Information for VET Student Loans students

VET Student Loans are available for certain diploma level and above qualifications.

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Fairer indexation of VET Student Loans

The Government has announced significant changes to the way VET Student Loans will be indexed, effective from 1 June 2023, subject to the passage of legislation.

You can access information about this change and an indexation credit estimator to help you understand these changes and how they may benefit you.

•    Fairer indexation of VET Student Loans

Historical VET loan transfer

For advice to VET students seeing historical loan amounts appearing on their ATO record please read Transfer of historical loan records for VET students.

About VET Student Loans

VET Student Loans are only available for approved courses at the diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate and graduate diploma level that are specified by the VET Student Loans (Courses and Loan Caps) Determination 2016. For ease of reference approved courses and the 2024 loan caps are listed in VET Student Loans 2024 Course List and Loan Caps (for students).

You can also search for VET Student Loans approved courses and providers on the Explore Your Career | Your Career website. Approved providers are also listed in the VET Student Loans Approved Course Providers List.

Before you apply

The VET Student Loans Information Booklet provides key information students applying for a VET Student Loan need to know. The topics covered include eligibility, applying for and managing your loan, as well as your rights and obligations. You must read this booklet before applying for a VET Student Loan.

Be sure you understand your financial obligations before accessing a VET Student Loan. A VET Student loan is a loan from the Commonwealth Government you will be required to repay once your income is above the compulsory repayment threshold. Full fee-paying students incur a 20% loan fee which is charged in addition to their tuition fees. VET Student Loans are subject to annual indexation. Indexation is where a loan is adjusted in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to maintain its value in line with the changes in the cost of living. This means the amount borrowed is likely to grow and students repay an amount that is more than the original tuition fee. To help you understand these obligations you may like to use the VSL Calculator.

The VET Student Loans Video – Part 1 provides advice about using the VSL eligibility check | Your Career on the Explore Your Career | Your Career website, explains how to track your HELP balance on myHELPbalance and how your loan is repaid through the taxation system.

The VET Student Loans Video – Part 2 provides advice about applying for a VSL through the eCAF system, explains why you need a tax file number and why you are required to complete progression forms.

This video contains information for eligible students that have decided to apply for a VET Student Loan. 

Checking your eligibility

Students are eligible for a VET Student Loan if they:

  • are enrolled in a VET Student Loans approved course offered by a VET Student Loans provider
  • meet citizenship/residency requirements
  • have an available HELP balance of more than $0 (that is, have sufficient HELP balance remaining)
  • meet student entry requirements.

To see if you are likely to meet the eligibility requirements, check out the VET Student Loans VSL eligibility check | Your Career on the Explore Your Career | Your Career website. On this website you will also find the VET Student Loans Calculator. The calculator will help you understand what your debt will be when you start your course, how your debt will increase with indexation, and any additional tuition costs you might be expected to pay upfront. 

You should also speak to an approved VET Student Loans provider about accessing a VET Student Loan to pay for your studies. The provider will confirm if you are eligible to access a VET Student Loan.

Getting a Tax File Number

When you apply for a VET Student Loan you need to provide your Tax File Number (TFN) because repayments of your loan are made through the tax system. You provide your TFN through the electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF).

If you don't have a TFN you must apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for a TFN as soon as possible. It is best to have your TFN before you enrol to ensure you can access a loan for your studies.

If you don't have a TFN when you enrol, you can get provisional access to a loan if you supply a Certificate of Application for a TFN provided by the ATO when you apply for a TFN. You still need to supply your TFN as soon as you get it from the ATO. If you do not follow this process within the time period specified by the provider,  you will not be able to access a VET Student Loan to pay for that study period.

Applying for a VET Student Loan

Once your provider is satisfied that you are eligible and have provided documents to prove that you meet the eligibility criteria, they will give the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations your enrolment information through the electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) system. You will receive an auto-generated email from ecafsystem@education.gov.au, providing details on how to sign into the eCAF system so that you can submit a Request for a VET Student Loan eCAF. This is your formal application for a VET Student Loan.

You must submit your eCAF on, or before, your first census day. If you do not submit your eCAF on or before the census day, you will not be able to access a VET Student Loan for that fee period.

Note: Make sure to check your spam/junk email folders if you cannot see the email in your inbox. Once you have submitted your eCAF, you will receive an email confirming your loan approval. If you are having any difficulties submitting your eCAF, please see the eCAF fact sheet or talk to your provider.

Census days

A census day is the last day on which you can complete and submit an eCAF in order to access a VET Student Loan for that part of your course. It is a good idea to complete and submit your eCAF as soon as you can.

Note: You must wait at least two business days after your enrolment to submit your eCAF - this is to make sure you have had time to fully understand your loan obligations.

The census day is also the last day on which you can withdraw from part of a course without incurring tuition fees. You must defer, withdraw or cancel your enrolment in writing according to your course provider’s published processes before the census day or you will still incur a VET Student Loan debt for that fee period.

Managing your loan

You can check your VETSL debt and any existing HELP debt at either myHELPbalance or myGov.

myHELPbalance will show you how much you have borrowed (that is, how much debt you have incurred). You will need your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) to login to myHELPbalance.

Your myGov account will show you how much you owe, indexation charges and any repayments you have made. If you do not have a myGov account, you can set one up following the instructions on the ATO website or you can call the ATO on 13 28 61.

Note: The CHESSN will be decommissioned gradually from 2021 and replaced by the Unique Student Identifier (USI). Your USI and your CHESSN (if allocated) are printed on your Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) that your provider should have given you as you incurred your debt.

If you cannot find your CAN or CHESSN, ask your provider.

Your loan obligations

To continue accessing a VET Student Loan, you must demonstrate that you are a genuine student continuing with your studies.

To do this, at least twice a year, complete a Progression Form in the electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) system when you receive the invitation email (via ecafsystem@education.gov.au). If you miss the due date please contact your provider directly and ask them to reissue the progression.

This process ensures protection for students accessing the VET Student Loans program.

Refer to the VSL Progression Form Fact Sheet for more information or contact your provider if you have any queries.

What to do when you have a complaint

Students should refer to the Debt Complaints page for debt issues and complaints, including complaints about providers.

If you have concerns about the quality of your training you may wish to submit a formal complaint to Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) via their complaints page.

Information on what to do if your provider defaults (closes or ceases to deliver your course) is available on the Tuition Protection and Provider Default page.

Advice for all previous VET FEE-HELP student related enquiries, including frequently asked questions, VET FEE-HELP Student Redress Measures and Notices of debt removal is available on the Information for VET FEE-HELP Students page.

VSL Resources – Information Booklet, fact sheets and forms

Other useful resources

Student Enquiries

If you have read the student information linked above and have further queries about applying for a VET Student Loan or about managing your loan, you can enquire with the department.