How VET Student Loans Work

Commonwealth Government’s VET Student Loans scheme allows eligible Learners to apply for a loan to pay for their fees up to capped amounts. The loan applies to eligible courses at the Diploma level or above. The Learner will then be required to pay the loan and a loan fee back to the government.

Learner Eligibility

There are specific criteria learners must meet to be eligible for a loan through VET Student Loans.

Learners must have been assessed as academically suited to undertake the eligible course and their FEE-HELP balance must be greater than zero. Furthermore, a learner must be:

  • an Australian citizen; or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa and usually reside in Australia; or
  • be a qualifying New Zealand citizen
  • Have not exceeded the FEE-HELP limit
  • Provides a Tax File Number
  • Studying an approved VSL Course: Only certain Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas, Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas are eligible for VET Student Loans
Units of Study

For each VSL Eligible Course on your scope, your RTO must determine how the Course will be broken down and delivered into components known as Units of Study (UoS) for which you will charge fees.

Eligible learners can choose to pay a UoS either upfront or by VSL Assistance. This can be in part and per UoS.

It is important to note that Units of Study are not Units of Competency (UoC) – they are a separate reporting structure for fee setting, collection and reporting purposes.

Key points:

  • The number of UoS for a course is at the discretion of your RTO
    • It is commonly recommended that they are a 1-1 match with your Units of Competency
  • The UoS cost can be the same for each UoS or can be different from one UoS to another
  • You will not issue a Statement of Attainment for Units of Study – you will only issue this for Units of Competency
  • You are still required to record the Unit of Competency outcomes and dates to meet your AVETMISS reporting
  • You will not deem a Learner competent for a Unit of Study – however, you will be required to report Unit of Study progress
  • It is only for Units of Study that a VSL Approved Provider can set and charge Learners tuition fees

A Unit of Competence is a subject or Unit attached to a qualification for which a Learner will be deemed competent if they successfully complete all assessments associated with the unit. You are required to issue a Statement of Attainment for all successfully completed Units of Competency.

Census Dates

For each Unit of Study you intend to deliver, your RTO must publish the cost and a Census Date in advance.

The Census Date for a Unit of Study is the closing date for a Learner to:

  1. Apply for VSL Assistance, or
  2. Change their mind if they have already applied for VSL Assistance, or
  3. Withdraw from a UoS without penalty

VET Student Loans Learners do not incur a liability for a Unit of Study until after the census date (see below) for that UoS. This applies to all Learners whether they pay their tuition fees up-front or seek VET Student Loans assistance.

The census date can be set no earlier than 20 per cent of the way through a VET unit of study. The period of time during which the unit of study is undertaken should include any normal study breaks, assessment or examination periods (except supplementary examinations as these are not normally undertaken by all the Learners in the Unit of Study).

Wisenet does not provide a Census Date calculator as this would normally be determined prior to setting up a Course Offer

VSL Payments
The tuition fee for a Unit of Study may be paid by:
    • An upfront payment by the Learner
    • An employer contribution
    • A scholarship payment
    • VET Student Loan (only available for eligible Learners)
    • A combination of the above
    If an eligible Learner chooses to take out a loan:
      • The government will pay the amount of the loan to your RTO on the Learner’s behalf
      • The loan will incur a loan fee – This rate varies ranging from 0-20% of the loan amount and may change in the future
      • The Learner will repay the loan and the loan fee through the taxation system when their earnings reach the repayment threshold limit

      The following table outlines in detail what a Learner is required to pay and what you will receive

      Reporting and Data Collection Requirements

      VSL is an additional layer of data collection and reporting. You are still required to meet other data collection and reporting requirements, such as AVETMISS, AQTF Competency Completion Reporting, Quality Indicator Surveys and other reporting requirements imposed on you by a Regulatory, Funding or other Government body.

      VSL Reporting Requirements
      Many of the VSL collection requirements overlap with current AVETMISS reporting requirements (such as name, date of birth, etc), whilst others are unique to VSL (such as reporting on UoS status). It is important to note that you do not report any Unit of Competency data for VSL – this includes:

      • The Unit of Competencies and their details being undertaken by the Learner

      You must collect and report VSL data on all eligible learners enrolled into a VSL eligible course – regardless of whether they are taking out a loan or not.

      You must submit VSL data via Tertiary Collection of Student Information (TCSI).

      Wisenet will be able to assist with any TCSI validation errors, but we can not provide you with training or other support on TCSI. However, TCSI Support regularly runs drop-in sessions and other training sessions which you can attend.

      ECAF - Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form
      It is a requirement that all Learners requiring VSL Assistance complete and submit an ECAF. Learn more about ECAF

      Invoice and Assistance Notices
      It is a requirement that all Learners accessing VSL Assistance receive both a VSL Invoice Notice and Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN). They indicate to a Learner what they are scheduled to study, the cost and census date for withdrawal. Learn more about Invoice and Assistance Notices

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