VSL Provider Newsletter – October 2023

On this page:

Changes to the VSL Rules 2016

You are asked to note the following changes to the VSL Rules that have occurred following the making of the VET Student Loans Amendment Rules (No. 1) 2023 (the Amending Instrument):

  • Annual Forecast - the annual forecast process previously required by section 116 has been removed.
  • Annual Reporting – an annual reporting requirement has been introduced under a new section 116. Under that provision, you must give to the Secretary information relevant to the department’s routine monitoring of activities to enable it to support providers in meeting their obligations under the VET Student Loans Act 2016 (VSL Act) and the VSL Rules. Specifically, you are required to give to the Secretary:
    • information about the provider’s links with industry and other bodies as required under section 35 of the VSL Rules
    • information about any ‘third party arrangements’, whether approved or not, which the provider has engaged a third party to deliver all or part of an approved course of the kind referred to in section 15(1)(b) of the VSL Act
    • a report on the results of the provider’s last annual assessment of student satisfaction in relation to each of its courses made under subsection 34(2) of the VSL Rules and
    • any other information determined by the Secretary.
  • Annual Financial Statements – the changes extend the timeframe for lodgement of annual financial statements by non-listed VSL providers from 3 months to 4 months after the end of each financial year.

We will provide further information in the coming months about the manner and timing of the new annual reporting requirements. However, the first annual reporting will not be required until 2024. You will be given support and adequate time to prepare for the new reporting requirements.

  • Related Party Transactions – requirements relating to transactions between providers, their key personnel and other related parties have been adjusted so that they apply to a broader range of transactions.
  • Course Provider Requirements – the changes increase the number of course provider requirements that listed providers are taken to meet.

The Amending Instrument and the Explanatory Statement can be viewed on the Federal Register of Legislation at VET Student Loans Amendment Rules (No.1) 2023 (legislation.gov.au).

In due course a compilation of the principal instrument – the VET Student Loans Rules 2016 – will also be available on the Register.

We will contact you in the coming months about arrangements for annual reporting in 2024.

Please direct any questions about the changes and associated new arrangements to VETStudentLoans@dewr.gov.au.

Department invoice details

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations was established as a new Commonwealth entity on 1 July 2022 with functions transferred from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE).

From 1 July 2023 you will have seen a new header on our VFH/VSL invoices with the DEWR ABN of 96584957427. The invoices will remain as being issued by the Department of Finance.

Please check your records ahead of releasing payments to the department as the bank details, including the BPAY and reference codes, have changed. VSL payments from us will also be issued from a different bank account and may appear differently on your statement to previous references.

Please email VFHVSLPayments@dewr.gov.au if you require further documentation to support updating DEWR bank details in your financial systems.

2023 VSL tuition protection levy is due

The Tuition Protection Service (TPS) invoiced approved course providers under the VET Student Loans Act 2016 for the 2023 VSL tuition protection levy collection on 29 September 2023. Payment is due on

29 October 2023. All non-exempt VSL providers are required to pay the annual VSL tuition protection levy.

Thank you to the nearly 60% of providers who have paid their 2023 VSL tuition protection levy already. If you have not yet paid your invoice, please do so as soon as possible. This way you will avoid a higher risk rating for the next 3 years of weighted late payment measure, commencing from the 2024 VSL tuition protection levy, due to late payment.

The VSL levy funds the student placement and refund activities of the TPS in the event of a VSL provider defaults.

Please note: the TPS collects, and calculates separately, three domestic tuition protection levies.

These are:

  • the VSL levy
  • the HELP tuition protection levy, and
  • the higher education Up-front Payments tuition protection levy.

If you are also an approved provider under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Act 2011 and/or the Higher Education Support Act 2003, you will receive separate correspondence regarding these levies.

Although the collection period is almost over, we encourage you to check and update all contact information in the HELP IT System (HITS). This will ensure your organisation receives all correspondence relating to the 2023 VSL levy. We will continue to send all correspondence to the identified contact type of CEO/Vice-Chancellor and copy it to any other contacts with a contact type of Chief Financial Officer, Senior Authorised Officer, Primary Contact – VET or Primary Contact VET/HE. The TPS is unable to update contact or key personnel in HITS. It is your responsibility to complete these details.

Further information about the VSL tuition protection levy is available on VSL education providers - Department of Education. If you have any questions, please email the TPS Operations team at operations@tps.gov.au.

Completion data reporting

We notice that some providers have low completion rates. This may be due to outcomes not being reported rather than students failing to complete courses. It is important completion data is reported as it may otherwise lead to increased compliance scrutiny and have an adverse impact when seeking reapproval as a VSL provider.

Advice on how to report completions data is outlined in the VET Student Loans Manual for Providers (Chapter 4.14.4).

Reporting course outcomes is required within 7 days of a student taking a leave of absence, completing the course, or ceasing enrolment in the course. The form and structure for reporting course outcomes is detailed on the Course admission packet (VET) 2023 | TCSI Support, Course outcome code (E599) and Course outcome date (E592).

To report the successful completion of an existing Course admission, you will need to update:

  • Course outcome code (E599) to ‘1’
  • Course outcome date (E592) to the date the student met the academic/study requirements of the course.

If you are not sure how to report updates to a Course admissions package, please consult your software vendor or technical team. If you are a TCSI Data Entry portal user, please refer to the videos and user guide available at Onboarding webinars | TCSI Support.

Clarification - Unit of study status code reporting

We are aware there may be incorrect usage of status code 3 Successfully completed all the requirements. This code should be used when the student has successfully completed all the requirements of the Units of Competency attached to a Unit of Study.

Where a study period for a Unit of Study has passed, but not all the requirements of the associated Units of Competency have been met, code 4 Unit of study to be commenced later in the year or still in process of completing or completion status not yet determined should be used.

Guide for providers to self-manage in eSAM and HITS

We have developed an IT user security arrangement for HITS access whereby you self-manage your staff’s access to HITS. This function is managed by your nominated Provider Security Contact (PSC) administrator.

PSC administrators are responsible for managing all access to HITS including:

  • Creating/inviting new users
  • Updating user roles
  • Terminating access for users who no longer require access to HITS and
  • Re-enabling eSAM accounts for staff who have been inactive for 40 days or more.

PSC administrators can manage HITS access for staff in your organisation via Home Page - Employment Security Access Management (ecsn.gov.au).

PSC officers must ensure all staff have submitted a User Security Declaration form. We require you to store signed documents securely on your business premise. You must make these available to the department upon request.

Please direct any enquiries about access to HITS or eCAF, not covered by the above, to VetStudentLoans@dewr.gov.au.

VSL program performance measures - 2022–23 results

The department is committed to continual improvement of its performance framework including measuring performance against its purpose. There are currently two performance measures associated with the VET Student Loans (VSL) program outlined in the department’s Corporate Plan. These measures are reported on in the performance statements within the department’s annual report each year. The measures are:

  • SK006 – Proportion of VSL students who are satisfied with the quality of their training provider (Student satisfaction)
  • SK007 – Proportion of VSL students with completed units of study (Completion rates)

Student satisfaction

This measure has a target of 80% or higher. It measures the number of VSL students who respond to the electronic Commonwealth assistance form (eCAF) survey within the relevant year and provide a rating of ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’, over the total number of VSL students who respond to the eCAF survey.

The satisfaction survey allows answers of very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, neither satisfied or dissatisfied, satisfied and very satisfied. The calculation is: (satisfied + very satisfied) / (total responses).

For 2022–23, the proportion of VSL students satisfied with their training provider's quality, has for the first time, dipped below the 80% target at 79.95%.

Completion rates

This measure has a target of 70% or higher. It measures the number of reported equivalent full time study load (EFTSL) units of study completed, over the total number of EFTSL units of study, excluding any ongoing units of study.

For 2022–23, the proportion of VSL students with completed units of study was 82.19%. This measure has consistently exceeded its annual target of 70% over the past 5 years.

The calculation is: total passed EFTSL / total attempted EFTSL (excluding any ongoing courses).

Further details on the VSL ‘program measures’ results are available on pages 41-44 of the department’s 2022-23 Annual Report.

VET historical student loans - update for providers

We are on the final stretch of loan remediation for VSL and VET FEE-HELP (VFH) loans that have been delayed from transferring to the ATO. To date, around 95% of the historical delayed loans have been resolved and transferred to students’ ATO accounts.

We have written to around 16,800 students as their loans have been transferred to the ATO. We have uploaded affected student data files to providers’ HITS accounts and advised affected providers as the loans are transferred to the ATO.

We have around 300 students whose VSL loans are in their final stages of system-led remediation. We expect to transfer these loans to the ATO in November, with communication to students and providers to follow. A further cohort of older VFH loans will be waived for students in their entirety in the coming months.

To date, we have remediated historical loans through a system-led approach and by using verifiable data held by the department. This means we haven’t required providers to make adjustments or input missing data to date. We expect that the remaining historical loans will also be remediated through this approach.

We thank you for your ongoing assistance as we continue to support and respond to affected students. While feedback from providers and students has been relatively positive, we are always looking for ways to improve how we operate. If you have any feedback on our response to managing historical loans and the communication provided to you and your students, please contact us via VETStudentLoans@dewr.gov.au.

As always, for the latest information about historical loans, including the help and support available to students, please visit Transfer of historical loan records for VET students.

Services Australia support for school leavers and students

Students starting study in 2024 may have questions about what student payments they may get from Centrelink.

Download posters, factsheets and other resources from Services Australia’s School Leavers resource eKit to help your students learn about the support available.

The eKit has information about Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and other payments students can get if they relocate for study. This includes the Tertiary Access Payment worth up to $5,000.

Encourage your new students to claim a payment 13 weeks before their course or training starts.

Subscribing to 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.