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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.  

Loan Caps
  • Eligible students will be entitled for loans up to a capped amount. 
  • Training Providers may charge above the 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. 
Eligible courses

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 will 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 
  • 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.

How to apply

Once counselling has occurred and all evidence has been supplied to TAFE SA, student enrolment data will be uploaded to the new VET Student Loans application system. The Department of Education will send a passkey to the students nominated email with details on how to apply. TAFE SA will then be notified that the application has been successful and appropriate fees for eligible units (up to the course loan cap) will be deferred to the VET Student Loan. 

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. 

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.

What Happens if I Withdraw?

If you are an eligible student studying a Diploma or above qualification and withdraw 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.

If you are an eligible student studying a Diploma or above qualification and withdraw after the census date you will incur a debt (unless the debt is remitted under special circumstances) If special circumstances apply, you will need to apply for a refund / re-credit.

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.

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 dates 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.

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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