VET Student Loans

The Commonwealth Government program allows eligible students to access loans for courses that:

  • Have a high national priority
  • Meet industry needs
  • Contribute to addressing skills shortages
  • Lead to employment outcomes

The program also features loan caps for course loans. This means if the course fees are above the loan cap, the student will need to pay the difference. Education Training &  Employment Australia is approved to offer VET Student Loans for specific diploma qualifications.

VET Student Loans allows eligible students to access a loan to pay part or all tuition fees for approved courses.

Students can either:

  • Access the loan to pay all tuition fees (up to the loan cap limit)
  • Access the loan to pay part of the tuition fees and pay the remaining balance

The loan is repaid through the Australian tax system. When students reach the minimum income threshold for repayment. There is a loan fee of 20% for full fee-paying students.

To be eligible for a VET Student Loan, a student must:

  1. be an eligible student
  2. be studying an approved course
  3. be studying with an approved course provider
  4. apply to the government using the approved form, which will be managed through your provider, and
  5. submit Progression Forms to confirm your ongoing engagement with your studies, and continue accessing the loan throughout your course.

To be an eligible student, you must meet ALL of these criteria – further detailed below.

  • You are:
    • an Australian citizen, or
    • a qualifying New Zealand citizen or

Note: A qualifying New Zealand citizen is a New Zealand citizen who meets all of the following:

      • holds a special visa category, such as the New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV)
      • has been usually resident in Australia for at least 10 years;
      • was a dependent child when he or she was first usually resident in Australia;
      • has been in Australia for periods totaling 8 years during the previous 10 years; and
      • has been in Australia for periods totaling 18 months during the previous 2 years.
    • a permanent humanitarian visa holder, who is usually resident in Australia.
  • Your HELP balance (the amount of your HELP loan limit you have left) is more than $0. This means you have enough HELP loan limit remaining for your proposed studies to be covered by the loan. The HELP loan limit is the limit on how much you can borrow. Any borrowing under FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP, VET Student Loans, and, from 1 January 2020, HECS-HELP will count towards your HELP loan limit.
  • You are enrolled with an approved course provider in an approved course and have enrolled in accordance with the application requirements.
  • You are studying the approved course primarily at a campus in Australia.
  • You have been assessed by your approved course provider as academically suited to undertake the approved course on the basis of either:
    • providing your Australian Year 12 Certificate; OR
    • providing your International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) diploma OR
    • providing a copy of a certificate showing you have been awarded a qualification at level 4 or above in the Australian Qualifications Framework (where the language of instruction was English); or at a level in a framework that preceded the AQF and is equivalent to level 4 or above in the AQF, OR
    • displaying competence at Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework in both reading and numeracy through an approved Language, Literacy and Numeracy test.

In addition, your approved course provider must reasonably believe you show competence in completing the course.

    • You meet the Tax File Number (TFN) requirements.
    • You have a Unique Student Identifier(USI) or are otherwise exempt.
    • You have given the required documents to your approved course provider and submitted the loan application form by the first census day no less than two business days after enrolling.

If your qualification is from overseas, then the certificate provided must be a letter or certificate issued by a Federal, State or Territory government agency that assesses overseas qualifications and which shows your qualification has been determined to be equivalent or comparable to a qualification in the Australian Qualifications Framework at level 4 or above.

A VET Student Loan is an agreement between the student and the Commonwealth Government.

To apply for a VET Student Loan:

  • A student must meet all the loan eligibility requirements and provide supporting documentation to Education Training & Employment Australia
  • A student must request VET Student Loans via eCAF by 11.59 pm AEST on the first census day for which they wish to access the VSL.
  • The census date is when all student enrolments are finalized for the term.

As with any loan, the individual must understand the terms and conditions before making a commitment.

Please read the VET Student Loans information booklet available here as well as associated documentation available here and consider seeking independent financial advice.

Refer to the ETEA Student Enrolment Policy and Procedure (Vet Student Loan) for more details.

Student under 18
ETEA does not accept students under 18 for the VET Student Loans program.

VET Study Loans VSL TERM DATES and CENSUS DATES 2021 – 2023
CHC53315 – Diploma of Mental Health
TERMS Start Date End Date Census Date
FEE PERIOD 1 25/10/2021 10/04/2022 Monday, 29 November 2021
FEE PERIOD 2 25/04/2022 25/09/2022 Wednesday, 25 May 2022
FEE PERIOD 3 10/10/2022 6/04/2023 Monday, 14 November 2022
FEE PERIOD 4 24/04/2023 22/09/2023 Wednesday, 24 May 2023
CHC52015 – Diploma of Community Services
TERMS Start Date End Date Census Date
FEE PERIOD 1 25/10/2021 10/04/2022 Monday, 29 November 2021
FEE PERIOD 2 25/04/2022 25/09/2022 Wednesday, 25 May 2022
FEE PERIOD 3 10/10/2022 6/04/2023 Monday, 14 November 2022

The census date is when all student enrolments are finalized for the term.

If a student chooses to withdraw after the specified census date of the term, they must pay the fees for that term. Students who have applied VET Student Loan will incur a debt for the term after the census date.

Please refer to the  ETEA Census Dates Policy and Procedure (VET Student Loans)  for more detailed information

Education Training & Employment Australia is approved to offer the following courses:

CHC53315 Diploma of Mental Health
CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services

Note: 2021 tuition fees can be accessed here

For further information in relation to courses and other VET Student Loans matters please visit the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training website here

If a student wishes to apply for a Commonwealth VET Student Loan, the individual must be assessed for academic suitability to undertake a high-level VET qualification.

This academic assessment is IN ADDITION to any entry requirements that may be required for the specific course a student wishes to undertake.

A student must:

  1. Provide a copy of the student’s senior secondary certificate of education that has been awarded by an Australian agency or authority of a state or territory for the completion of Year 12


  1. Undertake a reading and numeracy assessment using an approved assessment tool and display competence at or above Exit Level 3 in the Australian Cores Skills Framework (ACSF).

The assessment tool used will be the Safe Work Resources VFH LLN Assessment Tool (LLN Robot). The student will be provided with log-in access to complete the test; the test is invigilated.

Education Training & Employment Australia must be confident that the student has the required skills. If a student undertakes a reading and numeracy assessment, ETEA will inform the student of his/her results as soon as practicable after the assessment


  1. Provide a copy of the diploma awarded for the student’s completion of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme


  1. Provide evidence of successful completion of qualification of a qualification that has been delivered in English and:
  • was at Level 4 or above qualification in the Australian Qualifications Framework and the course for the qualification was delivered in English.
  • assessed by a Federal, State, or Territory government agency which assesses overseas qualifications (or an organization contracted by such an agency to undertake such assessments), as equivalent or comparable to a qualification in the AQF at level 4 or above, or a qualification at a level in a framework that preceded the AQF, equivalent to level 4 or above in the AQF.

If a student is not able to meet one of these requirements, the student will not be eligible to apply for a Commonwealth VSL.

Please refer to the ETEA Student Entry Policy(VET Student Loans) for further information.

Note: If students wish to supply their senior secondary certificate of education, but have lost or mislaid it, they may be able to order a replacement for a fee. Please visit the relevant education site for further information:

State Site
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
South Australia
Western Australia

Fees for VET Student Loans eligible courses are charged by units of study; payments are spread across the duration of the course. A census day is set at no less than 20% into a unit of study.

A student will be sent a VET Student Loans Statement of Covered Fees after the student enrolls and before the first census day for the course, during the first fee period of the course. The document states whether the enrolment is accepted on the basis that part or all of the tuition fees for the course will be covered by a VET Student Loan.

A student will be sent a VET Student Loans Fee Notice no less than 14 days prior to each census day, indicating the student’s fees and census days.

The debt is incurred on the day after the census day.

After a census day has passed, Education Training & Employment Australia will also send a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) for the Unit of Study. The CAN will provide the student with information about the debt incurred, including the loan fee where applicable. If a student believes the CAN is incorrect, then he/she should contact ETEA immediately to rectify it.

For certain courses, there may be a gap between the course fee and the loan cap that the Commonwealth will allow for the course. The student will be advised of this upon inquiry, and also about other payment options that may be available.

Lifetime Loan Limit
The lifetime loan limit is the total amount a student can incur in a lifetime under any Commonwealth student loan scheme – whether it is a VET Student Loan, VET-FEE HELP, or a Higher Education FEE-HELP loan. It is indexed each year, in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2020, the lifetime loan limit is $106,319 for most students.

Students can view their loan obligations by referring to the Study Assist website here

A student must repay the loan through the tax system when the individual’s income is above the minimum repayment threshold. Repayment thresholds are adjusted each year to reflect changes in average weekly earnings. The minimum repayment income threshold for 2018-19 is $51,957.

A VET Student Loan is a personal debt obligation that can affect a student’s credit rating and has wage and tax repayment implications.

For further information please refer to the ATO site here

A student may withdraw from a VET course of study or unit/s of study by completing the ETEA Withdrawal Form (VET Student Loans) – Editable.

Please refer to the ETEA Withdrawal and Deferral Policy and Procedure (VET Student Loans) for the process and information required if a student wishes to withdraw.

For ETEA’s refund policy and procedure, please refer to ETEA Refund Policy and Procedure (VET Student Loans)

Should it be necessary to cancel a student’s enrolment in an approved course, or part of an approved course after the census day, the ETEA Cancellation of Enrolment (VET Student Loans) applies.

If a student is considering applying for a VET Student Loan, the student should familiarise themselves with the loan obligations by reading the VET Student Loan information booklet.

Further information is available at:

  • Department of Education, Skills and Employment website here
  • Study Assist website here

Students may wish to seek independent financial advice as well.

Students accessing VET Student Loans for their course are required by the Department of Education, Skills, and Employment to demonstrate their course progression at regular intervals.

Employment Training and Employment Australia triggers the progression point each year during February, June, and October and sends it to students via eCAF.

Students receive an invitation email with login details to the eCAF system requesting that students indicate their study intent and complete a short survey.

IMPORTANT: If a student misses two progression points, he/she may be ineligible to continue accessing VET Student Loans to pay the remainder of his/her course tuition fees.

For further information please visit the VET Student Loans – Student engagement and progression Fact Sheet page here

Tuition assurance protects students in the event a course provided by an approved VET Student Loans provider ceases to be provided after it starts but before it is completed. Affected students are offered a replacement course with another provider and where this is not possible, the student’s FEE‑HELP balance for the affected part of the course will be re-credited.

For further information relating to tuition assurance please refer to:

ETEA Tuition Assurance Policy and Procedures (VET Student Loans)