We get lots of questions about VET student loans. Here's some of the most common ones:
What is a VET student loan?
VET Student Loans is a Commonwealth Government supported program that commenced on 1 January 2017, replacing the VET FEE HELP scheme, which ceased on 31 December 2016.
Master Builders Training has received approval to provide VET Student Loans to eligible students for the following approved courses:
How does it work?
The VET Student Loan program allows eligible students to repay their tuition loan fees for approved diplomas or advanced diplomas.
You can either:
- repay all your tuition loan fees (up to the loan cap limit) when your income reaches the repayment threshold
- pay some of your tuition loan fees upfront and repay the balance when your income reaches the repayment threshold.
Your loan is repaid through the Australian tax system. When you reach the minimum income threshold for repayment. There is a loan fee of 20% for full fee-paying students.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible, you must either:
- be an Australian citizen, or
- hold an eligible permanent humanitarian visa and usually reside in Australia, or
- be a New Zealand citizen on Special Category Visa (SCV subclass 444) who meets the long term residency requirements.
You must also:
- have a tax file number or be applying for one
- have a Unique Student Identifier (USI)
- meet the academic suitability requirements of the VET Student Loans Student Entry procedure (that is, assessed as academically suitable to undertake a high level vocational qualification)
- have a Commonwealth Higher Education Support Number (CHESSN)
- not have exceeded your lifetime Commonwealth student loan limit.
What is a Unique Student Identifier (USI)?
The Commonwealth requires all students studying in a nationally recognised training course to have a USI. If you already have one, please ensure you use this same USI whenever you enrol for any training. If you don't have a USI, go to the Unique Student Identifier website to register before you apply to enrol, or you can apply as part of your enrolment.
What is a Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)?
A CHESSN is allocated to all students when they first access a Commonwealth loan. Any Commonwealth student loan you take is recorded against your CHESSN. If you already have a CHESSN, please supply that number.
Residency requirements for New Zealand citizens
The residency requirements for New Zealand citizens on a Special Category Visa are:
- You first began living in Australia at least 10 years before applying for a loan, and at that time, were a child under 18 years of age and did not have a spouse or de-facto partner.
- You have been in Australia for at least eight of the 10 years immediately prior to applying and at least 18 months of the last two years.
Is a VET student loan applicable for my course?
Master Builders Training has received approval to provide VET Student Loans to approved students for the following approved courses:
How do I apply?
A VET Student Loan is an agreement between you and the Commonwealth Government. To apply for a VET Student loan:
- you must meet all the loan eligibility requirements
- if you are accepted into a course, Master Builders Queensland will advise the Commonwealth that you wish to apply
- the Commonwealth will then email your logon details and password to access the online loan application
- you will need to provide your Tax File Number (TFN), so have it handy when you log on to the online form. If you don't have a TFN, you can apply at most Australia Post outlets.
- complete your application promptly so that we can finalise your enrolment.
As with any loan you take, you must understand the terms and conditions before you make a commitment.
Please read the VET Student Loan information available on the Commonwealth Department of Education website and consider seeking independent financial advice.
What’s the Student Entry Procedure?
All students wishing to apply for a Commonwealth VET Student Loan must be assessed for academic suitability to undertake a high level VET qualification. This is aimed at ensuring you have the skills and knowledge to succeed in your course.
To be assessed as academically suitable, you must either:
- provide a copy of your senior secondary certificate of education (that has been awarded by an Australian authority or agency), or
- provide evidence of attainment of an Australian Qualification Framework qualification at certificate 4 or above, or
- undertake an approved literacy and numeracy assessment and be competent at Exit Level 3 or above in reading and numeracy. We can assist you through the process to undertake this assessment.
Does Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Transfer still apply?
If you have completed previous studies, you could be eligible for reduced fees. Talk to one of our friendly and helpful team if you have experience in the area you are studying and think you may qualify for RPL or Credit Transfer.
How will my course fees be charged?
Fees for courses eligible for VET Student Loans are charged by Units of Study. Your course will have a least three Units of Study and your payments will be spread across the duration of your course. Each Unit of Study has a census day, set at no less than 20% into the Unit of Study.
You will be sent an Invoice Notice 14 days before each census day, indicating your fees and census dates. Your debt is incurred on the day after the census day. After a census day has passed, Master Builders will also send you a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) for that Unit of Study. The CAN will provide you with information about your debt, including the loan fee.
There may be a gap between the course fee and the loan cap that the Commonwealth will allow for your course. You will be advised of this when you enquire, and also about other payment options that may be available.
Is there a lifetime loan limit?
The lifetime loan limit is the total amount you can incur in your lifetime under any Commonwealth student loan scheme – whether it is Higher Education FEE-HELP or a VET Student Loan. It is indexed each year, in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2017, the lifetime loan limit is $100,879 for most students. Students can view their loan obligations by logging into myUniAssist on the Study Assist website. You will need your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) to log in.
What is a loan fee?
All students accessing VET student loans are required to pay a loan fee of 20% which is added to the total loan debt. This loan fee is an additional government fee owed to the government and is not a Master Builders fee. It will be added to your HELP debt at the Australian Taxation Office.
How do the loan cap bands work?
There are three bands of Loan Caps, $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000, which apply irrespective of whether the course is being delivered face-to-face, online, or via mixed delivery modes. The Commonwealth sets the Loan Caps for each course.
If you are eligible for a VET Student Loan, you will be entitled for a loan up to the specified Loan Cap amount per course.
Your course may cost more than the Loan Cap. If so, you will be required to pay the difference (known as the gap).
How do I pay back the loan?
You repay your loan through the tax system when your personal income is above the minimum repayment threshold. Repayment thresholds are adjusted each year to reflect changes in average weekly earnings. The minimum repayment income threshold for 2016-17 is $54,869.
A VET Student Loan is a personal debt obligation that can affect your credit rating and have wage and tax repayment implications.
From 1 July 2017, all existing and future debtors from any Commonwealth student loan program who move overseas must make compulsory HELP repayments. If you are living overseas and earning an income that exceeds the minimum repayment threshold, you will be required to make compulsory repayments towards your debt. Please refer to the ATO website for more information.
What is Census Day?
The Census Day is one of the most important dates you need to know, as it's the last day that you can:
- Complete your eCAFF application
- Withdraw your enrolment without incurring cost or debt for that unit of study.
The date varies across qualifications.
Need more information?
If you're considering applying for a VET Student Loan, you should familiarise yourself with your obligations by reading the VET Student Loan information booklet.
Further information is available at: