VSL Provider Newsletter – February 2023

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2023 update to VET Student Loan (VSL) Courses and Loan Caps

The 2023 update for the VSL (Courses and Loan Caps) Determination has been registered. Several new courses, increased loan caps and replacement courses for non-current VSL approved courses were added to the VET Student Loans (Courses and Loan Caps) Determination 2016 (Determination). These changes came into effect on 1 January 2023. The list of Amendments is available at the Federal Register of Legislation via the Amendments link. 

Further information about the changes, including what you need to do to offer these courses using a VSL, and how to apply new loan cap bands, can be found in the VET Student Loans 2023 Course List and Loan Caps. The changes to the Determination have been agreed to by the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training.

Annual financial statements - approved VSL course providers with financial year ending 31 December 2022

A reminder that if you are an approved VSL provider (other than a listed course provider) with a financial year ending on 31 December 2022 you are required to upload audited general purpose financial statements to HITS by 1 April 2023.

Section 113 of the VET Student Loans Rules 2016 (the Rules) requires you to give the Secretary general purpose financial statements for each financial year within 3 months of the end of the financial year. The Rules also set out further requirements in relation to those statements. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the requirements to ensure you properly comply with your obligations.

You are also required to provide a copy of your current workers compensation and public liability insurance policy. All documentation should be submitted via HELP IT Systems (HITS).

To ensure all required information is submitted please refer to Ongoing Financial Performance Requirements for VET Student Loans Providers.

It should be noted that special purpose financial statements are not an acceptable form of submission. It is important you comply with your obligations under the VET Student Loans Act 2016, as failure to do so may result in compliance actions being taken. This could include payments being suspended or your approval as an approved course provider being revoked.

Email queries relating to financial statements can be forwarded to VSLProgramintegrity@dewr.gov.au.

Call for contributions on Jobs and Skills Australia

The Australian Government has released a discussion paper calling for feedback from state and territory governments, employers, unions, education and training providers and community organisations to inform the permanent arrangements of Jobs and Skills Australia.

Public submissions on the Jobs and Skills discussion paper close 5pm AEDT Friday 10 February 2023.

For information on how to make a submission visit Jobs and Skills Australia.

Students can now claim the Tertiary Access Payment

The Tertiary Access Payment helps eligible students with the costs of moving for study. Students who move from inner regional areas get a one-off lump sum of $3,000. Students who move from outer regional and remote areas get up to $5,000 in 2 instalments.

Students need to meet criteria to get the payment including:

  • starting their course within the year immediately after completing year 12 or equivalent
  • moving to study at a tertiary education provider that is at least 90 minutes away from their family home by public transport
  • studying a full-time course that is Certificate IV or higher
  • studying a course with a minimum length of at least one academic year.

Student’s parents or guardians combined income for the relevant tax year must also be less than $250,000.

Students can get the Tertiary Access Payment at the same time as other student payments, such as Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY or the Relocation Scholarship.

Students can only claim between 1 January and 31 December in their first year of tertiary study.

To read more about eligibility and encourage eligible students to claim this payment using their myGov account linked to Centrelink direct students to Tertiary Access Payment - Services Australia. If requested, provide your students with a dated document confirming their study load and course enrolment. To pay eligible students the Tertiary Access Payment, Services Australia will require this, 6 weeks after their course starts.

VSL program improvement

During November and December we released materials about proposed program improvements that would require changes to the VSL Rules. If you have not already had the chance please read the summary of feedback regarding the November and December proposals.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to contribute to these consultations. The submissions indicate strong support for the proposed changes.

Over the coming weeks we will progress work to seek approval and make the necessary amendments to the VSL Rules. More information will be available when the changes take effect and relevant guidance material will also be updated.

Reconciliation of 2021 HELP advances

The reconciliation of 2021 HELP advances have been delayed. The verification of 2021 data through the Tertiary Collection of Student Information (TCSI) system was only finalised in early November. This has had a flow on effect on the reconciliation process which we expect to undertake in the first half of 2023.

If you have any questions, you can contact the FEE-HELP team via FEE-HELP@education.gov.au or the HELP policy team via HELP.policy@education.gov.au.

Unique Student Identifier (USI) verification

We have identified that several students have been reported in TCSI with more than one USI. You are reminded that before creating a USI for a student on their behalf, you need to check if the student already has a USI by using either the ‘Existing/Locate USI Search’ or ‘Find USI’ functions. A student needs to give permission for you to find their USI.

There are 2 ways to find a student’s USI in the Organisation Portal or via your Student Management System (SMS):

  • Existing/Locate USI search function - enables you to search if the student has an existing USI but not make any changes to a student’s details.
  • Find USI – enables you to search for a USI and update student details, if the student already has a USI, depending on the permissions granted to your organisation by the student.

If searches are successful a USI number will be displayed. In that case, you need to use an existing USI instead of creating a new/duplicate USI for the student. If searches are unsuccessful you will receive a message advising ‘no USI record has been located’. In that case a new USI can be created for the student on their behalf.

If a USI has been reported to you by the student, or by any other source, the USI needs to be verified.

Subscribing to, and accessing previous copies of, the VSL Provider Newsletter

Do you know someone who would like to subscribe to the VSL Provider Newsletter? The newsletter is how we let you know about program updates and reminders about the program administrative requirements. Let your colleagues know they can subscribe to the newsletter at VET Student Loans – subscribe.