VET Student Loans commenced on 1 January 2017, replacing the VET FEE-HELP scheme.
What is a VET Student Loan?
VET Student Loan (VSL) is an Australian Government assistance loan that helps eligible VET students enrolled in approved Diploma and above level courses to pay for all or part of their tuition fees. There is a limit to how much can be borrowed, called a loan cap, which is determined by the Australian Government. In 2023, VSL Caps are $5,595, $11,191, or $16,788 depending on the course.
Any money borrowed through a VSL will become part of your Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt, becoming a personal debt obligation with the Government that must be paid back when your income is above the compulsory repayment threshold.
You can find further information regarding VSL eligibility below. For up-to-date information, visit the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) VET Student Loans webpage.
Course admission procedure for new students
- Enter a course into the CDU Course Catalogue to find information about course fees, where the course is being delivered, which CDU team is delivering the course and the contact details.
- Complete an application form and supply the required documents. If you would like help with your application visit our ‘How to apply for CDU VET courses’ page or contact Student Central.
- If you have not completed a Certificate IV qualification, apply to do a Language Literacy and Numeracy test – your team contact can provide an access key.
Please note: All Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) have had the total amount of loans available to their students through the VSL scheme capped. This means that CDU cannot guarantee you access to a VSL if the total loans capped amount is exceeded. If the loan cap is exceeded, you will be liable for the course fees. If you find yourself in this situation, we will be happy to discuss alternative arrangements. For further information please contact your course delivery team.
As an RTO, CDU recognises the Australian Qualifications Framework and Statement of Attainments issued by any other Australian RTO. If you have completed previous VET study at another RTO, we recommend applying for a credit transfer.
To apply for credit, you will need to complete an application for credit form and supply evidence such as a Statement of Attainment or grant access to your Unique Student Identifier (USI) transcript.
Where a VET course has been superseded by a new VET course, students must be completed or transitioned from the superseded to the new VET course in accordance with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) transition rules. CDU will apply credit transfer for superseded equivalent units in the new VET course.
For relevant University policies and procedures see:
Are you eligible for the VSL?
- be an Australian citizen; or
- a permanent Humanitarian visa holder, (resident in Australia for the duration of the units/s of study); or
- a qualifying New Zealand citizen who is on a Special Category Visa (SCV) holder (this is not a permanent visa but allows its holder to visit, live, and work in Australia indefinitely) who meets the long-term residency requirements, which are:
- first entered Australia as a minor under 18 years of age;
- have lived in Australia for at least 8 of the last 10 years; or
- have lived in Australia for at least 18 months in the last two years
Please note: In order to apply for a VSL, you must provide current and updated evidence against each of the above criteria prior to enrolment.
You have been assessed by your CDU delivery team as academically suited to undertake the approved course on the basis of either:
- providing your Australian year 12 Certificate; or
- providing evidence of successful completion of an Australian Qualifications Framework Certificate IV or higher qualification (where the language of instruction is English); or
- displaying competence at Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework in both reading and numeracy through an approved Language, Literacy and Numeracy test.
- In addition, CDU must reasonably believe you are academically suited to undertake the course; and you must meet any other specified entry requirements.
Note: All VET students at CDU are assessed for their level of Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) either prior to being admitted to their course or commencing their studies. CDU uses The Learning Resources Groups' LLN Robot platform to conduct the LLN test, which is an assessment tool approved for use to meet the VSL program student entry requirement. Students who request or are required to undertake the LLN test will be advised the outcome of the results as soon as practicable after the assessment. The results will be retained for at least five (5) years (as per the VSL Rule 2016 - Clause 105 Information and documents to be retained for 5 years) and reported to the 'Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations in the form, manner and by the time requested by the Secretary'.
Additional eligibility criteria
For 2023, the new combined HELP loan limit will be $113,023 for most students. You must meet each of the following criteria to be eligible for a VSL:
- have a HELP balance that is more than $0 (i.e. have not used all your HELP limit).
- studying the approved course primarily at a campus in Australia.
- studying with an approved provider.
- have a Tax File Number or a Certificate of Application for a Tax File Number provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
- have a Unique Student Identifier (USI) or are otherwise exempt.
- submit the electronic Loan Application Form (known as eCAF – electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) by the first census day which is no less than two business days after enrolling.
- confirm engagement and progression online when requested to by the Government.
If you are unable to meet the VSL eligibility criteria, you will not be approved for a VSL and will be required to pay the tuition fees for the relevant teaching period in full by the Census date to avoid cancellation of your enrolment.
Please note: If you change your personal details with CDU, make sure to also update the USI Registry and ATO.
When you enrol at CDU the collection, storage, use and disclosure of any personal information you provide are protected by legislation. See our Privacy and Confidentiality Policy for more information.
For more information on eligibility requirements, please visit DEWR’s Information for VET Student Loan students webpage.
Documentation for VSL eligibility
An Australian Passport is suitable evidence of Australian citizenship.
If you do not have an Australian Passport, the evidence required to demonstrate you are an Australian citizen may differ depending on whether you were:
- born in Australia before 20 August 1986;
- born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986; or
- born overseas.
You were born in Australia before 20 August 1986
If you do not have an Australian Passport, you need to provide your full birth certificate issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM).
An exception to this is where your parents were in Australia as diplomats or consular officers at the time of your birth. In these circumstances, you need to provide a citizenship certificate as evidence that you are an Australian citizen.
If you do not have a citizenship certificate you'll need to lodge Form 119 Application for evidence of Australian citizenship with certified copies of the required documents and the application fee with the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs).
You were born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986 and one of your parents was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth
If you don't have an Australian Passport, and where one (or both) of your parents was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth, you should provide your full birth certificate issued by an Australian RBDM and one of the following documents to show that one of your parents was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth:
- your parent’s Australian citizenship certificate; or
- if your parent was born in Australia before 20 August 1986, your parent’s full birth certificate issued by an Australian RBDM; or
- if your parent was born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986, your parent’s full birth certificate issued by an Australian RBDM and their grandparent's Australian birth certificate issued by an Australian RBDM.
If you cannot provide this, you should apply for your own evidence of Australian citizenship by lodging Form 119 Application for evidence of Australian citizenship with certified copies of the required documents and the application fee with Home Affairs.
You were born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986 and one of your parents was a permanent resident of Australia at the time of your birth
If you don't have an Australian passport, and where one (or both) of your parents was a permanent resident of Australia at the time of your birth, you will need to provide both of the following documents to prove your Australian citizenship:
- your full birth certificate issued by an Australian RBDM; and
- your Australian citizenship certificate.
You can apply for an Australian citizenship certificate by lodging Form 119 Application for evidence of Australian citizenship with certified copies of the required documents and the application fee with Home Affairs.
The following documents are not acceptable as proof of a parent’s permanent residency for VSL applications:
- parent's foreign passport with a visa label
- Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) printout
- visa grant notification letter
- Certificate of Evidence of Resident Status (CERS)
- Certificate of Status for New Zealand Citizens in Australia (CSNZCA)
- Freedom of Information (FOI) letter from the Department of Home Affairs.
These documents only provide proof of a person’s visa status on the day they are issued / printed and are not sufficient proof of a parent’s resident status at the time the applicant was born.
You were born overseas and acquired Australian citizenship by application
As a guide, please refer to the relevant category below:
You will need to provide one of the following documents as evidence of your Australian citizenship:
- an Australian passport
- an Australian citizenship certificate
- a Citizenship by Descent extract
- an Adoption in accordance with the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption or bilateral arrangement extract
If you don't have one of the above citizenship documents you will need to apply for a replacement certificate by lodging Form 119 Application for evidence of Australian citizenship with certified copies of the required documents and the application fee with the Home Affairs.
How to apply
To access VSL, you must first meet the eligibility requirements and be enrolled in an approved VET Diploma or higher level course.
Please note: Before submitting your request for the VET eCAF, you must read the VSL Information Booklet. By submitting the request you are declaring that you have read this booklet and are aware of your obligations under the VSL program.
- Enrol in your units. There is a cooling off period of two (2) business days from your first unit enrolment in the course before you can apply for a VSL.
- Read the VSL Information Booklet.
- Advise your course delivery team in writing, or complete and submit the 'Request to use a VET Student Loan' form and provide supporting documents.
- CDU will notify the Department, who will then send you an email invitation with a link and passkey to the eCAF system.
- Login to the eCAF system, complete the form and provide your Tax File Number (TFN), or Certificate of Application for TFN by the relevant VET Census date that applies to you. If your TFN has not been provided prior to the census date, you will not be eligible to access the loan.
- After submitting the eCAF, you will receive a receipt via email with confirmation that the application has been approved.
- CDU will now be able to view your eCAF and will take the required steps to update your student record.
- After these processes are complete, you will now be able to access a VSL to pay your tuition fees to CDU for any Census days that occur after the eCAF submission date.
For further information on the application process, refer to DEWRs Quick Guide - Applications.
Please note: it is a requirement under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 that the enrolment be cancelled after the relevant census date if a student does not provide their personal TFN where required and has not paid their fees upfront.
Further information is available in the eCAF fact sheet.
Is there an age limit to apply for a VSL?
If you are under 18 year of age, a parent or guardian must co-sign the form. You must provide parental or guardian consent in writing via the Government’s VET Student Loans Parent Consent form and return it to CDU. The form is also available for request through your VET course delivery team.
The form must be submitted to CDU before you can apply for a loan.
Parental or guardian consent is not necessary if you have been assessed by Centrelink as meeting the requirements for receiving the independent rate of Youth Allowance. You will need to provide evidence of this assessment in the form of your Centrelink Income Statement, which you can request by logging into myGov and selecting your Centrelink online account and return it to CDU via email or submit the completed form to your VET course delivery team.
What is a USI?
Every student undertaking a nationally recognised VET course will require a Unique Student Identifier (USI). This initiative allows the student to receive a complete record of all the accredited VET courses they undertake from 1 January 2015. A USI gives you access to your online USI account which will help to keep all your training records together.
Students can apply for their USI online or authorise CDU to apply on your behalf. The USI must be provided to the training provider before students can receive their Statement of Attainment or Qualification.
What courses are eligible for VSL?
Approved courses for VSL are high national priority qualifications at Diploma and above which contribute to addressing skills shortages, align with industry needs, and lead to strong employment outcomes.
The following Diplomas may be eligible for VSL in 2023 – please check the CDU Course Catalogue before submitting an application:
- AHC51120 Diploma of Conservation and Ecosystem Management
- BSB50120 Diploma of Business
- BSB50320 Diploma of Human Resource Management
- BSB50420 Diploma of Leadership and Management
- BSB50820 Diploma of Project Management
- BSB51319 Diploma of Work Health and Safety
- CHC50121 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
- CHC50313 Diploma of Child, Youth and Family Intervention
- SHB50115 Diploma of Beauty Therapy
- SHB50121 Diploma of Beauty Therapy
- SIT50116 Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management
- SIT50316 Diploma of Event Management
- SIT50422 Diploma of Hospitality Management
What is Course Engagement and Progression?
From 1 July 2017, you will be required to demonstrate you are progressing through your course and that you wish to continue accessing a VSL as your payment option.
To do this, you must confirm your engagement and progression via the eCAF when requested to by the Government twice during the year to acknowledge acceptance of the loan you will receive for the course.
An invitation email from the Government will be sent to your personal email account with a link to the VET Student Loan Progression form and will include all the information you need to complete a short survey. It is important to note that you have two (2) weeks to compete the form after you receive the email notification. If you don't complete and submit two (2) consecutive surveys, you may be ineligible to continue accessing VSL. This means you will need to pay your tuition fees directly to CDU if you want to continue studying your course.
Note: Failure to complete progression will indicate you are not continuing with your studies. You will be ineligible to access VSL to pay for your tuition fees and you will need to pay upfront or be cancelled from the course.
For more information, visit VSL Progression Form Fact Sheet.
What fees do I have to pay?
Course fees vary based on if you are a resident of the Northern Territory.
Northern Territory Government (NTG) subsidised courses
Some diploma courses are subsidised by the NTG. Tuition fees for 2023 will be charged at $4.00 per nominal hour for domestic students who are NT residents.
Full Fee paying courses
Some courses are not subsidised by the NTG. These courses will be charged full fee rates per nominal hour allocated to the unit. All non-Territory domestic students are charged full fee rates per nominal hour allocated to the unit.
If you meet the VSL eligibility requirements, your fees can be deferred to VSL regardless of your course fee type. For full fee paying students, VSL have a 20% loan fee of the total amount deferred.
To find out if your course is subsidised, refer to the VET Fee Schedule (PDF, 1.08 MB). The VSL schedule contains information of the student fees applicable to a particular course. Note that many courses have a variety of fees depending on the student's eligibility for a particular fee.
Please note: CDU has an exemption from the Tuition Assurance schemes (course assurance and fee assurance schemes). This means that any student affected by courses ceasing will be accommodated in-line with standard CDU policies and procedures on fees and course delivery.
Please refer to the University's Governance website for more information.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) fees
If you are undertaking your course or units through the RPL process, there is a $95.00 administration fee each course, no fee exemptions apply. This fee is non-refundable and is not covered by the VSL.
Any fees associated with the RPL assessment can be paid upfront or deferred to a VSL. The RPL fee rates for 2023 are:
- For NT residents applying for NTG subsidised qualification, there is no fee.
- For non-NTG subsidised training or non-NT residents, a flat rate of $5.00 per nominal hour applies for each unit.
VSL eligible students are required to pay any RPL fees in full by the relevant VET Census date to avoid cancellation of enrolment.
For further information on the RPL process, visit CDU's RPL page.
Credit transfer - No charge
There is no charge for units granted as credit transfer.
What is census date?
The census date is the last day you can:
- submit your eCAF to defer your fees to tax,
- make upfront payment of fees,
- withdraw from your units without incurring fees or a HELP debt.
If the VET Student Loans eCAF is not submitted by the census date, you will not be eligible to access a HELP loan for that study period. Census dates for each Teaching Period are below:
VFH - T1
VFH - T2
VFH - T3
VFH - T4
After the census date, students eligible for VSL who have not made full up-front payment and have provided their TFN will incur a VSL debt if they are still enrolled in the unit.
The University is required to defer all such fees to tax and the ATO is advised of the debt.
What happens if my fees are not paid?
All fees for each Teaching Period must be either paid upfront or deferred to Tax on or before the census date. If you have chosen the up-front payment option, you will receive a Reminder Notice two (2) weeks before the relevant census date advising that payment of tuition fees is required no later than one (1) working day before the census date.
If you do not pay your fees up-front or defer it to tax, your enrolment will be cancelled within one (1) week after the census date. You will be notified in writing of the cancellation.
How do I withdraw from my unit?
If you do not wish to continue with your studies in a Teaching Period, you must withdraw from those units on or before the census date for that Teaching Period without incurring a VSL debt for unpaid fees.
Withdrawals can be done online through MyStudentInfo or by submitting a VET102 - Change of Enrolment/Withdrawal from Course Form to the Team with whom you are enrolled. Online withdrawals are only available until census date. Failure to withdraw on or before the census date will result in financial penalty and you will lose any up-front payments of tuition fees.
Please note: Students cannot claim of lack of knowledge or understanding of the requirements for VET Student Loans for not withdrawing and non-attendance at class does not automatically cancel your enrolment.
Remission and re-credit of VSL debt
If you have accessed VSL to cover all or part of your tuition fees, you incur the liability and therefore the debt for your tuition fees after the census date. You may find you have to withdraw from your studies after the census date or you have been unable to complete your studies because of serious illness or other special circumstances. If you are in this situation, you may apply within 12 months after the census date has passed to have your VSL debt for the unit of study remitted (removed) and your VSL balance re-credited.
For special circumstances to apply, you must demonstrate that the circumstances:
- were beyond your control,
- did not make your full impact on you until on or after the census date(s) of the unit(s) in question, and
- were such that they made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements for the unit(s).
If you withdraw from a unit of study after the census date, the University will advise you to apply in writing for a remission (removal) of your VSL debt.
If you complete a unit and receive a Not Component grade, you are considered to not have successfully completed the unit and you may therefore apply for a remission if special circumstances exist. If you have successfully completed the unit of study, you cannot apply for a remission.
Special circumstance do not include:
- a lack of knowledge or understanding of the requirements for a VSL; or
- a person’s incapacity to repay a VSL debt, as repayments are income contingent and the person may apply for a deferral of a compulsory repayment in certain circumstances.
Further information on special circumstances is available on the Study Assist website.
How do I apply for remission?
An application for a re-credit or remission must be made in writing. It must be made within 12 months of you withdrawing from the unit of study or if you have not withdrawn, within 12 months of the end of the period in which the unit of study was, or was to be, undertaken.
Where no supporting documentation is attached to the application, a letter will be sent requesting the same within 28 days of the letter.
If you don't respond, the Remission application will not be supported, and you will be sent the decision notice and your right to appeal.
You have the right for a review of the decision if you are not satisfied with the outcome within 28 days from the day you first received the notice of the decision. You can apply for an external review through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
For more information, go to DEWR debt complaints.
Any upfront payments of fees made for the unit of study will be refunded in accordance with the University’s student refund policy.
For more information about fees, payments and refunds go to fees and payments
Reminder notice and CAN
A Reminder Notice will be sent to VSL eligible students who have chosen the up-front payment option. Two (2) weeks prior to the relevant census date, Reminder Notices will be sent to advise that payment of tuition fees will be required no later than one working day before the census date.
The Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) is sent via email to all VSL eligible students who have either made an up-front payment of fees or deferred their fees to tax. The CAN will include details about student enrolment such as: personal details, CHESSN number, course and unit enrolment, deferred amount and/or upfront payment details, loan fees (if applicable), total debt for unit. The CAN will be sent within 28 days after the relevant census date for each study period that the student is enrolled.
You must check if the information in the CAN is correct. If you believe that the information on the CAN is incorrect, you must, within 14 days of the date on the CAN, inform the University in writing for the CAN to be corrected. Verbal requests will not be considered. The request must specify the particular information considered to be incorrect and the reason why it is considered incorrect.
For more information on CAN please refer to the Study Assist website.
What is Tuition Assurance?
Tuition assurance has been put in place by the Government to protect and support students if an approved VSL provider ceases to deliver a course of study or closes.
All providers are required, through the VET Student Loans Act 2016, to have adequate tuition assurance to cover their student load.
Most VET providers meet their tuition assurance requirements through membership with a tuition assurance scheme operator. The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) and TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) are the two approved tuition assurance operators.
CDU has an exemption from the Tuition Assurance schemes (course assurance and fee assurance schemes). This means that any student affected by courses ceasing will be accommodated in-line with standard CDU policies and procedures on fees and course delivery.
For more information, please refer to the Tuition Assurance information.
Please refer to the University's Governance website for more information.
The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all members of the University community. The University will act responsibly to collect, manage, use and disclose personal information in accordance with the Northern Territory Information Act 2002. The University also commits to comply with the Commonwealth Privacy Act, as if it were a Commonwealth organisation where required to abide by the Australian Privacy Principles under contracted funding agreements from Commonwealth agencies and the Higher Education Support Act when handling students' personal information.
For more information, please refer to our Privacy and Confidentiality Policy
We are committed to providing a fair, safe and productive work and study environment where grievances are dealt with in a timely, impartial and confidential manner that adheres to the principles of procedural fairness and protects against victimisation.
For more information, please refer to our Complaints Policy - Students.
Cancellation of enrolment
CDU reserves the right to cancel a student's enrolment in a course or part of a course after the census date of the course or part of the course.
The circumstances that may lead to a student's cancellation from a course or part of a course are:
- that the student has not meaningfully engaged with the course or part of the course before census date;
- CDU believes that the student does not have a reasonable chance to complete the course or part of the course and/or expiration of the student's enrolment (i.e., when the nominal end date for the enrolment or course has lapsed);
- where a student demonstrates serious misconduct;
- where plagiarism is detected, the work will be assessed as "Not Yet Satisfactory" or "Not Yet Competent", the student will be counselled and, in the first instance, required to complete an alternative assessment. Repeated or continued plagiarism will warrant disciplinary action, which may include cancellation of the course.
Please refer to the University Enrolment Policy.
All details relating to the cancellation will be kept in the student's file and retained for a minimum of five (5) years.
Why CDU collects your personal information
As an RTO, CDU collects your information so the University can process and manage your enrolment in a VET course.
How CDU uses your personal information?
CDU uses your personal information to deliver VET courses to you, and otherwise, as needed, to comply with the University's obligations as an RTO.
How CDU discloses your personal information?
The University is required by law under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (Cth) (NVETR Act) to disclose the personal information collected about you to the National VET Data Collection kept by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd (NCVER). The NCVER is responsible for collecting, managing, analysing and communicating research and statistics about the Australian VET sector.
CDU is also authorised by law under the NVETR Act to disclose your personal information to the relevant state or territory training authority.
How the NCVER and other bodies handle your personal information?
The NCVER is authorised to disclose information to the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), Commonwealth authorities, State and Territory authorities (other than RTOs) that deal with matters relating to VET and VET regulators for the purpose of those bodies.
The NCVER will collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information in accordance with the law, including the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) and the NVETR Act. Your personal information may be used and disclosed by NCVER for purposes that include: populating authenticated VET transcripts; administration of VET; facilitation of statistics and research relation to education, including surveys and data linkage; and understanding the VET market operation for policy, workforce planning and consumer information.
The NCVER may also disclose personal information to persons engaged by NCVER to conduct research on NCVER's behalf.
The NCVER does not intend to disclose your personal information to any overseas recipients.
If you would like to seek access to or correct your information, contact Student Central.
DESE is authorised by law, including the Privacy Act and the NVETR Act, to collect, use and disclose your personal information to fulfil specified functions and activities. For more information, please refer to the DESE VET Privacy Notice.
A VET Student Loans Ombudsman has been established within the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, to manage and investigate complaints regarding both the VET FEE-HELP Scheme and the VSL Program. The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, encourages students to raise complaints with CDU before contacting the ombudsman.
For more information contact: