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VET Student Loans

VET Student Loans(opens in a new tab)  is a Federal Government loan scheme available to assist eligible students studying higher level Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications to pay their tuition fees by allowing students to defer payment of their tuition fees until they are employed and earning above a prescribed annual salary. The loans are then repaid through the tax system.

The intention of the Australian Government scheme is to remove the financial barriers that prevent students from commencing study. This option is currently available for students studying Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses.

VET Student Loans liability occurs on a unit of study basis, not on a course basis and students do not incur a VET Student Loan liability until after the census date has passed for each unit of study. The census date can be no earlier than 20 per cent of the way through a unit.

Full details on the scheme including eligibility requirements and application information can be found in the VET Student Loans information booklet(opens in a new tab) .

Am I eligible?

To get a VETSL debt, you must:

  • be studying with an approved course provider
  • be studying an approved course
  • be an eligible student, apply to the government using the approved form, and
  • confirm your engagement and progression to continue to access the loan throughout your course.

 VET Student Loan eligible course
 You need to enrol in a VET Student Loan eligible course  that has been approved for delivery at North Regional TAFE. VET Student Loans Eligible Courses and Caps may be subject to changes implemented by the Australian Government in 2018. 

 Your course meets the course requirements if it:

  • is specified on the VET Student Loans (courses and loan caps) determination (the courses and loan caps determination); and
  • is delivered by an approved course provider; and
  • is a qualification of diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate or graduate diploma in the Australian Qualifications Framework.

 Citizenship and residency

You are:

  • an Australian citizen, (evidence required differs according to whether you were born before, on, or after 20 August 1986 or born overseas)* or
  • a New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holder who meets the long-term residency requirements, or
  • a permanent humanitarian visa holder.

 Loan entitlements
You must not have exceeded:

If your course fee is higher than your loan cap, you will need to pay the balance directly to North Regional TAFE at enrolment.

 Academic suitability

You have been assessed by your approved course provider as academically suited to undertake the approved course by either:

  • providing your Australian Year 12 Certificate; OR
  • providing evidence of successful completion of an Australian Qualifications Framework Certificate IV or higher qualification (where the language of instruction is English); OR
  • displaying competence at Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework in both reading and numeracy through an approved Language, Literacy and Numeracy test.
  • In addition, your approved provider must reasonably believe you show competence in completing the course.

 Under 18 students
If you are under 18 when requesting a VET Student Loan, you must submit:

  •   A signed Parental Consent Form or
  •   A Centrelink income statement showing that you receive Youth Allowance at the independent rate.

Information for the student

Other requirements

You must provide: 

  • Your Unique Student Identifier ( USI) and
  • An Australian Tax File Number (TFN) or 

Students born before 20 August 1986 who do not have a current Australian Passport must provide their full birth certificate as issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Students born on or after 20 August 1986 and one of their parents was an Australian citizen at the time of their birth who do not have a current Australian Passport must provide their full birth certificate as issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages showing that one parent was born in Australia before 20 August 1986.

*  Students born on or after 20 August 1986 whose parent was born in Australia after this date, then the parent's full birth certificate as issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriage must be supplied.

Students born on or after 20 August 1986 and one of their parents was a permanent resident of Australia at the time of their birth and who do not have a current Australian Passport must provide their Australian Citizenship Certificate. 

Students born on or after 20 August 1986 and neither parent was an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of their birth and who have spent the first 10 years of their life in Australia and who do not have a current Australian Passport must provide their Australian Citizenship Certificate. 

Students born overseas and have acquired Australian Citizenship must provide one of the following documents: current Australian Passport; Australian Citizenship Certificate or a Citizenship by Descent Extract. 

**  For New Zealand citizen eligibility requirements please visit the Study Assist(opens in a new tab)  website for detailed information on the long term residency requirements.

***  Students can check if their visa class is eligible by visiting the Department of Home Affairs website (opens in a new tab)  to use VEVO.

  •  If your name differs on any documents, then official proof of name change documents must also be supplied.
  • You must supply all your eligibility evidence at interview and enrolment or as soon as possible so that your loan application is not delayed.

You may apply at any time throughout your study, however the loan can only be approved for units with a future census date. To apply for a VET Student Loan, you must complete the following steps.

NOTE All the supporting documents need to be submitted at least 16 days before your first Census Date.

1.   VET Student Loans information

You must download and read the VET Student Loans Information Handbook(opens in a new tab)  to ensure you are aware of your obligations under VET Student Loans.  

 2.   VET Student Loan Eligibility and other documents 

If you are under 18, a parent/guardian consent form must be completed and submitted along with your supporting evidence. Please complete a parental consent form. 

Bring this document and the supporting evidence to enrolment or provide in an email to:

3.  VET Student Loan application to the Commonwealth 

If you are eligible for a VETSL debt, after enrolment, we will then submit your request to the government via the Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF). They will communicate to you via your personal email and provide you with an access code and link to eCAF.
You must log into eCAF to submit your application for a VETSL debt at least 16 days before Census Date.

Please note than you must wait at least two full business days after enrolment before submitting the eCAF. 
Once your VETSL debt has been approved, you will receive confirmation from North Regional TAFE that your units are attached to your loan.  We will contact you if the government does not approve your loan.

IF the eCAF is not submitted prior to first census date then NR TAFE may cancel your enrolment until such time that you can provide the needed information and submit the form.
We will provide a VET Student Loan FEE Notice at least 14 days before your first Census date. The notice will show your unit fees, any upfront payment that you have already made, the census date and the VETSL debt that you will incur on the census date.
IMPORTANT Please carefully check the details on your notice and notify Student Services before the first census date if there are any errors.

The total amount that eligible students may borrow over their lifetime is capped by the VETSL debt (opens in a new tab) set by the Commonwealth. 
All loans incurred under the VET Student Loan scheme will reduce your VETSL limit and the amount you have left to borrow is known as your VETSL balance.    
You start repaying your VETSL debt to the Australian Government through the tax system once your taxable income reaches the minimum repayment threshold.(opens in a new tab)

Loan cap and additional fees
Each eligible course has a VET Student Loan cap, which is the maximum amount you can borrow to study that course. Please refer to the course list provided on the My Skills website(opens in a new tab)  for eligible courses, tuition fees.
NOTE VET Student Loans Eligible Courses and Caps may be subject to changes implemented by the Australian Government in 2018.

If your VET Student Loan is approved for a course, where the total tuition fee is higher than the loan cap, you will need to pay the fee gap directly to North Regional TAFE.

The approved course VET Student loan amount cannot exceed the total amount of your remaining VETSL balance. 
Please note that VET Student Loans for Fee-for-Service or commercial courses attract a 20% loan fee which will be added to your HELP-debt.
There is no loan fee for State funded courses.
It is important that you understand your fees, payment options and future financial obligations when taking out a VET Student Loan. 
The Study Assist (opens in a new tab) website has detailed information about VETSL debts and repayments, or you can download the VET Student Loan Handbook(opens in a new tab)  from the Department of Education and Training Website. 
You may wish to seek independent financial advice before applying for a loan.
Census date or census day
All students enrolled in a VET Student Loan eligible diploma will have at least three main census dates for all units within the course. The tuition fees for your course will be spread across a minimum of three fee periods (census dates), so you incur debt as you progress through your course. Students who enrol part time/flexible will generate different census dates as they progress through the course.  

As a general guide, the census dates for different diplomas commencing delivery are listed below. Students should check their individual enrolments in the student portal and on their enrolment confirmation report for census dates specific to their units, as these may vary.

Each unit of enrolment will have a census date, which is the last day you can withdraw from that unit without incurring the unit fees for that enrolment.
If you withdraw formally from units by the census day, you will not incur a VETSL debt for those units. North Regional TAFE will refund you any tuition fees that you may have paid upfront for those units. For further information regarding the withdrawal process please see Withdrawals and Refunds (247 KB) (PDF document - opens in a new tab)

VET Student Loan Invoice Notice and Statement of Covered Fees Notice
Before each census date North Regional TAFE will provide you with an invoice notice. It will show your unit fees, any upfront payment that you have already made, the census date and the VETSL debt that you will incur on the census date.
Check this notice and advise us of any anomalies or errors in your enrolment, fees or contact details before the census date.
Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) 
We will also send you a CAN within 28 days after the census day to confirm the amount of loan debt you have incurred. The notice will include your unit tuition fees, any upfront payments you have made, and any VET Student Loan you have used for that study period.
Cancel your VET Student Loan
If you no longer wish to pay your unit fees using a VET Student Loan, you must notify via email If you choose to cancel your VET Student Loan, you must pay by the due date.

The Australian Government has introduced the VET Student Loan Progression process to ensure that you are engaged in the training related to your VET Student Loan.

Students continuing with the same course

Once you have a VET Student Loan approved for your course, you can add the fees for new units you enrol in (only for the same course). This will not happen automatically, you will need to let us know when you enrol that you want to continue to add your fees to your VETSL debt (email

Requirements to add to your VET Student Loan are:

  1. Under the cap for your course loan. You can add new units or re-enrol units until you reach the loan cap. Once you reach the loan cap you will need to pay for your fees upfront in full or set up a payment plan.
  2. Complete and submit all your VET Student Loan Progressions.

 To continue to be eligible for a VET Student Loan, you will need to submit a VET Student Loan Progression form through the eCAF system approximately every four months. Vet Student Loan Progression periods are February, June and October. 
During each VET Student Loan Progression period:

  • An email will be sent to your personal email account with a link to the VET Student Loan Progression form and
  • You have two weeks to complete the form

If you do not complete the VET Student Loan Progression Form, you may be unable to continue accessing the VET Student Loan to pay your fees. This means that you will need to pay your tuition fees directly to North Regional TAFE if you want to continue studying your course.
Keep your contact details up to date
It is important that you inform us about changes to your contact details as we will send you important information about your VETSL debt via your email and postal address.