VET Student Loans

Central Regional TAFE students who meet the eligibility requirements and are enrolled in eligible Diploma or Advanced Diploma courses can apply for a VET Student Loan to assist with paying for study.

When you take out a VET Student Loan, the Commonwealth Government pays the amount of your loan directly to Central Regional TAFE, and you repay your loan through the Australian taxation system once you start earning over the compulsory repayment threshold(opens in a new tab)  (opens in a new tab) .

The rate at which you repay the loan is based on your income; as you earn more you will repay a higher percentage of your taxable income towards your loan.

There is no application or loan fee for VET Student Loan government subsidised courses, however there is a loan fee of 20% for commercial course VET Student Loan debts. The accumulated debt is indexed according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Indexation of your VET Student Loan debt occurs annually in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

A VET Student Loan debt (VETSL debt) continues to be due to the Commonwealth until it is repaid and it may reduce your after tax wage or salary. It may also reduce your borrowing capacity until it is repaid. You may wish to seek independent financial advice before applying for a loan.

Further information about VET Student Loans can be found in the Student Information Booklet or on the Commonwealth Website. 

You must meet ALL of the eligibility criteria detailed below:
  • Be enrolled in an eligible course with Central Regional TAFE and are studying the approved course primarily at a campus in Australia,
Citizenship/Residency Requirements:

Be an Australian citizen (evidence required differs according to whether you were born before, on, or after 20 August 1986 or born overseas)* 

OR
OR
  • Be a permanent humanitarian visa holder who is usually resident in Australia (check your visa details here(opens in a new tab) )
Academic Eligibility Requirements:
  • You have been assessed by your approved course provider as academically suited to undertake the approved course by either:
  • providing your Australian Secondary Education Certificate (Year 12) as issued by the relevant State Government Authority (not your school); OR
  • providing evidence of successful completion of an Australian Qualifications Framework Certificate IV or higher delivered in English; OR
  • having attained an Exit Level 3 or higher in the Australian Core Skills Framework in both literacy and numeracy using a Commonwealth approved testing tool.
Other Eligibility Requirements:
  • You have not exceeded your HELP(opens in a new tab)  limit.
  • Have a valid Tax File Number (TFN). If you do not have a TFN you must provide a Certificate of application for a TFN in the first instance. The College must be advised of your TFN  within 6 weeks of your first census day.
  • Have a Unique Student Identifier (USI).

Download the eligibility checklist. (213 KB) (PDF document - opens in a new tab)

You may apply for a loan at any time throughout your study, however, the loan can only be approved for units with a future census date. Retrospective access is not permitted.

  • You must have enrolled with the College. The full two business days cooling off period as required by the Commonwealth will begin from enrolment confirmation date. You cannot apply for a VET Student Loan less than two days before your first census day. It is recommended that you complete your application as soon as possible.

  • Complete the VSL Application Assessment Form (241 KB) (PDF document - opens in a new tab)  and lodge this along with your eligibility evidence (and Parental Consent Form with parent/guardian evidence if applicable). Please note that documents supplied previously to TAFE Admissions are not usually made available to VET Student Loan staff, so you may need to provide your documents again. 

  • The College will generate your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN). Permission for the College to do this must be given on the completed VSL Application Assessment Form.

  • After the two business days cooling off period the College will then generate your electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF). This will be sent to your personal email address.

  • You will need to verify the pre-populated information and complete other mandatory fields in your application, including your Tax File Number (TFN). If you do not have a TFN you must provide a Certificate of application for a TFN in the first instance. The College must be advised of your TFN  within 6 weeks of your first census day.

  • If there are any errors in the eCAF, please contact the College immediately.

  • You must confirm that you have read the VET Student Loan Information booklet.

  • Submit the eCAF as requested by your first census day. A copy of your approval and application will be emailed to you by the Commonwealth. The College will be advised of the outcome of your application.

eCAf fact sheet(opens in a new tab)

If you no longer wish to pay your tuition fees using a VET Student Loan, you must notify Client and Student Administration as soon as possible. If you do not proceed with or cancel your VET Student Loan, you must arrange to pay any outstanding tuition fees to the College as soon as they become due.

Applying for a VET Student Loan

Before you apply

Make sure you have enrolled with CRTAFE and that you are applying for a loan for units with a future census date. Retrospective access is not permitted.

Don't leave your application until the last minute - you cannot apply for a VET Student Loan less than two days before your first census day. It is recommended that you complete your application as soon as possible.

You will need to gather the necessary documents to meet the citizenship requirement, academic suitability requirement as well as your Tax File Number. Under 18 students also require a Parental Consent Form.

It is your responsibility to provide the correct evidence to meet the VET Student Loan eligibility criteria. If you provide insufficient evidence, this will delay processing of your application which in turn may result in some or all fees being ineligible for a loan if the administrative date or census dates pass.

Please refer to the Eligibility Requirements above before applying, and contact us if you are unsure if you meet the criteria.

Apply for a VET Student Loan

When submitting the VET Student Loan Application (Step 2) students will need to provide the following documents.

Australian citizens

  • Current Australian passport (preferred), or 
  • Australian Citizenship Certificate, or 
  • Full Australian Birth Certificate *

* If you were born on or after 20 August 1986, and both parents were born outside Australia, you must also provide proof that one or both parents were Australian Citizens at the time of your birth.

If you do not have any of the above forms of evidence, you will need to apply for evidence of Australian citizenship by lodging a Form 119(opens in a new tab)  (opens in a new tab) with Home Affairs.

Permanent Humanitarian Visa holders

  • Current passport with humanitarian visa details

New Zealand Special Category Visa 444

Academic suitability documents

  • Australian Year 12 Senior Secondary Certificate of Education issued from a State governing body (e.g. WACE in WA) , or 
  • A Certificate IV or higher in an Australian Qualification Framework (or equivalent course delivered in English) , or 
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) diploma, or 
  • An 'Exit Level 3' or higher in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) Opens in a new window(opens in a new tab)  assessment test in reading and numeracy. 

    The College currently uses the  Commonwealth approved LLN Robot Tool. Opens in a new window(opens in a new tab)  

Under 18 students

  • A completed and signed parental consent form, or 
  • A Centrelink income statement showing that you receive Youth Allowance at the independent rate.
  • If you are not an Independent Youth as assessed by Centrelink, a parent must complete the VET Student Loans Parental Consent—student under 18 years form(opens in a new tab) .
  • If you can prove you are an independent Under 18 as assessed by Centrelink, you will not need to submit a parental consent form. You will need to provide evidence that you have been assessed as an Independent Youth by Centrelink.
  • Complete the VSL Application Assessment Form (241 KB) (PDF document - opens in a new tab)  and lodge this along with your eligibility evidence (and Parental Consent Form with parent/guardian evidence if applicable). Please note that documents supplied previously to TAFE Admissions are not usually made available to VET Student Loan staff, so you may need to provide your documents again. 

  • The College will generate your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN). Permission for the College to do this must be given on the completed VSL Application Assessment Form.

  • After the two business days cooling off period the College will then generate your electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF). This will be sent to your personal email address.

  • You will need to verify the pre-populated information and complete other mandatory fields in your application, including your Tax File Number (TFN). If you do not have a TFN you must provide a Certificate of application for a TFN in the first instance. The College must be advised of your TFN  within 6 weeks of your first census day.

  • If there are any errors in the eCAF, please contact the College immediately.

  • Submit the eCAF as requested by your first census day. A copy of your approval and application will be emailed to you by the Commonwealth. The College will be advised of the outcome of your application.

eCAf fact sheet(opens in a new tab)

If you fail to submit your eCAF on time, your enrolment may be cancelled. To re-instate the enrolment you will need to pay in full or by payment plan for any units that have passed the administrative date.

The Commonwealth Government has introduced the VET Student Loan Progression process to make sure that you are engaged in the training related to your VET Student Loan.

To demonstrate this and continue to be eligible, you must complete the VET Student Loans— Confirming enrolment and continued course engagement and participation form through the eCAF system, approximately every four months. This is usually around February, June and October.

During each progression period:

  • An email will be sent to your personal email account with a link to the form. You will be asked to complete a short survey and indicate one of the following options: Continuing, Deferring, Withdrawn or Completed.
  • You will have 14 days to complete the form.

If you do not complete it in time, please contact Central Regional TAFE as soon as possible.

If you do not confirm your continuing engagement and participation using the Progression Form, you may be ineligible to continue accessing a VET student loan to pay for your fees.

Student Progression Fact Sheet

Frequently asked questions

Census Dates

A census date is the last day to submit an application for a VET Student Loan, this includes providing all information and submitting the eCAF. If you miss the first census date for your course, you can apply for a VET Student Loan for your future census dates.

The fees for your course will be spread across a minimum of three fee periods and each fee period will contain at least one census date. The census dates will be set at 20 per cent of the duration of the unit or later. For flexible enrolments (including continuous enrolments, RPL and shorter delivery) the census date will be calculated at 20 per cent of the duration of the unit.

A census date is the day that you will incur a debt for the unit fees.

  • If you withdraw formally from units by the census day, you will not incur a debt for those units. 
  • If you withdraw after the census date has passed, you will be liable for the full debt for that unit if you have taken out a VET Student Loan. Any other outstanding fees not covered by a loan will remain payable.

Students should check their individual enrolments in the student portal for census dates specific to their units, as these can vary.

To check the census dates for all your course units at your campus, contact us using the details at the bottom of this page. 

Withdrawals

If you have applied for a VET Student Loan, and you withdraw from a unit or course before or on the census date, you will not incur a VET Student Loan debt for the unit or course you are withdrawing from and you will receive a full refund/re-credit on your loan.

You will incur a debt if you applied for VET Student Loan and failed to withdraw before the census date. Any up-front payments will be lost and your HELP limit will be reduced.

Further information can be found on our Fees and Payment Options page.

Withdrawals - Special Circumstances

If special circumstances apply, you may be eligible for re-credit of your HELP balance. In this case, you will need to complete and submit an Application for Refund and Re-credit of  HELP balance.  Further details about eligibility details and the form required can be found below under the heading, Forms and College Policies.

If you wish to apply for a VET Student Loan to pay for your tuition fees, you will need to satisfy the Commonwealth requirements for literacy and numeracy.

If you cannot provide a copy of your Australian Secondary Certificate of Education (Year 12) as issued by the relevant State Authority; or a copy of an Australian Qualifications Framework Certificate IV or higher qualification (where the language of instruction is English); you will need to attain an 'Exit Level 3' or higher in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF)(opens in a new tab)  assessment test in reading and numeracy. 

The College currently uses the  Commonwealth approved LLN Robot Tool. (opens in a new tab) Assessments are based on the community domain of communication, using examples from everyday life to avoid bias relating to specific training or working environments and experience. 

If a literacy and numeracy assessment is required you will be advised at your initial loan interview. Appointments for any required testing can be made at your interview or by contacting Client and Student Administration at your local campus. You will require a personal email address for this test.

About the Assessment
  • A link to the test will be sent to your personal email account immediately before your appointment. You must be able to login to your personal email to access the link.
  • The assessment has two components: Reading and Numeracy.
  • Consists of thirty questions, 15 for reading and 15 for numeracy. 
  • The format of questions is a mix of point and click; drag and drop; reorder items and text or numerical entry.
  • Marking is done automatically by the tool.
  • 13 out of 15 questions for both reading and numeracy must be answered correctly to be assessed at Level 3 of the ACSF.
Assessment Conditions
  • The assessment is online and must be conducted with honesty and integrity as per Commonwealth requirements. The assessment is done at your nearest campus under supervision and in a single sitting. No pre-study material is available.
  • When commencing the assessment you are required to make a declaration that the assessment will be completed without assistance and that the answers are your own work.
  • Please bring photo ID with you.
  • Calculators, pencils and paper will be supplied.
  • Mobile devices and the Internet are not permitted to be used.
  • Two hours will be allocated to complete the assessment, but you may request additional time should the need arise.
What Happens Next
  • Your assessment results will usually be available immediately after your assessment.
  • Your assessment supervisor will advise you of your results.  In addition, a copy will be emailed to you. We will discuss your results and your next steps.
  • You will need to obtain an 'Exit Level 3' for both reading and numeracy components to be eligible for a VET Student Loan.
  • If you do not meet the level required, retesting may occur after three months when appropriate literacy and numeracy support has been undertaken. You are encouraged to speak to your lecturer about this.
  • Your results will be kept by the College for five years and made available to the Commonwealth when requested.

The Vet Student Loans Commonwealth Ombudsman investigates complaints about problems that students with HELP loans have with their training provider in Australia. More information about the Ombudsman's role change found on the Ombudsman's website.(opens in a new tab)  

The VET Student Loan Ombudsman (VSLO) in the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman is the primary contact point for any person who believes that they have a HELP debt which they should not have.

  • If you believe you have a HELP debt you shouldn’t, you can find information about how to make a complaint, how the VSLO can help and FAQs on the Ombudsman website. This fact sheet (174 KB) (PDF document - opens in a new tab)  also provides information about the VET FEE-HELP Student Redress Measures which ceased 31 December 2020.
  • You can also check your HELP debt records by logging on to the myHELPbalance portal. (opens in a new tab) You will need your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) to log on. Your CHESSN will be in documentation sent to you by your training provider.
  • If you are not able to locate your CHESSN, you can check your HELP debt records in your myGov account. If you do not have a myGov account, you can set one up by selecting “Create an account” from this link. (opens in a new tab)

Further information

You will be sent the following notices once your application has been processed:

  • VET Student Loans - Statement of Covered fees - this is included with the Fee Notice. Read the Fee Notice information sheet (133 KB) (PDF document - opens in a new tab)  for more about the notice.
  • The Fee Notice will usually be sent out at least 14 days prior to each census date to notify you of what units are due to pass their census date, tuition fees you may have paid up-front and the tuition fees that will be applied to your loan. Your tuition fees will be reasonably apportioned across a number of sequential fee periods and each fee period will contain at least one census day.
  • The Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) will usually be sent out within 28 days of the census date passing.  This notice will confirm the amount of loan debt you have incurred. It will include your unit tuition fees, any upfront payments you have made, and the VET Student Loan amount you have received. This is not an invoice. Read the CAN information sheet (129 KB) (PDF document - opens in a new tab)  for more about the notice.
  • Please check that all of the details on your Notices are correct and notify the College in writing within 14 days of any changes that may need to be made.
  • You may receive more than one Fee Notice and CAN each semester if your enrolled units have different census dates. 
Continuing Students

Students who are required to enrol at each stage of their course or add units to their course must advise the College that they wish to continue using the loan to pay for their tuition fees.

This can be done by downloading the required form and lodging with the College ASAP after enrolment.  You will be able to add new units until you reach the loan cap for your course. Once the cap is reached you will need to pay for your tuition fees upfront or set up a payment plan to pay as they become due.

Request to Add Units form (207 KB) (PDF document - opens in a new tab)

Updating Contact Details

Your personal information may be reported to the Commonwealth, State Government, Tuition Assurance Scheme Operators and other agencies as per legislative requirements.

It is important that you inform us about changes to your contact detailsWe will send you important information about your VET Student Loan. In addition, the College is required to report the correct details to the Australian Taxation Office.

More information on keeping track of your personal loan debt (opens in a new tab) can be found on the Commonwealth website.

Ongoing Student Obligations(opens in a new tab)

Contact Details

If you need more assistance understanding VET Student Loans, have a question, or are a student with a disability who needs help with the loan application process, contact us today:

1800 672 700
info@crtafe.wa.edu.au