VET Student Loans

If you are enrolling into a diploma or advanced diploma course, you may have the option to defer payment of your tuition fees via a VET Student Loan.

What is a VET Student Loan (VETSL)?

Vocational Education and Training Student Loans (VET Student Loans) are an Australian Government loan scheme for the Vocational Education and Training sector that is part of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP).

Students studying certain Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas who elect not to pay their tuition fees upfront may be eligible to apply for a VET Student Loans to defer the cost of their tuition contribution. Eligible courses are subject to VET Student Loans course cap limits which are reviewed annually.

Other fees associated with your course, or tuition fees over the VET Student Loans course cap, are to be paid via other means by the student and cannot be deferred to a VSL.

If your tuition fees are higher than the course cap you will need to pay the difference. These payments will be proportioned across each of your census dates and South West TAFE will send you a VET Student Loan Statement of Covered Fees and Fee Notice at least two weeks before each payment is due (your census date).  Any tuition amount that is not able to be deferred to a VET Student Loan as it is over the course cap may be paid upfront by the due date, or included on a SWTAFE payment plan if it meets the criteria.

VET Student Loan debt is repayable by the student to the Government via the tax system based on their repayment income – see Paying Back Your Loan

for further information. Interest is not charged on VET Student Loan debt, however indexation is added to debt older than 11 months on the 1st of June each year.  Please note that VET Student Loan debt may reduce a person’s take-home wage and/or affect borrowing capacity until it is repaid. 
VSL approved students are required to complete a VET Student Loan Progression Notice via the Government eCAF Portal each February, June and October to confirm their ongoing genuine student status

For a full list of VET Student Loan eligible courses, visit the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. 

Each VET Student Loan eligible course has an associated capped amount. Eligible students are only entitled to loans up to the specified capped amount of each VET Student Loan-eligible course.

For SWTAFE-delivered courses please see:

You must read the VET Student Loans Information Booklet before applying for a loan.

Need help after reading the booklet? Contact our Enquiry, Enrolment and Student Administration team for assistance.

Visit the Australian Government’s VET Student Loans site for detailed information about financing tertiary study.

South West TAFE is a signatory to the VET Student Loans Code of Practice, demonstrating its commitment to the principles and practices of good services to students and effective complaint handling

Further information on VET Student Loans and approved courses is available from the Department of Education and Training.

Check your VET Student Loan Eligibility

To be eligible for a VET Student Loan, you need to meet academic requirements prior to your admission into your chosen Diploma course. For further details about being admitted into your chosen course, please see our VET Student Loan Entry Guidelines.

To be eligible for a VET Student Loan, you must

  • be an Australian citizen; OR
  • be a New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holder who meets the long-term residency requirements; OR
  • be a permanent humanitarian visa holder


be assessed by South West TAFE as academically suited to undertake the approved course by 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.

South West TAFE must reasonably believe you show competence in completing the course. This will be determined through your pre-training review process.


  • Be studying an approved course
  • Apply to the government using the eCAF (Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) application process
  • Confirm your engagement and progression to continue to access the loan throughout your course.
  • Not already accessed 100% of your lifetime HELP Loan limit
  • Not already accessed 100% of your course’s VET Student Loan debt cap

You will be required to provide citizenship documentation (depending on yours, and possibly your parents, place and date of birth) to prove your Australian citizenship before you are invited to apply for a VET Student Loan.
Examples of documents that will be required may include either a current Australian Passport, Australian Birth Certificate, Australian Citizenship Certificate, Permanent Humanitarian Visa or New Zealand Special Category Visa. We will contact you if further citizenship information is required for your application.

If you are under 18 at the time of application, you will also be required to provide a signed VET Student Loan Parental Consent form or Centrelink proof of independence.

*To see if you are likely to meet the eligibility requirements, check out the VET Student Loans Eligibility Tool on the My Skills website.

How to apply

To apply for a VET Student Loan, you must:

  • Have been enrolled in an approved course, no less than two business days prior to submitting your eCAF application; AND
  • Read the VET Student Loans information booklet; AND
  • Meet the citizenship or residency requirements (as above); AND
  • Provide a valid Tax File Number; AND
  • Provide a Unique Student Identifier (USI) (If you hold a USI exemption, you will be unable to access Commonwealth financial assistance and will not be eligible for a VSL.) AND
  • Complete and lodge a Request for VET Student Loan form prior to the census date for each unit.

Before you can formally apply for a VET Student Loan, Commonwealth Government legislation requires you to confirm your eligibility for a VET Student Loan by providing evidence of your citizenship status to be held on file at SWTAFE.  Relevant citizenship evidence and other supporting documentation will be required before your VET Student Loan application can be finalised.

Once you are admitted into your course, you will receive email communication from SWTAFE in regards to providing copies of relevant supporting documents if they are not already held on your student administration file.  We will be in contact with you during each stage of the application process via email or text message to help guide you and answer any queries you may have.

See the documents you will need to support your application for a VET Student Loan.

Once your eligibility for a VET Student Loan is confirmed and you are enrolled in units in your course (to be allocated a census date), SWTAFE will submit your loan request to the government via the Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF). The Government eCAF Portal will communicate with you via your personal email and provide you with an access code and link to your eCAF.

For all of your tuition fees to be deferred to a VET Student Loan, you must complete the Government eCAF prior to your first census date. Each of your enrolled units has an assigned census date and you will normally have at least 3 census dates throughout your study.

If you miss a census date, you can still apply for a VET Student Loan for your future census dates. However, you will not be able to access a VET Student Loan for past census dates and those fees must be paid upfront or included on a SWTAFE payment plan if it meets the criteria.

Census dates for each unit of study are predetermined and students will not incur VET Student Loan debt liability until after each census date.

Find out about SWTAFE VET Student Loans Census Dates below:

Further information on how you can apply for a VET Student Loan is available at VET Student Loans page of the Department of Education website.

Manage your VET Student Loan

Look out for important VET Student Loan communication:

VET Student Loan Statement of Covered Fees and Fee Notice

At least 14 days before each census date, we will mail or email you a VET Student Loan Statement of Covered Fees and Fee Notice detailing the tuition fees that will be deferred to your VET Student Loan on your upcoming census date and any tuition amounts that might need to be paid that are not covered by your VET Student Loan.

Commonwealth Assistance Notice

We will mail or email you a Commonwealth Assistance Notice within 28 days after each census date to confirm the amount of debt that has been deferred to your VET Student Loan.

Progression Points

To continue to be eligible for a VET Student Loan, you will need to submit a VET Student Loan Progression Notice every February, June and October until the completion of your course.  This notice is issued via the Government eCAF Portal and we will contact you via SMS when this has been issued to your registered email address. If you do not complete the Progression Notice as required, you may be ineligible to continue accessing your VET Student Loan to defer the remainder of your tuition fees for your course.

Changing your mind

If you no longer want to defer your tuition fees using a VET Student Loan, you must notify SWTAFE Enquires, Enrolment and Student Administration team

If you choose to cancel your VET Student Loan, you will be required to pay the fees for any units with future census dates upfront.

Keep your contact details up to date

We send you important information about your VET Student Loan via your email and mobile phone so it is important that your contact details are up to date. Contact the SWTAFE  Enquires, Enrolment and Student Administration Team to change or update your details.

Withdrawing from your course

If you choose to withdraw from your course or are unable to continue studying, you will not incur any VET Student Loan debt for incomplete units with a future census date as long as your withdrawal advice has been provided in writing to the Enquires and Applications Team or your teaching department prior to your census date.

To be eligible for a refund or credit of materials fees and other levies, you must complete, sign and return a ‘Withdrawal Request’ form available from your teaching department.

For further details refer to  Student Withdrawal and Fee Refund Guidelines and VET Student Loan Review Guidelines

Further important information