VET Student Loans commenced on 1 January 2017, replacing the VET FEE-HELP scheme. The VET Student Loans program offers greater protection for students and focuses on courses that address industry needs, creating better opportunities for employment. VET Student Loans offers income contingent loan support to eligible students studying certain diploma level and above vocational education and training qualifications.

VET Student Loans are available to assist eligible students studying higher level vocational education and training (VET) qualifications to pay their tuition fees. Higher level VET qualifications are at those at a Diploma level and above. Other fees, e.g. material fees, excursions, administration/service fees, cannot be covered by a VET Student loans. VET Student loans are capped at a maximum for each approved course of study and the amount of the loan cannot be greater than your remaining FEE-HELP  balance.

For each VET Student Loan approved course, you can borrow up to the lesser of:

  • the Loan Cap the Department of Education and Training has set for that course, or
  • the remaining unused balance under your HELP loan limit.

The HELP loan limit is the maximum you can borrow over a lifetime. Any borrowing under FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP, VET Student Loans and HECS-HELP will count towards your HELP loan limit. The HELP loan limit is indexed annually on 1 January. For 2024, the HELP loan limit is $121,844 for most students. Visit the Study Assist website for more information.

List of TAFE Gippslands courses approved for VET Student Loans



2024 cap


Diploma of Agriculture



Diploma of Conservation and Ecosystem Management



Diploma of Leadership and Management



Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care



Diploma of Community Services



Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs



Diploma of Mental Health



Diploma of Accounting



Diploma of Remedial Massage



Diploma of Nursing



Diploma of Beauty Therapy


Learn more about the new VET Student Loan scheme.

Eligibility for VET Student Loans

To be eligible to apply for a VET Student Loan, you must:

  • meet the citizenship requirements
    • be an Australian citizen, or
    • a qualifying New Zealand citizen, or
    • a permanent humanitarian visa holder, who is usually resident in Australia.
  • have a sufficient FEE-HELP balance remaining for your proposed studies to be covered by the loan.
  • Be enrolled in an approved course in accordance with the application requirements of the approved course provider.
  • Be assessed by your approved course provider as academically suited to undertake the approved course.
  • meet the Tax File Number (TFN) requirements.
  • have a Unique Student Identifier (USI) or are otherwise exempt.
  • have given the required documents to your approved course provider.
  • apply to the government using the approved form via the Government’s eCAF System on or before the census date, which will be managed through your provider, and
  • submit Progression Forms to confirm your ongoing engagement with your studies in order to continue accessing the loan throughout your course.
  • VET student loans will not be approved for students who do not meet eligibility requirements 

Proof of Australian Citizenship

Acceptable forms of evidence include:

  • Current Australian Passport
  • Australian Citizenship Certificate or Naturalisation Certificate
  • Australian Citizenship by Descent extract
  • Australian Birth Certificate where you were born before 20 August, 1986 OR if you were born on or after 20 August, 1986, and your birth certificate DOES NOT indicate that your parents were Australian citizens from birth,  we also require proof of your parent’s Australian Citizenship at the time of your birth (examples include an Australian Citizenship Certificate).

If you are a New Zealand citizen who holds a New Zealand Special Category Visa you must meet the below criteria;

  • first entered Australia at least 10 years ago as a dependent child aged under 18 years of age;
  • have been ordinarily a resident in Australia for the previous 10 years (that is, you have been physically present in Australia for at least eight out of the past 10 years) and 18 months out of the last two years at the time of application for the loan and
  • are otherwise eligible for the loan

New Zealand Special Category Visa VET Student Loan applicants must provide international movement records from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to prove they meet citizenship requirements.

Student Entry Requirements

To be eligible to apply for a VET Student Loan, you must meet both the qualification entry and academic suitability requirements as determined by TAFE Gippsland.

If you wish to apply for a VET Student Loan, you must either:

  • provide a copy of a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education awarded for your completion of Year 12 (VCE or VCAL Senior); OR
  • provide a copy of an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Certificate IV or above where the qualification was delivered in English; OR
  • complete an approved Language Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) assessment administered by TAFE Gippsland as part of the enrolment process and demonstrate competency at or above Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) in both reading and numeracy.

All students seeking to enrol at TAFE Gippsland are also required to complete a Pre-Training Review to establish a reasonable belief that the student is academically suited.

The student must satisfy all other entry requirements for the particular course.

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

Applying for a VET Student Loan

Before applying, you must read Vet Student Loan Application booklet and VET Student Loan Additional Information factsheet and be aware of your obligations.

Eligible students can request to apply for a VET Student Loan by completing and signing a VET Student Loan Intention to Apply Form. These documents are also available from all of the TAFE Gippsland Reception points.

You will need to provide TAFE Gippsland with:

  • Evidence of citizenship i.e. birth certificate, passport
  • Your Tax File Number
  • A Unique Student Identifier
  • If you are under 18; a parent or guardian signature

A TAFE Gippsland customer service officer will complete the course details section, including the Estimated Course Cost (which does not include any loan fees) and Estimated Time to Complete so you know the expected duration of the course.

Once you have completed and provided all required documentation TAFE Gippsland will assess your eligibility and lodge your application to the government via the Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF). The government will communicate with you via the email address you provide to finalise your eCAF.

An eCAF must be completed prior to the first census date of your course. If you miss a census date you can still apply for a VET Student Loan for future census dates however you will not be able to access a VET Student Loan for the past/current census dates and your enrolment is at risk of being cancelled.

Managing your VET Student Loan

To remain eligible for a VSL:

  • your course must continue to remain on the approved list of VSL courses
  • you must confirm your engagement and progression online when requested to by the government, otherwise, you may cease being eligible for a VSL.

Find out more about your obligations under a VET Student Loan here.

Census Dates

A census day is the last day on which a student can withdraw from part of a course without incurring tuition fees. It is also the last day on which a student may complete and submit an eCAF in order to apply for a VET Student Loan.

All covered tuition fees will be reasonably apportioned across at least three sequential fee periods.

Due to the flexible nature of TAFE Gippsland’s enrolments, the particular census date for your Unit of Study will be calculated based on your expected individual start date in that unit and be no less than 20% of the way through the study period.

2024 Census Dates



Study Period 1


Study Period 2


Study Period 3


Study Period 4


Study Period 5


Study Period 6


VET Student Loan Fee Notice & Statement of Covered Fees

A 'Vet Student Loan Fee Notice' will be issued to you 14 days prior to each applicable census date outlining the debt that will be incurred post census date if you do not withdraw from the unit of study.

If a student is still enrolled after the census date, then they will be liable for the tuition fees for that part of the course therefore you must check the details in these notices carefully and advise us if there are any errors prior the census date.

Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN)

A CAN will be issued within 28 days after each census date which outlines the units that have been deferred and the VETSL debt you incurred for that census date.
If you believe the information on your CAN is incorrect, you have 14 days to submit a written application to your institution to request a correction (some institutions may allow for a longer correction period).

Withdrawing from Study

It is important to correctly withdraw from your course or unit of study. If you don’t withdraw properly or if you miss the withdrawal deadline, you will incur VETSL debt.

What happens if I withdraw by the census date? If you correctly withdraw from a unit by the census date, you will not incur any VETSL debt for units with a future census date. If you are using VET Student Loan, your FEE-HELP limit will not be reduced if you withdraw by the census date.  If you have paid your tuition fees up-front, you may be entitled to a refund.

What happens if I withdraw after the census date? If you withdraw from a unit after the census date, you will incur a VETSL debt and your FEE-HELP limit will be reduced.

Please see link to TAFE Gippslands withdrawal and refunds policy below for further information.