VET Student Loans are available for certain diploma level and above qualifications.
On this page:
Alert for VET Students
For advice to VET students seeing historical loan amounts now appearing on their ATO record please read the Update for VET students on historic loan records.
Information for VSL students affected by Queensland and NSW floods
Students concerned about upcoming deadlines for VET Student Loans should contact their provider (TAFE or other training institution) in the first instance.
If students are unable to commence studies as planned, they should contact their training provider to withdraw or defer their enrolment.
Students who are unable to contact their provider may submit an enquiry using the VET Student Loan enquiry form.
Note: The Commonwealth Government has also made a range of assistance measures available to communities impacted by the current 2022 flooding event in Queensland and New South Wales. For further information on relevant Australian Government support please refer to National Recovery and Resilience Agency - Queensland and New South Wales Floods.
About VET Student Loans
You can search for VET Student Loans approved courses and providers on the My Skills website. Approved courses are identified by a highlighted 'VSL' symbol. Approved providers are also listed in the VET Student Loans Approved Course Providers List.
Eligible students will be entitled for loans up to a capped amount. The VET Student Loans (Courses and Loan Caps) Determination 2016 lists all VET Student Loans approved courses and the maximum loan cap for each approved course.
All VET Student Loan amounts incurred on census days between 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2021 did not incur the usual 20% loan fee. VET Student Loan debt records with the Australian Taxation Office will automatically reflect the loan fee exemption for this period. The 20% loan fee arrangement recommenced from 1 July 2021.
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.
The VET Student Loans Video – Part 1 provides advice about using the Eligibility Tool on the My Skills 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 Eligibility Tool on the My Skills website. On this website you will also find the VET Student Loans Calculator which can help you understand what your debt will be when you start your course.
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.
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 to your provider as soon as you get it from the ATO. If you do not supply your TFN within the time period specified by the provider, your enrolment will be cancelled.
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 Education, Skills and Employment your enrolment information through the electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) system. You will receive an auto-generated email from firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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
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 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 email@example.com). 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
VET Student Loans student enquiry form
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Personal information is information or an opinion about an identifiable individual. Personal information includes an individual’s name and contact details.
Purpose of collecting your information
We will use the information you have provided to handle your enquiry.
We may need to collect further information from you in order to handle your enquiry. If you do not provide this information to the department, it may affect how we handle your enquiry. In some circumstances, it may mean we are not able to handle your enquiry.
Disclosure of your personal information
Your personal information may be disclosed to other parties where it is necessary to handle your enquiry, where you have agreed, or where it is otherwise permitted under law (including the Privacy Act).
To contact the department about your personal information email firstname.lastname@example.org.