VET Student Loans

VET Student Loans is an Australian Government loan program that helps eligible students in approved courses pay their tuition fees. The information available on this page is specific to eligible students who intend to apply for a VET Student Loan with TAFE SA. If you receive and accept an offer to study, we will communicate with you throughout the enrolment process to assist you in progressing your application.

If you intend to apply, you are required to:
  • read the information available on this page, and
  • watch all 3 videos provided, and
  • complete and submit the acknowledgement of understanding (located at the bottom of this page).
All steps must be completed to ensure you understand your obligations, evidence requirements, and the application process.

If you are seeking general information about the VET Student Loan program please refer to the TAFE SA Website.
 
 
 

Preparing to apply for a VET Student Loan

  • It is important you read the information available in this section to familiarise yourself with your obligations. You must also read the VET Student Loans Information Booklet before applying for a VET Student Loan.

    • As an approved provider, TAFE SA will assess your eligibility for a VET Student Loan.
    • If you are deemed eligible, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment may approve your VET Student Loan application. The Department of Education, Skills and Employment will pay your loan directly to TAFE SA as the training provider.
    • You will have a debt with the Australian Government for the loan, which will be managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It’s important to know that you will have a debt even if you don’t complete your study.
    • Depending on which course you study, different maximum loan amounts apply. These are called loan caps. You can’t borrow more than the relevant loan cap for your course. You will be responsible for any gap amount in the tuition fees, which are not covered by the loan.
    • A maximum HELP loan limit also applies. If you already have a student loan debt, you can use the myHELPbalance portal to check your available HELP balance.
    • Full fee paying students are charged a 20% loan fee by the Commonwealth on their tuition fees. This loan fee is not included in the capped amount or FEE-HELP balance.
    • Your loan will not incur interest like a bank loan, however annual indexation does apply, so your initial debt may increase over time.
    • You will have to start repaying your VET Student Loan debt through the tax system once you start earning a certain amount, even if you’re still studying. The compulsory repayment threshold is adjusted each year. Your repayment amount will depend on what you earn and will vary from 1% to 10% of your income.
    • The loan may reduce your take-home (after tax) wage or salary. It may also affect your borrowing capacity until the debt is repaid.
    • Each VET Student Loan application is only for a single qualification by national code. If you commence a different qualification, or transition to a replacement qualification, you will need to complete a new application.
    • The information that you provide will be held by TAFE SA for at least 10 years and may be provided to the Commonwealth if requested.
    • You may wish to seek independent advice before applying for a VET Student Loan.
    Further information regarding your obligations can be found at Department of Education, Skills and Employment – Information for VET Student Loans Students.
  • You must meet the Academic Suitability, and Citizenship and Residency requirements detailed under Student Entry Requirements to be eligible to apply for a VET Student Loan.

    The Qualification you are studying must also be listed on the MySkills website as VET Student Loans (Course and Loans Caps) eligible and TAFE SA as an approved provider.

    You can use the VET Student Loans Eligibility Tool on the mySkills website to see if you may be eligible for a VET Student Loan. If you require further assistance with confirming your eligibility, please contact the VET Student Loan team on 1800 882 661.

Applying for a VET Student Loan

If you receive and accept an offer to study an approved course, we will send you an email with instructions to start the VET Student Loans application process. This includes submitting your Acknowledgement of Understanding and providing your academic evidence and citizenship and residency documents. You are also required to submit an online application called the electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form, or eCAF.
  • You are required to submit an Acknowledgement of Understanding to progress your VET Student Loan application and acknowledge that you understand your obligations, evidence requirements and the application process. If you are studying more than one qualification, you are required to complete an Acknowledgement of Understanding for each qualification.

    The Acknowledgement of Understanding form is available at the bottom of this page and must be submitted at least 3 business days before your first Census date. If you are unsure or would like clarification on any part of the Acknowledgement of Understanding, please select 'No' and we will be in contact with you.
  • What documents do I need to provide as evidence?

    You are required to supply one of the following documents as academic evidence:
      • Australian Year 12 Certificate issued to you by the SACE Board of South Australia or equivalent in another state; OR
      • Competence at or above Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework (the Core Skills Profile for Adults (CSPA) can be used to meet this criteria); OR
      • Copy of a qualification at Certificate IV level or above in the Australian Qualifications Framework, that has been delivered in English; OR
      • International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB) diploma.

    How do I submit my evidence documents?

    If you are attending an on-campus Information and Enrolment event, bring your documents with you to your event. If you are attending an online event or phone counselling appointment, return via email to programsupport.vsl@tafesa.edu.au.

    All documents that you supply need to have your current legal name, if you have documents in a previous name you will need to supply additional evidence e.g. marriage certificate or change of name certificate issued by Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM).

    Please note that your document submissions of eligibility are not accepted until they are assessed by the VET Student Loan team. You will be advised via your nominated personal email if your submissions have not met the requirements or if additional evidence is required.

    If you are unable to meet any of these requirements, you will not be eligible to apply for a VET Student Loan.
  • What documents do I need to provide as evidence?

      • If you are an Australian Citizen you can supply a current Australian Passport as evidence of being an Australian Citizen. If you do not have a current Australian Passport the evidence required to demonstrate you are an Australian citizen may differ depending on your date or location of birth. This may include providing your Australian Birth Certificate or Australian Citizenship Certificate. Other documentations may also be required to confirm your eligibility. Please review the VET Student Loans Student Entry Procedure on the TAFE SA Website for further information on alternative documentation.

      • If you are a permanent humanitarian visa holder you must provide evidence of an eligible visa issued by Australian Commonwealth Government, numbered 200 to 204 or 866 and evidence that you will be a resident in Australia for the duration of the course. Check visa details and conditions.

      • If you are a qualifying New Zealand citizen you must provide
        • holds a special visa category, such as the New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV)
        • has been usually resident in Australia for at least 10 years
        • was a dependent child under 18 years of age when he or she was first usually resident in Australia
        •  has been in Australia for periods totalling 8 years during the previous 10 years; and
        • has been in Australia for periods totalling 18 months during the previous 2 years
        You can obtain copies of your international movement records from the Department of Home Affairs by lodging a Request for International Movement Records form.

    How do I submit my evidence documents?

    If you are attending an On Campus Information and Enrolment Event, bring your documents with you to your event. If you are attending an online event or phone counselling appointment, take your documents to your nearest TAFE SA campus where a TAFE SA staff member will verify your documents and forward them to the VSL team for processing. Alternatively you can have your documents verified by a Justice of the Peace and return via email to programsupport.vsl@tafesa.edu.au.

    All documents that you supply need to have your current legal name, if you have documents in a previous name you will need to supply additional evidence e.g. marriage certificate or change of name certificate issued by Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM).

    Please note that your document submissions of eligibility are not accepted until they are verified and assessed by the VET Student Loan team. You will be advised via your nominated personal email if your submissions have not met the requirements or if additional evidence is required.

    If you are unable to meet any of these requirements, you will not be eligible to apply for a VET Student Loan.
  • The Census date is the last date you can apply for a VET Student Loan. The Census date is also the last date which eligible students can withdraw from a unit of study (CRN) without incurring a debt for that unit of study.

    Each CRN you register into may have a different Census date. In order for a CRN to be paid for by your VET Student Loan your application for a VET Student Loan must be completed and finalised before the CRN Census date. Any CRNs that have passed their Census dates become ineligible for a VET Student Loan and you will be required to pay for those fees upfront.

    To ensure CRNs meet eligibility requirements you must register at least 15 days before the Census date of each CRN. Failure to register in time will mean fees cannot be deferred to a VET Student Loan and fees will need to be paid upfront. For guidance on selecting the correct start date, you can access the Census date calculator. The Census date calculator is available via the Census Date Calculator link on the Self-Service Banner (SSB) homepage.

    Eligible students will receive a VET Student Loan fee notice at least 14 days before the Census date and at most 42 days before the nominated start date of a specific CRN. VET Student Loan fee notice provides information to students including the unit of study tuition fees to be incurred. It is a Commonwealth requirement that TAFE SA issues these notices, you will receive a fee notice for any eligible CRNs that fall in to the above time period.

    For more information see What is the Census Date?
  • During the application process, you will need to confirm details with the Commonwealth in relation to your tuition fees. VET Student Loan Fee Advice
    The fee advice will include the following breakdown of fees:

    VET Student Loans Qualification Cap – the specified loan cap for your qualification, determined by the Commonwealth.

    Amount Over Loans Cap – if your tuition fee exceeds the loan cap for your qualification, you are required to pay this amount upfront.

    Student Contribution – this amount includes: the tuition fee for any CRN’s that have passed Census and require payment, or an amount you have elected to pay upfront, or any grants received. This amount does not include upfront amounts over the loan cap.

    Loans Fee Amount – full fee paying students are charged a 20% loan fee by the Commonwealth. This loan fee is not included in the capped amount or FEE-HELP balance. The loan fee does not apply to subsidised students.

    Remaining tuition fees to be paid – total of the ‘Student Contribution’ and ‘Amount Over Loans Cap’ (if applicable).

    Total tuition fees for the qualification (inc. upfront payment) – total cost of your qualification.

    Total amount to be covered by VET Student Loans – expected balance of your VET Student Loan on completion of your qualification. Please note indexation is applied to loan caps on 1 January each year.
  • Once you have completed and submitted your Acknowledgement of Understanding, provided approved eligibility documentation and have been deemed eligible for a VET Student Loan, TAFE SA will request the Commonwealth send you a link to complete your application online. This is called the eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form). The eCAF is your VET Student Loan application. You will need to include your tax file number, or TFN, to complete your eCAF.

    You must submit your eCAF on or before the first Census day. To complete:

      1. Log in to your eCAF – your eCAF login details will be emailed to your VET Student Loans nominated personal email from the ECAF system
      2. Check your details are correct – if not, please contact the VET Student Loan team on 1800 882 661
      3. Provide your Tax File Number (TFN)
      4. Submit – once complete
    You will receive a completion of eCAF email as confirmation of your application.

    The eCAF application applies to your loan for the entire VET course of study, charged on a unit by unit basis, unless you pay some of the tuition fees upfront. If you do not successfully complete this application, or if the Census date for a CRN has passed before your eCAF is submitted, fees for that CRN will need to be paid up front.

Continuing or stopping your VET Student Loan

Once you have been through the eligibility/application process successfully and have been verified for VET Student Loan (have an eCAF) you are required to meet all of the conditions laid out by the Commonwealth Government to access and to continue to have your tuition fees allocated to your VET Student Loan up to the total of your designated course CAP.
  • Once your VET Student Loan application has been approved, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment requires you to communicate your agreement to continue to use VET Student Loan to pay the tuition fees for your course. These are known as progression emails.

    Progression emails will be sent to your nominated personal email during February, June and October from the eCAF system. You must complete the Progression Forms to advise the Australian Government you’re still studying and want to continue accessing your VET Student Loan.

    You must submit each Progression Form within 14 days or risk losing access to your loan.
  • If you are an eligible student studying a Diploma or above qualification and withdraw before the census date you will receive a full 100% refund of any tuition fees you have paid upfront and will not incur a student loan debt.

    If you are an eligible student studying a Diploma or above qualification and withdraw after the census date you will incur a debt (unless the debt is remitted under special circumstances). If special circumstances apply, you will need to apply for a refund.

    To be deemed as an eligible student you must have undergone VET Student Loan counselling, provided appropriate eligibility documentation, been assessed as eligible to apply for a VET Student Loan and completed your VET Student Loan application via the Commonwealth eCAF system and received confirmation of this.

    To withdraw, you must first withdraw according to the TAFE SA withdrawal process. The next time a progression email is sent to your nominated personal email, you must also advise the Australian Government of your most up to date study status.

    For more information see What happens if I withdraw? 

Further information

  • You will receive a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) once the Census date of a CRN passes. The Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) is issued within 28 days of the Census date and the CAN will include details of the units of study covered by your VET Student Loan. The CANs are cumulative, so each new CAN (within a semester) is an updated version of the previous one and shows all CRNs that have passed Census at the time of issue. This means you will receive an updated CAN which will include your other CRNs once the Census date for those CRNs has passed, as once Census passes the fees become a VET Student Loan debt.
  • How much can I borrow for the loan?

    Each course has a loan cap indicating the maximum amount that can be borrowed towards that course. You can check the loan cap for your course under eligible courses on the TAFE SA Website. You will be responsible for any gap amount in your tuition fees, which are not covered by the loan.

    A maximum HELP loan limit also applies. If you already have a HELP Debt with the Commonwealth Government (e.g. HECS, HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE HELP), the total loan amount cannot be greater than your remaining HELP balance. You can use the myHELPbalance portal to check your available HELP balance. 

    Can I use my VET Student Loan for other fees relating to my course?

    Any incidental fees associated with your study cannot be included in your VET Student Loan. Incidental fees are not specified on your VET Student Loan Fee Advice.

    Do I have to pay interest on my loan?

    Your loan will not incur interest like a bank loan, however annual indexation does apply, so your initial debt may increase over time. You can find current and past indexation rates on the Australian Taxation Office website.

    When do I have to start repaying my loan?

    You are required to make compulsory repayments directly to the ATO once your repayment income is above the compulsory repayment threshold. The compulsory repayment threshold is adjusted each year and the loan may reduce your take-home (after tax) wage or salary. See the Australian Taxation Office website for more information.

    Can I start repaying my loan early?

    You can make voluntary repayments at any time, but these will be in addition to any compulsory repayments if you are earning above the minimum repayment threshold. See the Australian Taxation Office website for more information.

    Will my loan impact my credit rating?

    A VET Student Loan is a personal debt obligation that can affect your credit rating. It may also affect your borrowing capacity until the debt is repaid to the Commonwealth. You should seek independent financial advice before applying for a VET Student Loan.

    Who can I contact for more information?

    Contact the VET Student Loan team for help with your loan enquiry at any time by emailing programsupport.vsl@tafesa.edu.au or calling 1800 882 661.

Acknowledgement of Understanding Form Submission

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