1. Read the VET Student Loan Information Booklet
  2. Complete an "Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form" (eCAF) or where this is not possible, complete a "Request for VET Student Loan" form, which is available from your local TAFE NSW location
  3. Learners under 18 must complete a hard copy of the "Request VET Student Loan" and have the signed parental consent section completed.

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 also available in the TAFE NSW - VET Student Loan Policy.

VET Student Loan Information Booklet

TAFE NSW provides fair treatment and ensures equal benefits and opportunities for students who are entitled to VET Student Loan assistance.

Fair treatment

To ensure fair treatment for students, TAFE NSW has policies on a range of issues including student selection, entry requirements, assessment and equal opportunity.

TAFE NSW policies

Grievance procedures for academic matters

TAFE NSW undertakes to deal with grievances promptly. You are entitled to raise any concerns about your academic results or appeal a result.

In the first instance, you should talk to your teacher for more information about the appeals process.

Grievance procedures for non-academic matters

You may raise a concern or grievance for a range of non-academic matters, including harassment, vilification, discrimination, misuse of personal information, financial matters and course applications.

You may report your grievance to a teacher, counsellor or other support officer.

Non-academic grievance procedures

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.

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.

Students also have the right to apply for a review of a decision not to re-credit a loan balance.

More information

Contact your local TAFE NSW location

Tuition Assurance

If TAFE NSW ceases to provide a course in which you are enrolled, TAFE NSW will ensure that you are offered enrolment in a similar course of study. Alternatively, TAFE NSW will:

  • Refund any upfront payment for any unit of study due to TAFE NSW ceasing to offer that course
  • Re-credit your FEE-HELP balance for the affected unit
  • Act in accordance with the Statement of VET Tuition Assurance.

More information on tuition assurance can be found here.

Personal information

When you enrol at TAFE NSW, the collection, storage, use and disclosure of any personal information you provide are protected by legislation.

For more information, see:

Student rights and responsibilities

VET Student Loans – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

VET Student Loans

VET Student Loans - Agents

Ducere School of Leadership act as agents for TAFE NSW Illawarra. The duration of this contract is until August 2019.  The course offerings and census dates can be found here: