VET Student Loans from 1 January 2017

The Commonwealth government has announced a re-design of the current VET FEE-HELP loan scheme from 1 January 2017 (subject to the passing of legislation). The new VET Student Loans program will replace the existing scheme from 1 January 2017.

Course eligibility for VET Student Loans is limited to courses that have a high national priority, meet industry needs, contribute to addressing skills shortages and lead to employment outcomes.

Further information and the eligible VET Student Loans course list are available from the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training website.


VET FEE-HELP is a student loan scheme that is funded by the Commonwealth Government to assist eligible students pay their course fees for select Certificate IV, and all Diploma and above level courses.

VET FEE-HELP provides you with the option of:

  • Paying your fees upfront
  • Deferring all of your tuition fees; or
  • Paying some of your tuition fees upfront and deferring the balance

VET FEE-HELP loans are not subject to income or assets tests.

There is a loan fee of 20% for fee-for-service VET FEE-HELP loans. There is no loan fee for Smart and Skilled VET FEE-HELP loans.




There is a limit set on the amount you can borrow in student loans (either VET FEE-HELP or FEE-HELP) over your lifetime. It is referred to as the FEE-HELP limit and is revised every year. The FEE-HELP limit refers only to the amount of the loan and does not include fees.

For 2016, the FEE-HELP limit is $99,389.

How to apply for VET FEE-HELP

Before you apply, you should first check that your course is a VET FEE-HELP eligible course. Then read the VET FEE-HELP information booklet to understand the application process, your rights and obligations.

You can seek independent financial advice before applying for a VET FEE-HELP loan. As with any loan contract, VET FEE-HELP loans may affect your credit rating.

You must have a good chance of completing the course

Before applying for a VET FEE-HELP loan, you will need to show evidence of completion of Year 12 in Australia or demonstrate that your reading and numeracy skills are sufficient for you to undertake the course by completing an online assessment.

If you have a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education issued from an Australian State or Territory, which you would have received if you completed Year 12, you are considered to have the necessary skills.

If you did not complete Year 12 in Australia or you cannot locate your Year 12 Certificate, you will need to take the VET FEE-HELP academic assessment prior to enrolment. You need to achieve ‘Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) in both reading and numeracy’ to be considered to have the necessary skills. Watch the VET FEE-HELP assessment video  for more information.

Call us on 1300 360 601 to arrange for an assessment or for further information please see the VET FEE-HELP Student Entry Procedure document (PDF).

Other eligibility requirements

You must:

  • Be an Australian citizen; hold a permanent humanitarian visa and be resident in Australia for the length of your study; or be a New Zealand Citizen on a Special Category Visa who meets long term residency requirements
  • Have not exceeded your FEE-HELP limit
  • Provide a tax file number and a Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN), or be allocated one

Note: once you have been offered a place in your course, there is also a two day cooling offer period which must elapse before you can apply for a VET FEE-HELP loan. You may wish to seek independent financial advice prior to applying for a VET FEE-HELP loan, as a VET FEE-HELP loan is personal debt that can affect your credit rating.

Alternatives to VET FEE-HELP

If you cannot or do not want to meet the VET FEE-HELP eligibility requirements, you can still apply for your course. You will need to:

  • pay all your course fees up front, or
  • pay in regular instalments i.e. you must pay the Unit of Study fee before the census day.

If you would like more information on alternative payment options, contact us on 1300 360 601.

Rights and responsibilities as a VET FEE-HELP student

If you are considering applying for VET FEE-HELP assistance, you must read the VET FEE-HELP information booklet to ensure that you are aware of your obligations under VET FEE-HELP. For further information please view the TAFE NSW – VET FEE-HELP Policy.

TAFE NSW provides fair treatment and ensures equal benefits and opportunities for all students whether they are entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance or not.

Repaying your VET FEE-HELP loan

The VET FEE-HELP loan is repaid through the Australian taxation system.

You will not have to start repaying your VET FEE-HELP loan until you start earning an annual income that exceeds the compulsory repayment threshold (which is adjusted each year) - even if you are still studying. For the 2016-17 income year, the threshold is $54,869.

You can find out the outstanding balance of your VET FEE-HELP debt by calling the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on 13 28 61. You will need to have your tax file number (TFN) handy when you call.

Further information regarding repayments and the minimum income threshold can be found on the Study Assist website.

Withdrawing from a course

You may withdraw from a course or unit of study at any time. Depending on when you withdraw you may be entitled to a refund of any up-front payment that you have made, or re-credit of your FEE-HELP balance if you have taken out a VET FEE-HELP loan.

See the following resources for further details:

If you apply to have the VET FEE-HELP balance re-credited and it is declined, you have the right to apply for a review of a decision not to re-credit. Procedures for requesting a review are outlined in the VET FEE-HELP Student Review Procedures.

For further information please view the VET FEE-HELP Tuition Fee and Refund Policy – TAFE NSW.

Legal information about VET FEE-HELP

Sydney Institute partners with other education institutions to promote selected courses with VET FEE-HELP loans available to students. They are:

  • FC11 Pty Ltd (contract period 26 May 2015 to 7 October 2016). FC11 conducts this training with Sydney TAFE issuing the qualification.
  • Schofields Flying Club Limited (contract period 1 January 2015 to 1 January 2016 and 5 April 2016 until completion of training, estimated July 2017). Schofields Flying Club conducts this training with Sydney TAFE issuing the qualification.
  • Upskilled (contract period  ongoing, from 1 July 2015). Sydney TAFE conducts this training and issues the qualification.
  • Ramsay Health Care Investments Pty Limited (contract period 17 December 2013 to 17 December 2015 and 7 April 2016 to 6 April 2019). Sydney TAFE conducts this training and issues the qualification.

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