VET Student Loans

The Commonwealth Government VET Student Loans program allows eligibile 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.

Skills Training Australia is approved to offer VET Student Loans for specific diploma and advanced diploma qualifications. 

The 2019 schedule of tuition fees and census days for VET Student Loans can be found here

How Does VET Student Loans Work?

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.

VET Student Loans Eligibility

To be eligible, a student must:

  • - Be an Australian citizen; or
  • - Hold an eligible permanent humanitarian visa and usually reside in Australia; or
  • - Be a New Zealand citizen on Special Category Visa who meet the long term residency requirements:
    • The student first began living in Australia at least 10 years before applying for a loan, and at that time, was a child under 18 years of age and did not have a spouse or de-facto partner.
    • The student has been in Australia for at least 8 of the 10 years immediately prior to applying and at least 18 months of the previous 2 years.
  • - Have a tax file number or be applying for one
  • - Have a Unique Student Identifier (USI)
  • - Meet the academic suitability requirements of the VET Student Loans - Student Entry procedure (ie, assessed as academically suitable to undertake a high level vocational qualification)
  • - Have a Commonwealth Higher Education Support Number (CHESSN)
  • - Not have exceeded the lifetime Commonwealth student loan limit.
  • - Have read the VET Student Loans information booklet available here
  •  - Have provided any requested documentation to Skills Training Australia and  submitted the Commonwealth loan application online form (eCAF) by the first  census day and no less than two business days after enrolling
  •  - Comply with ongoing Commonwealth email requests to log on to complete an online student engagement form to confirm the student is a genuine student, continuing to study and progress in the course. Students will receive these requests two or three times a year, depending on how long the course is.

Unique Student Identifier
The Commonwealth requires all students studying a nationally recognised training course to have a USI. If a student already has one, the individual must use the same USI whenever enrolling for any training. If a student doesn't have a USI, the individual can register at or provide authorisation for the training provider to apply on the student's behalf at the time of application.

Commonweath Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)
A CHESSN is allocated to all students when they first access a Commonwealth loan. Any Commonwealth student loan taken is recorded against the student's CHESSN. If a student already has a CHESSN, the individual needs to supply that number.

Please note:

VET student loans will not be approved for students who do not meet eligibility requirements

A VET student loan gives rise to a HELP debt that continues to be a debt due to the Commonwealth until it is repaid


VET Student Loans Courses

Skills Training Australia is approved to offer the following courses:

CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services
CHC53415 Diploma of Leisure and Health
HLT54115 Diploma of Nursing
HLT64115 Advanced Diploma of Nursing

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

How To Apply

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
  • A student must read the VET Student Loans information booklet here
  • If a student is accepted into a course, Skills Training Australia will advise the Commonwealth that the individual wishes to apply
  • The Commonwealth will then email log-in details and a password to access the online loan application
  • The census day is the last day a student can apply for a loan for the fees for that period so please ensure the application is completed promptly

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.

Student under 18
There are no age restrictions to apply for a VET Student Loan. *For students who are under 18, a parent or guardian must sign a parental consent form. The template is available here

A parent or guardian will not be responsible for making loan repayments and it will not affect their credit rating. A student will begin making repayments once the individual's income reaches the minimum payment threshold.

* Note: Students may not need the parent/guardian consent form requirement if they have been assessed by Centrelink under specific conditions. For futher information please refer to the VET Student Loans Booklet here.

Student Entry Procedure

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:

Provide a copy of his/her senior secondary certificate of education from an Australian agency; OR

Undertake an approved reading and numeracy assessment attaining a minimum of ACSF Exit Level 3 in both reading and numeracy; OR

Provide evidence of a Level 4 or above qualification in the Australian Qualifications Framework and the course for the qualification was delivered in English. 

Please refer to the VET Student Loans - Student Entry Procedure 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:



Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

How Course Fees Are Charged

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 about covered fees after the student enrols 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 individual's fees and census days.

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

After a census day has passed, Skills Training 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 Skills Training Australia immediately to rectify.

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 enquiry, 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 2018, the lifetime loan limit is $102,392 for most students.

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

Repaying the Loan

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

Withdrawals, Cancellations & Refunds

A student may withdraw from a VET course of study or unit/s of study by completing the Withdrawal Form, or by providing an email or letter of intention to withdraw. 

Please refer to the Withdrawal - VET Student Loans Procedure for the process and information required if a student wishes to withdraw.

For Skills Training Australia's refund policy, please refer to Refund - VET Student Loans

There are no penalties if a student withdraws on or before the census day. However, once a census day has passed, the loan amount for the Unit of Study is incurred.

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 Cancellation of enrolment - VET Student Loans policy and procedure applies. Please refer to the Cancellation of Enrolment - VET Student Loan for details.

Rights And Responsibilities

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

Further information is available at:

  • Department of Education and training website here
  • Study Assist website here

Student may wish to seek independent financial advice as well.

Course Progression Confirmation

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

Students are required to log into the eCAF system three times in a calendar year for the duration of the course (February, June and October)

 A VET Student Loans - Confirming enrolment and continued course engagement and participation form (progression form) will be created in the eCAF environment for the student to complete this compulsory requirement.

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 FAQs page here

Tuition Assurance Protection

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 students’ FEEā€‘HELP balance for the affected part of the course will be re-credited.

For further information relating to tuition assurance please refer to:

Statement of Tuition Assurance for Exempt VET Student Loans Providers