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Home | Future Students | VET Student Loans

VET Student Loans

Central  Regional TAFE is a training provider approved  to offer VET Student Loans for a selection of Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses. The loan program assists eligible students to pay course tuition fees when studying at an approved provider. For more information about the scheme please visit the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment website OR download the current VET Student Loans Information Booklet.

VET student loans will not be approved for students who do not meet the eligibility requirements. Students with approved loans will be required at set intervals to demonstrate that they are engaged and progressing through their course. 

There is no application or loan fee for government subsidised courses. However, a 20% loan fee is applied to a Fee for Service or Commercial course. You will be advised if this applies to your course. Your accumulated debt is indexed according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This occurs annually in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

You may wish to seek independent financial advice before applying for a loan as approved loans remain a personal debt until  repaid to the Commonwealth (VETSL debt).

View the College's list of approved courses with relevant loan caps. Should the tuition fees for your course exceed the loan cap, you will need to pay the difference directly to the College or arrange a payment plan as the fees become due. 

Further details about the eligibility requirements and application process and your obligations can be found in the sections below.

Eligibility Requirements

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)  * 


  • Be a New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holder who meets the long-term residency requirements **


  • Be a permanent humanitarian visa holder who is usually resident in Australia ***

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 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).


* Students born before 20 August 1986 who do not have a current Australian Passport must provide their full birth certificate as issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

* Students born on or after 20 August 1986 and one of their parents was an Australian citizen at the time of their birth who do not have a current Australian Passport must provide their full birth certificate as issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages showing that one parent was born in Australia before 20 August 1986.

Students born on or after 20 August 1986 whose parent was born in Australia after this date, then the parent's full birth certificate as issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriage must be supplied.

* Students born on or after 20 August 1986 and one of their parents was a permanent resident of Australia at the time of their birth and who do not have a current Australian Passport must provide their Australian Citizenship Certificate. 

* Students born on or after 20 August 1986 and neither parent was an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of their birth and who have spent the first 10 years of their life in Australia and who do not have a current Australian Passport must provide their Australian Citizenship Certificate. 

* Students born overseas and have acquired Australian Citizenship must provide one of the following documents: current Australian Passport; Australian Citizenship Certificate or a Citizenship by Descent Extract. 

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants whose birth was not registered by the relevant State/Territory authority can complete the Statutory Declaration.

**  For New Zealand citizen eligibility requirements please visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website  for detailed information on the long term residency requirements.

***  Students can check if their visa class is eligible by visiting the Department of Home Affairs website to use VEVO.

  •  If your name differs on any documents then official proof of name change documents must also be supplied.
  • You must supply all your eligibility evidence at interview and enrolment or as soon as possible so that your loan application is not delayed.

Additional information for under 18's

  • 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.
  • 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.

Download the eligibility checklist.

Application Process

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 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

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.

Census Dates and Withdrawals

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, please check the VSL Delivery Schedule. 


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.

What Happens Next

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 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 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

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 details. We 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 can be found on the Commonwealth website.

Ongoing Student Obligations

Student Engagement and Progression Requirement 

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

Literacy and Numeracy Requirements

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) assessment test in reading and numeracy. 

The College currently uses the  Commonwealth approved LLN Robot Tool. 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.
Course Fees, Forms and College Policies
Commonwealth VET Student Loans Ombudsman 

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. 

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. A fact sheet 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. 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. 
Page last updated January 11, 2021