Information for VET students seeing historical loan amounts now appearing on their ATO record.
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In early August 2022, some historical VET FEE-HELP (VFH) and VET Student Loan (VSL) loan records unexpectedly transferred to students’ Australian Taxation Office (ATO) accounts. The department notified all students and training providers affected by this issue in September 2022 and November 2022 and investigated avenues to address any unintended outcomes for students as a matter of priority.
In November 2022, the department also announced that it identified further historical student loan records that are still pending in its IT systems. These loan records have not yet been transferred to students’ ATO accounts. The vast majority of these loans relate to study undertaken in 2021.
The department is working to remediate these records in its IT systems and expects to transfer these records to students’ ATO records from June 2023.
As individuals may not be aware of these loans, and to ensure they are not unfairly financially disadvantaged, all historical indexation on affected loans will be waived. Also, loans issued before 2017 will be waived, due to potential evidentiary burdens on VET students to access assistance.
The support measures for affected students are detailed further below.
Students are not required to do anything now. As these loan records are transferred to the ATO, the department will notify all students via email, letter and SMS, and will notify training providers via email.
If you have further concerns, please contact the VET Student Loans Team via the student enquiry form below.
Information and support measures for affected VET students
The Government has agreed to support measures to assist affected VET students. The support and next steps will vary depending on how different students are affected by the historical loans issue.
VFH Student Redress Measures have been extended
Students now have until 31 December 2023 to apply to the VFH Student Redress Measures. If you don’t know why you have a VFH loan, or believe you were impacted by inappropriate conduct by your educational provider and did not complete your studies, you can contact the VET Student Loans - Commonwealth Ombudsman (VSLO). The VSLO will assess whether all or part of your VFH student loan should be re-credited under the VFH Student Redress Measures.
Historical indexation will be waived for affected students
Indexation applies to unpaid loans once the debt is over 11 months old. This is applied on 1 June each year and can be viewed on your ATO online account.
The Government has already waived historical indexation for students whose affected loan records transferred to the ATO in August 2022. Students’ ATO accounts have been updated to reflect the waiver and students have been individually contacted. The next indexation amount will apply to these loans on 1 June 2023.
In addition, historical indexation will be waived for students whose affected loan records remain pending in the department’s IT systems. This waiver will be applied after the loan amounts are transferred to the ATO. The next indexation amount will not be applied to these loans until 1 June 2024.
Debts waived for affected pre-2017 VET students
The debts for affected loan records issued before 2017 will be waived, including any indexation and loan fees. This recognises the age and extended delay in identifying these affected VFH records, and potential difficulty for these students to meet evidentiary requirements to access assistance. The affected records will be deleted from student’s accounts, and students are not required to repay these debts. The department will provide details of waived VFH loan records to affected students.
Repaying your loan
Repayments on your loan amounts will only commence once you reach the income threshold ($48,361 for the income year 2022-23).
What to do if you are facing hardship
If you have reached the income threshold to begin repaying your loan and believe that making your repayments would cause you serious hardship, or there are other special reasons that make it fair and reasonable to defer making your compulsory repayment, you can apply for a deferral to the ATO. Further information is at Defer or amend your compulsory repayment or overseas levy | Australian Taxation Office.
Checking your ATO loan account
For more information about your ATO loan accounts and how to manage them, please refer to:
No action required from students
The department will contact all affected students individually to provide further details about the next steps and support measures available.
The department will continue to work with the Department of Education to ensure past and present tertiary education students affected by historical loan delays are treated equitability.
Please continue to check this website for the latest advice.
The department commissioned an independent review of the causes of this issue. The department supports the review’s 11 recommendations.
The Government has committed $42.2 million in the 2023-24 Budget to build a modern fit-for-purpose IT system to support the administration of the VSL program and to address the recommendations of the independent review.
Student Enquiry form
VET Student Loans student enquiry form privacy statement
Your personal information is protected by law, including under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act).
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 email@example.com.
Contacting the department
If you have any further queries about this matter, please contact the VET Student Loans Team via the student enquiry form.