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Vocational Education and Training

VET Student Loans

What are VET Student Loans?

Students who enrol in selected Diploma courses are able to apply for a VET Student Loan to support the payment of tuition fees. The amount you can borrow for your tuition fees is determined by the Australian Government.

In 2021, the VET Student Loan Caps are $5,358, $10,717, and $16,077 depending on the course.

VET Student Loans must be repaid through the tax system once you start earning above $45,881. This income threshold changes every year. For more information, visit Information for VET Student Loans Providers.

You can find more information about VET Student Loans eligibility below. There is also up to date information in the Student Fact Sheets on the Australian Government’s VET Student Loans website.

Please note: all Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) have the total number of loans available to their students through the VET Student Loan scheme capped. This means that CDU cannot guarantee you access to a VET Student Loan if the total loans cap has been exceeded.

If the loan cap is exceeded, you will be liable for your course fees. If you find yourself in this situation, CDU staff will be happy to discuss financial support. For more information please contact Student Central

Frequently asked questions

  • To be eligible for VET Student Loans, you must meet the citizenship and residency requirements:

    Residency:

    • 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 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:
      • have first entered Australia as a dependent minor aged under 18 years; and
      • at the time did not have a spouse or de facto partner; and
      • have been physically present in Australia for at least eight out of the past 10 years, and 18 months out of the past 2 years; and
      • meet the other eligibility criteria for the loan (you are enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported course and you will be residing in Australia for the duration of your course).

    Please note: to apply for a VET Student Loan, you must provide current and updated evidence for each of the above criteria prior to enrolment.

    Academic suitability:

    You must be 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 your International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) diploma; or
    • providing evidence of successful completion of an Australian Qualifications Framework Certificate IV or higher qualification (where the language of instruction is English); OR at a level in a framework that preceded the AQF that is equivalent to level 4 or above in the AQF, or has been assessed by a Federal, State or Territory government agency which assesses overseas qualifications (or an organisation contracted by such an agency to undertake such assessments) as equivalent or comparable to: a qualification at a level 4 or above in the Australian Qualifications Framework, or a qualification at a level in a framework that preceded the AQF that is equivalent to level 4 or above in the AQF; 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 that student is academically suited to undertake the course and the student must meet any other specified entry requirements.

    Additional eligibility criteria:

    To be eligible for VET Student Loans, you must:

    • have a FEE-HELP balance that is more than $0
    • plan to study the approved course primarily at a campus in Australia
    • study 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 Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) by the first census day and at least two business days after enrolling
    • confirm engagement and progression online when requested to by the Government
    • have read the VET Student Loans Information Booklet.

    For more information on eligibility requirements, please visit the VET Student Loans website.

  • If you are under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must co-sign the electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) and CDU enrolment form.

    You must also provide parental or guardian consent in writing via the Government’s Request for a VET Student Loan form and email it to vso@cdu.edu.au. The form is also available from Student Central.

    This form must be submitted to CDU before you can apply for a loan.

    Parental or guardian consent is not required if you have been assessed by Centrelink as an independent. 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. Email this statement to vso@cdu.edu.au.

  • Documentation for VET Student Loans

    CDU will need you to provide proof of citizenship before applying for a VET Student Loan to make sure you meet the citizenship and residency requirements.

    The evidence required to demonstrate proof of citizenship depends on your date and place of birth.

    Australian citizens

    An Australian Passport is suitable evidence of Australian citizenship. If the applicant does not have an Australian Passport, the evidence required to demonstrate that an applicant is an Australian citizen may differ depending on whether the applicant was:

    • born in Australia before 20 August 1986
    • born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986
    • born overseas.

    Applicants born in Australia before 20 August 1986

    If applicants do not have an Australian Passport, they will need to provide their full birth certificate issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM).

    An exception to this is where the applicant’s parents were in Australia as diplomats or consular officers at the time of the applicant’s birth. In these circumstances, the applicant will need to provide a citizenship certificate as evidence that they are an Australian citizen.

    If the applicant does not have a citizenship certificate they will 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.

    Applicants born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986 and one of their parents was an Australian citizen at the time of their birth

    If applicants do not have an Australian Passport, and where one (or both) of the applicant’s parents was an Australian citizen at the time of their birth, the applicant should provide their full birth certificate issued by an Australian RBDM. They will also need to provide one of the following documents as evidence that one of their parents was an Australian citizen at the time of their birth:

    • their parent’s Australian citizenship certificate (at least one of their parents was a citizen at the time of their birth, to meet this requirement) or;
    • if their parent was born in Australia before 20 August 1986, their parent’s full birth certificate issued by an Australian RBDM or;
    • if their parent was born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986, their parent’s full birth certificate issued by an Australian RBDM and their grandparent's Australian birth certificate issued by an Australian RBDM.

    If the applicant cannot provide this they should apply for their 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 the Department of Home Affairs.

    Applicants born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986 and one of their parents was a permanent resident of Australia at the time of their birth

    If applicants do not have an Australian passport, and where one (or both) of the applicant’s parents was a permanent resident of Australia at the time of their birth, they will need to provide both of the following documents to prove their Australian citizenship:

    • their full birth certificate issued by an Australian RBDM
    • their Australian citizenship certificate.

    They 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 Department of Home Affairs.

    The following documents are not acceptable as proof of a parent’s permanent residency for VET Student Loan 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)
    • ImmiCard
    • 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.

    Applicants born overseas and acquired Australian citizenship by application

    As a guide, please refer to the relevant category below. 

    Applicants will need to provide one of the following documents as evidence of their Australian citizenship:

    • an Australian passport
    • an Australian citizenship certificate
    • a Citizenship by Descent extract
    • an Adoption in accordance with the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption or bilateral arrangement extract.

    If an applicant does not have one of the above citizenship documents they 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 Department of Home Affairs.

    Permanent Humanitarian Visa holder

    If you are a permanent humanitarian visa holder and are applying for a VET Student Loan, your application will be checked by the contact the Department of Home Affairs

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants not registered at birth by the relevant State/Territory authority

    Applicants in these circumstances without a current Australian Passport may submit a Statutory Declaration.

    Please note: the Statutory Declaration has been pre-populated, and must only be used by applicants to whom these circumstances apply. The Statutory Declaration must be witnessed by a person included in the List of Occupations or the List of Persons provided in the template on the Department's website mentioned above.

    Statutory Declarations are not acceptable forms of proof of Australian citizenship for any applicants other than Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders whose birth was not registered by the relevant State/Territory authority.

    Applicant or their parent was born in Papua New Guinea prior to 16 Sep 1975

    The applicant should be referred to the Department of Home Affairs to obtain evidence of Australian citizenship by lodging Form 119 Application for evidence of Australian citizenship, if:

    • evidence of citizenship was issued before 1 Jan 2009 and the applicant was born in PNG prior to 16 Sep 1975; or
    • citizenship was acquired by descent before 1 Jan 2009 where the parent(s) was born in PNG before 16 Sep 1975.

    A citizenship certificate can be accepted as evidence of Australian citizenship if it was issued on or after 1 Jan 2009 regardless of the acquisition date or date of birth.

  • The application process:

    1. After enrolling in a VET Student Loans approved course and reading the VET Student Loans Information Booklet, contact CDU and tell them you want to access a VET Student Loan.
    2. CDU will then assess your eligibility. If you are assessed as eligible, CDU will enter your enrolment information into the electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) system.
    3. The eCAF system will send you an email with instructions on how to complete the application.
    4. Complete the eCAF, including providing your Tax File Number (TFN).
    5. After submitting the eCAF, you will receive an email confirmation that your application has been approved. CDU will now be able to view your eCAF.

    Submission dates

    • You will need to wait two business days after the enrolment date in the eCAF system before submitting your eCAF. This helps to make sure that you have sufficient time to consider the decision to take on a loan.
    • The eCAF must be submitted on or before the census date for the teaching period you want the loan to apply.

    More information

    Please visit Quick Guide - Applications or the eCAF Fact Sheet for more information on applying for VET Student Loans.

  • Northern Territory Government (NTG) subsidised courses and full fee paying courses are both deferrable to VET Student Loans for eligible students.

    For full fee paying students, VET Student Loans has a 20% loan fee of the total amount deferred. For more information about loan fees, you can visit the Study Assist or the VET Student Loans information booklet.

    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.

Additional information

  • For information about important dates, visit Student Central.

  • To continue accessing your VET Student Loan, you will need to demonstrate that you are progressing through your course.

    To do this, you must complete a Progression Form twice a year. This will involve a short survey.

    An invitation email from the Government will be sent to your email account with a link to the VET Student Loan Progression form. This will include instructions on how to complete the survey.

    You must complete the form within two weeks of receiving the email notification.

    Non-completion of the Progression Form

    If you don't complete and submit two consecutive surveys, you may be ineligible to continue accessing VET Student Loans. This means you will need to pay your tuition fees directly to CDU if you want to continue studying your course.

    For more information, visit the Student Progression Fact Sheet.

  • Reminder notice

    A reminder notice will be sent to students who have chosen the upfront payment option for their VET Student Loan tuition fees. This notice will be sent out two (2) weeks before the relevant census date. Students will be advised that they are required to pay their tuition fees no later than one working day before the census date.

    Commonwealth Assistance Notice

    The Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) is sent via email to all students receiving a VET Student Loan. 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) and total debt for units.

    The CAN will be sent within 28 days from the relevant census date for each study period that the student is enrolled.

    Students must check if the information in the CAN is correct. If a you believe that the information on the CAN is incorrect, you must inform the University in writing within 14 days. Verbal requests will not be considered. The request must specify the particular information thought to be incorrect and the reason why it is considered incorrect.

    Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number

    The Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) is a unique identifier used by universities and the Australian Government to identify students that are receiving Commonwealth assistance. You can find your CHESSN on your Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN).

    For more information on CAN and CHESSN, please visit the Study Assist.

  • Students may find they have to withdraw from their studies after the census date or have been unable to complete their studies because of special circumstances. Students in this situation may apply to have their VET Student Loans debt for the unit of study remitted (removed) and their VET Student Loans balance re-credited.

    A student who completes a unit and receives a Not Component grade is considered not to have successfully completed the unit and can therefore apply for a remission if special circumstances exist. A student who has successfully completed the unit of study cannot apply for a remission.

    For special circumstances to apply, you must be able to demonstrate that the circumstances:

    • were beyond your control
    • did not make their full impact on you until on or after the census date(s) of the unit(s) in question
    • made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements for the unit(s).

    Special circumstance do not include:

    • a lack of knowledge or understanding of the requirements for a VET Student Loan
    • a person’s incapacity to repay a Student Loan 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 Study Assist.

    How to apply for remission

    To apply for a remission or re-credit of your VET Student Loans debt, you will need to complete the Removal of Academic and/or Financial Penalty form.

    If your application is approved, your fees will be refunded in accordance with the University’s student refund policy. 

    Documentation

    You will need to attach documentation to the form to support your application. If documentation is not attached, a letter will be sent to you requesting documentation within 28 days.

    If supporting documentation is still not provided, you will be sent the decision notice of your application and your right to appeal.

    Students have the right to a review of the decision if they are not satisfied with the outcome within 28 days from the day they first received the outcome.

    Cut off dates

    An application for a re-credit or remission must be made within 12 months of withdrawing from the unit of study. If you have not withdrawn, the application must be made within 12 months of the end of the period in which the unit of study was, or was to be, undertaken.

  • Tuition protection has been put in place by the Government to protect and support students if an approved VET Student Loans 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 protection to cover their student load.

    Most VET providers meet their tuition protection requirements through membership with a tuition protection scheme operator. The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) and TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) are the two approved tuition protection operators.

    CDU has an exemption from the Tuition Protection 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 Tuition Assurance or the University's Governance website.

    Personal 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 complying 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.

    Grievance Procedures

    Charles Darwin University is 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 Students - Administrative Complaints Procedures.

    VET Student Loans Ombudsman

    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 VET Student Loans Program. The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, encourages students to raise complaints with CDU before contacting the ombudsman.

    For more information contact:

    CDU Complaints Management Unit
    E: complaints@cdu.edu.au
    W: Complaints Management Unit

    Commonwealth Ombudsman
    W: VSL Ombudsman

    Personal Details Update

    If there is a change to your personal details, please ensure you also update the USI Registry and Australian Tax Office (ATO).

    When you enrol at Charles Darwin University 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.