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VET Student Loans

The VET Student Loans program is designed to give eligible students access to quality higher level VET qualifications, particularly those students who could not otherwise afford to pay upfront.

A range of measures were implemented on 1 January 2017 that affects students hoping to access income contingent loans to pay for their course fees.

TAFE SA is an approved VET Student Loans provider and must ensure policies and procedures are in place to administer compliance requirements of the Commonwealth Government VET Student Loans program.

Additional information: 

Loan Caps

  • Eligible students will be entitled for loans up to a capped amount. 
  • Training Providers may charge above the Course Loan CAP for a course, and if so, students will be expected to pay for the difference upfront according to the Training Provider’s billing period. 
    • Depending on eligibility for State Subsidised funding (or not), this could make a difference to the additional fees that may require to be paid over the approved course CAP.

Eligible courses

  • Certain Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas, Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas are eligible for VET Student Loans that are linked to industry needs and employment outcomes.
  • If you wish to access a loan to study a higher level VET course you will need to select one of these eligible courses.
  • TAFE SA eligible courses and Loan CAP.

Are there Student Entry Requirements?

To be eligible for a VET Student Loan you must provide evidence that you are:

  • An Australian citizen (If you are born on or after 20 August 1986 you may be required to supply additional evidence if you are using your birth certificate as evidence); OR
  • The holder of a permanent humanitarian visa who is usually resident in Australia; OR
  • A New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holder who meets the long term residency requirements.

Please refer to the VET Student Loans Student Entry Procedure for acceptable forms of evidence.

In addition to TAFE SA believing on reasonable grounds that a student is academically suited to undertake the qualification for which a VET Student loan is sought, in order to apply for a VET Student loan to assist with payment of your course fees, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • provide a copy of your senior secondary certificate of education, that has been awarded by an Australian authority or agency when you apply to enrol. TAFE SA is required to store a copy of this for five years after you enrol; OR 
  • provide a copy of your International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) diploma; OR
  • undertake a reading and numeracy assessment using an approved assessment tool and display competence at or above Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF). TAFE SA will advise you how you may undertake this assessment. TAFE SA must be confident that you complete this test independently and have the required skills. If you undertake a reading and numeracy assessment, TAFE SA will inform you of your results as soon as practicable after the assessment. A copy of your results will be stored for five years after you enrol and may be provided to the Commonwealth if requested; OR
  • provide a copy of a qualification at Certificate IV level or above in the Australian Qualifications Framework, that has been delivered in English. 

If you are not able to meet any of these requirements, you will not be eligible to apply for a Commonwealth VET Student loan. 

How to apply for VET Student Loans

Student Counselling

TAFE SA Staff must ensure that all VET Student Loans eligible students are counselled before enrolling in a new VET Student Loans qualification. This counselling must include the information on the VET Student Loans scheme, ensuring it is understood and acknowledged in full by the student.

Students will need to submit an Acknowledgement of Understanding to acknowledge that they understand their obligations, evidence requirements and the application process. This is required for each qualification a student wishes to apply for a VET Student Loan for.

How to apply

Once counselling has occurred, and the student has submitted approved eligibility documentation, completed and submitted their Acknowledgement of Understanding and been deemed eligible to apply, TAFE SA will upload student enrolment data to the Commonwealth Government eCAF system. 

Students must apply for VET Student Loans before their first Census date to receive VET Student Loans for that unit of study. 

What is the Census Date?

The Census date is the last date which students can apply for VET Student Loans. The Census date is also the last date which students can withdraw from a unit of study (CRN) without incurring a debt for that unit of study. A student’s CRN Census date is calculated as their nominated start date plus 20% of the course duration. 

The Census day table shows the duration and Census in day(s) for each unit of study for each qualification / course.

  • At TAFE SA, a Unit of Study is equivalent to a single Unit of Competence for VET Student Loan purposes.

TAFE SA has provided a Census date calculator to enable students to view their Census dates prior to CRN registration. The census date calculator is available via the Census Date Calculator link on the Self-Service Banner (SSB) homepage.

Student requirements for a VET Student Loan

Students must meet engagement and progression requirements to continue accessing a VET Student Loan. They do this by completing a Progression Survey.

Progression surveys are used to verify that VET Student Loan students are ‘genuine’ and reasonably engaged in their course. The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (the department) is not required to pay a VET Student Loan for students who are not considered genuine.

TAFE SA must trigger for Progression surveys to be sent to students at the 3 fixed Progression Points- February, June and October or when a student returns from a break in their study.

A student will receive their first survey once at least 4 months have passed since they completed their eCAF (VET Student loan application).

Students are required to complete a Progression survey in the eCAF system at least twice a year to indicate their most up to date study status. Failure to respond to the progression survey may result in upfront payment of tuition fees.

Further information is available VSL Progression Form Fact Sheet 

Deferring or recommencing study/training

TAFE SA understands that students may need to defer their studies due to varying reasons. Students should discuss deferring their studies with their program/lecturer and complete the Application for Leave from Enrolment form.

When a student decides to defer or withdraw, they are required to indicate/notify this on their next Progression Survey – this will advise the Commonwealth Government of their current status.

Alternately when recommencing training at TAFE SA, students should contact the program/lecturer to discuss and plan their return to study.  

TAFE SA will initiate an individual Progression Survey the student must respond to, advising the date of their recommencement. By completing this process, it will advise the Commonwealth Government of their return to training. This will enable the remaining fees to be applied to the student’s VET Student Loan (up to the current Course Loan CAP) if they return to study in the same qualification they completed their VET Student Loan application (eCAF) for. If the qualification has been superseded, the student will be required to complete VET Student Loan counselling and be deemed eligible before completing a new eCAF for the replacement qualification.

Students that have successfully completed unit/s of competency can apply for recognition of unit/s.

What Happens if I Withdraw?

If you are an eligible student studying a Diploma or above qualification and withdraw on or before the census date you will receive a full 100% refund of any tuition fees you have paid upfront and will not incur a student loan debt. To be deemed as an eligible student you must have undergone VET Student Loan counselling, provided appropriate eligibility documentation and been assessed as eligible to apply for a VET Student Loan.

Students who want to withdraw should first speak to their lecturer to discuss this prior to completing and submitting their Withdrawals and Refunds form.

If a re-credit is not approved and a student is not satisfied with this decision, they can apply for a review within 28 days by completing an Application to review a refund/re-credit decision.

Students that withdraw from units of study will be eligible for recognition towards any units of competency successfully completed.

Grievance procedures for academic and non-academic issues

To ensure fair treatment for students, TAFE SA aims to create an intellectual environment where academic honesty, critical judgment, and independent scholarly learning are well understood and highly valued by staff, students, employers, schools, and the community. Further information can be found on the Academic Integrity - TAFE SA webpage.

You may raise a concern or grievance for a range of matters including academic results, harassment, vilification, discrimination, misuse of personal information, financial matters, course application and enrolment. Complaints to TAFE SA are managed in accordance with TAFE SA’s Customer Resolution and Feedback Policy. In the first instance, you should speak with a lecturer, counsellor or any administration staff. They may be able to resolve your complaint or otherwise, you can make a complaint by completing and submitting the online form on the TAFE SA Feedback or Complaint web page.

For more information in relation to an Assessment Appeal please see the Assessment Policy.

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome and your complaint is specifically related to a VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loan, you can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman - VET Student Loans on 1300 362 072. TAFE SA is committed to the principles of the VET Student Loans Code of Practice.

Further information is available at Commonwealth OMBUDSMAN VET Student Loans website.

Student Code of Behaviour

Please familiarise yourself with TAFE SA's Student Code of Behaviour.

Tuition Assurance Arrangement

Tuition assurance refers to the protections and assistance available to support VET Student Loans and FEE-HELP students, in the event that their education provider stops delivering their course or closes entirely. Please refer to the Tuition Assurance information for students fact sheet for more information.

If TAFE SA ceases to provide a qualification/course that you are enrolled, TAFE SA will provide you enrolment in a similar qualification/course to study.

New Tuition Assurance arrangements were introduced by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) on January 1st 2020.

For information regarding these arrangements, please refer to Tuition Protection - Questions and Answers on Future Arrangements for VET Student Loans

Tuition Fees

The Schedule of Fees should be used as a guide to provide information on fees and Census days for units of study. Each student will be provided with a Fee Advice during counselling providing fee and census date information specific to their registrations into the relevant qualification. Indicative qualification fees are available on the course information pages.

Loan Fee

A 20 per cent loan fee applies to VET Student Loans for full fee paying/fee for service students.  You do not have to pay the loan fee upfront – it is added to your VETSL debt at the ATO.

The loan fee does not count towards your HELP loan limit.

Repaying a VET Student Loan

Repaying your loan is through the tax system when your income is above the minimum repayment threshold. The repayment thresholds are adjusted annually to reflect changes in average weekly earnings. The minimum repayment income threshold for 2022-23 is $48,361.

A VET Student Loan is a personal debt obligation that can affect your credit rating and have wage and tax repayment implications. From 1 July 2017, all existing and future debtors from any Commonwealth student loan program who move overseas must make compulsory HELP repayments. If you are living overseas and earning an income that exceeds the minimum repayment threshold, you will be required to make compulsory repayments towards your debt. Please refer to the ATO website for more information.

If you require further information regarding Commonwealth loan repayment thresholds, please visit the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations website.

Policies and Procedures

Related policies and procedures cover fair treatment, personal information, academic grievance, student complaint resolution and refunds/re-credits. If you require further information, please email

Contact Us

If you have any queries, please contact us or call 1800 882 661.

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