VET Student Loans

VET Student Loans

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From 1 January 2017, the Commonwealth VET Student Loans program replaced the existing VET FEE-HELP loan program.

This Commonwealth Government program allows you 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 your fees are above the loan cap, you will need to pay the difference. Please refer to the current ACMUSE Schedule of Course Fees and Charges for course costs.

The VET Student Loan program allows eligible students to defer tuition fees for approved diploma or advanced diploma courses.

You can either:

  • defer all your tuition fees (up to the loan cap limit)
  • pay some of your tuition fees upfront and defer the balance.
  • Your loan is repaid through the Australian tax system. When you reach the minimum income threshold for repayment. There is a loan fee of 20% for full fee-paying students.

There is no loan fee for eligible students in some NSW Government subsidised (Smart and Skilled) training places.

For more information about the fees for Government subsidised training places please visit Smart and Skilled – Prices, fees and subsidies in 2017.

Centrelink benefits do not affect your eligibility or the loan amount you can access. Fee concessions are not available for fee-for-service courses.

To be eligible, you must either:

  • 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 (SCV subclass 444) who meets the long term residency requirements.*


You must also:

  • 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 (that is, assessed as academically suitable to undertake a high level vocational qualification)
  • have a Commonwealth Higher Education Support Number (CHESSN)
    not have exceeded your lifetime Commonwealth student loan limit.

The Commonwealth requires all students studying in a nationally recognised training course to have a USI. If you already have one, please ensure you use this same USI whenever you enrol for any training. If you don’t have a USI, go to register before you apply to enrol, or you can apply as part of your enrolment.

New Zealand citizens

The residency requirements for New Zealand citizens on a Special Category Visa are:

You first began living in Australia at least 10 years before applying for a loan, and at that time, were a child under 18 years of age and did not have a spouse or de-facto partner.

You have been in Australia for at least eight of the 10 years immediately prior to applying and at least 18 months of the last two years.
You will need to provide evidence of your eligibility to ACMUSE before requesting a VET Student Loan.

VET Student Loans are available for full-time Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses at ACMUSE. These courses are on the Commonwealth Government’s VET Student Loan program list.

Click here to view the Commonwealth Government’s VET Student Loan program approved course list.

If course prices are above the maximum loan a student may borrow, payment arrangements are available. You will be advised of these when you enquire.

A VET Student Loan is an agreement between you and the Commonwealth Government.

To apply for a VET Student loan:

  • you must meet all the loan eligibility requirements
  • if you are accepted into a course, ACMUSE will advise the Commonwealth that you wish to apply
  • the Commonwealth will then email your logon details and password to access the online loan application
  • if approved, ACMUSE will be advised by the Commonwealth and your enrolment can be finalised.

As with any loan you take, you must understand the terms and conditions before you make a commitment.

Please read the VET Student Loan information available on the Commonwealth Department of Education website and consider seeking independent financial advice.

There are no age restrictions to apply for a VET Student Loan. For students who are under 18, your parent or guardian must co-sign your loan request.

When you apply online:

  • you will need to print your application
  • have your parent or guardian sign the application
  • then take this to your college.

Your parent or guardian will not be responsible for making loan repayments and it will not affect their credit rating. You will begin making repayments once your income reaches the minimum payment threshold.

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Student Entry Procedure

All students wishing to apply for a Commonwealth VET Student Loan must be assessed for academic suitability to undertake a high level VET qualification. This is aimed at ensuring you have the skills and knowledge to succeed in your course.

Academic assessment is in addition to any other entry requirements for your course, or any other additional selection criteria. Refer to the VET Student Loans – Entry Procedure.

To be assessed as academically suitable, you must either:

  • provide a copy of your senior secondary certificate of education (that has been awarded by an Australian authority or agency), or
  • provide evidence of attainment of an Australian Qualification Framework qualification at certificate 4 or above, or
  • undertake an approved literacy and numeracy assessment and be competent at Exit Level 3 or above in reading and numeracy. Your college will assist you through the process to undertake this assessment if required. There is no cost to you.

Credit transfer

If you have completed previous studies, you could be eligible for reduced fees. You should let ACMUSE know as soon as possible if you have experience in the area you are studying and think you may qualify for RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning). You can also discuss this with your teacher before you enrol.

Completing a high level qualification with ACMUSE provides a credit pathway to university degrees with selected providers.

Fees for courses eligible for VET Student Loans are charged by Units of Study. Your course will have a least three Units of Study and your payments will be spread across the duration of your course. Each Unit of Study has a census day, set at no less than 20% into the Unit of Study.

You will be sent an Invoice Notice 14 days before each census day, indicating your fees and census dates. Your debt is incurred on the day after the census day. After a census day has passed, ACMUSE will also send you a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) for that Unit of Study. The CAN will provide you with information about your debt, including the loan fee if applicable. If you believe your CAN is incorrect, you should contact your college immediately.

For a few courses, there may be a gap between the course fee and the loan cap that the Commonwealth will allow for your course. You will be advised of this when you enquire, and also about other payment options that may be available.

The lifetime loan limit is the total amount you can incur in your lifetime under any Commonwealth student loan scheme – whether it is Higher Education FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or a VET Student Loan. It is indexed each year, in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2017, the lifetime loan limit is $100,879 for most students. Students can view their loan obligations by logging into myUniAssist on the Study Assist website You will need your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) to log in.

You repay your loan through the tax system when your 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 2017-18 is $55,874.

A VET Student Loan is a personal debt obligation that can affect your credit rating and have wage and tax repayment implications.

From 1 July 2017, all existing and future debtors from any Commonwealth student loan program who move overseas must make compulsory HELP repayments. If you are living overseas and earning an income that exceeds the minimum repayment threshold, you will be required to make compulsory repayments towards your debt. Please refer to the ATO website for more information.

Further information about VET Student Loans, including Frequently Asked Questions and loan limit information is available at the Study Assist website and the Department of Education and Training website.

If you are considering applying for a VET Student Loan, you should familiarise yourself with your obligations and eligibility by reading the information in the links below.

Further information is available at:

To ensure fair treatment for students, ACMUSE has policies on student selection, entry requirements, assessment and equal opportunity.

Grievance procedures for academic matters

To ensure fair treatment for students, ACMUSE has policies on student selection, entry requirements, assessment and equal opportunity.

ACMUSE has a grievance and appeals process. You are entitled to raise any concerns about your academic results or appeal a result.

In the first instance, you should talk to your trainer for more information about the appeals process.

Grievance procedures for non-academic matters

You may raise a concern or grievance for a range of non-academic matters, including harassment, vilification, discrimination, misuse of personal information, financial matters and course applications.

You may report your grievance to a trainer, Welfare support officer. See the Non-academic grievance procedure on our website.

Grievance procedures for academic matters

To ensure fair treatment for students, ACMUSE has policies on student selection, entry requirements, assessment and equal opportunity.

If you choose to withdraw, you may be entitled to a refund of any up-front payment you’ve made, or re-credit of your loan balance if you have taken a Commonwealth loan.

You must withdraw in writing by completing the appropriate withdrawal form available on our website.

The loan amount you incur will depend on the timing of your withdrawal. There are no penalties if you withdraw on or before the census day. However, once a census day has passed, the loan amount for the Unit of Study is incurred.

In some special circumstances, you may apply to have your debt reversed.

Application to Re-credit a HELP Balance
Students also have the right to apply for a review of a decision not to re-credit a loan balance. See the VET Student Review Procedures.


Grievance procedures for academic matters

To ensure fair treatment for students, ACMUSE has policies on student selection, entry requirements, assessment and equal opportunity.

If ACMUSE ceases to provide a course in which you are enrolled, ACMUSE will ensure that you are offered enrolment in a similar course of study.

Alternatively, ACMUSE will:

  • Refund any upfront payment for nay unit of study due to ACMUSE ceasing to offer that course
  • Recredit your loan balance for the affected unit
  • Act in accordance with the Statement of VET Tuition Assurance


Personal information and privacy notification

When you enrol at ACMUSE, the collection, storage, use and disclosure of any personal information you provide are protected by legislation. We may disclose your personal information to Australian Government agencies, including Services Australia, where this is required or authorised by Australian law.

  • Information about your enrolment with us may be disclosed if you are claiming or receiving a payment from Services Australia.
  • You are still required to notify Services Australia of any change in circumstances that may affect your payment.

Personal information disclosed to Services Australia is protected by law, including the Privacy Act 1988. More information about the way Services Australia handles personal information can be found on their privacy webpage.