VET FEE-HELP allows students to study now and pay later. It's an income-contingent, interest-free Australian Government loan scheme that helps eligible students pay their tuition fees for diploma and advanced diploma level VET courses at approved training providers.
Important information for students considering a VET FEE-HELP Loan
The Commonwealth government has announced a re-design of the current VET FEE-HELP loan scheme from 1 January 2017.
The current VET FEE-HELP scheme will cease 31 December 2016. The new VET Student Loans program will replace the existing scheme from 1 January 2017.
This is a new student loans program that replaces the current VET FEE-HELP scheme, to give eligible students access to quality higher level VET qualifications, particularly those students who could not otherwise afford to pay upfront.
Course eligibility for VET Student Loans will be limited to courses that have a high national priority, meet industry needs, contribute to addressing skills shortages and lead to employment outcomes.
To get a VET Student Loan, you must:
You must meet ALL criteria as outlined in the 2017 VET Student Loans Information Book and ensure you are:
To apply for a VET Student Loan you must complete the Request for a VET Student Loan eCAF by the census day. You must read the “VET Student Loans Information for 2017” Booklet before submitting the ‘Request for VET Student Loan eCAF’
If you do not complete the eCAF, or other permitted form, by the required date for your course, you will have to wait until the next study period (e.g. next semester or trimester) to request a VET Student Loan for future study. Retrospective access to VET Student Loans is not allowed under any circumstances.
The census day is the most important date for you to know about!
The census day is the last day you can:
Every part of a course (unit or subject) has its own census day, so that you incur debts as you progress through your course, not for the whole course at the beginning. Providers are required by law to publish census days.
You will be sent an invoice before the census day so that you have all the information you need to make your study and payment decisions.
You can borrow up to the FEE-HELP limit to pay your tuition fees. The FEE-HELP limit is the total amount available to you under VET Student Loans, VET FEE-HELP and FEE-HELP over your lifetime. Any amount you borrow under VET Student Loans, VET FEE-HELP or FEE-HELP will be added together until you reach the FEE-HELP limit. You are responsible for keeping track of your FEE-HELP balance and for advising your provider if you do not have enough left to cover your tuition fees.
For 2017, the FEE-HELP limit is $100,879 for most students. The FEE-HELP limit is a lifetime limit and is not reset or ‘topped up’ by any repayments that you make.
There is no interest charged on HELP debts. Your HELP debt is, however, indexed each year.
A 20 per cent loan fee applies to VET Student Loans for full fee paying / fee for service students.
The loan fee does not count towards your FEE-HELP limit. You do not have to pay the loan fee upfront – it is reported by your provider and is added to your HELP debt at the ATO.
You do not pay the loan fee if you are a student who is subsidised by a state or territory government. If you are not sure if you are a subsidised VET student, contact your Customer Service Centre.
Your VET Student Loans debt forms part of your accumulated HELP debt. You must start repaying your HELP debt through the tax system once your income is above the compulsory repayment threshold, even if you are still studying.
The threshold is adjusted each year and for the 2016–17 income year it is $54,869 or above. Repayments made through the Australian taxation system are called ‘compulsory repayments’ and continue until you have repaid your whole debt.
From 1 July 2017, anyone who has a HELP debt, and earns above the minimum repayment threshold, will be required to repay their debt regardless of where they live, whether in Australia or overseas. Visit www.studyassist.gov.au for more information.
You may also make voluntary payments and this could result in a benefit to you in the long term.
"I couldn't afford the fees, but VET FEE-HELP enabled me to continue studying. I'm now working in an accountant's office and would definitely recommend VET FEE-HELP to others."
-- Gayle Fitzpatrick
Advanced Diploma of Accounting
"I wasn't working at the time and thought it would be a great idea to pay my TAFE fees off after I found a job. I'm now working full-time. VET FEE-HELP allowed me to study and not have to worry about money issues."
Diploma of Visual Merchandising
"I didn't have the money to pay for the course so needed assistance. VET FEE-HELP has been great. It's not always easy to pay up front, so having this option is an opportunity that anyone should take when it comes to planning their successful future."
-- Zeklina Talveski
Advanced Diploma of Justice
"I didn't have enough money saved to pay for the course out right. VET FEE-HELP enabled me to study without having to borrow money from my parents or the bank. I'm now employed as a massage therapist and would definitely recommend VET FEE-HELP."
Diploma of Massage Therapy
"VET FEE-HELP enabled me to advance my skillset whilst still covering immediate living expenses. I'm now practicing in my own clinic!"
Diploma of Myotherapy
"As a mother of three children on Centrelink payments, VET FEE-HELP made studying less stressful as I wasn't worried about my children missing out."
Advanced Diploma of Justice