Looking to undertake vocation education or training? VET loans may be one option you have to make them more financially accessible. Keen to know more? Monzi’s here. Read on for our comprehensive VET loan guide.
Please note, certain ideas and products presented in this article may not be offered by Monzi nor the lenders we work with. This article presents only general information. Consider seeking professional financial, taxation, legal or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented on this website relate to your unique circumstances.
VET student loans
Vocational Education and Training (VET) student loans are Government loan schemes that assist students in undertaking vocational education and training. In short, these loans help students to cover their tuition fees while deferring payment into the future.
VET loans are available for approved vocational courses at a diploma level and above. As a result, VET help is not available for courses at a Certificate IV level or below.
Repayments are made through the taxation system, however, you won’t need to make any repayments until you earn above a certain threshold. This number may change each financial year based on various economic forces.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can go into further detail. Read on as we aim to cover everything you need to know.
Who is eligible for VET student loans?
In order to be eligible for these loans, there are a few criteria that you must meet.
First and foremost, you must be:
- An Australian citizen, or
- A qualifying New Zealand citizen (refer to the eligibility requirements via the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website), or
- Hold a humanitarian visa and reside primarily in Australia.
Next, you must have a HELP balance greater than zero. That is, you need to have enough of your HELP loan limit remaining to cover the costs of the study. In addition to this, your approved course provider must have assessed whether you are academically suited to undertake the course.
Finally, you must be enrolled in an approved course, with an approved educational provider and meet the application requirements. Moreover, this course must be based primarily at a campus in Australia.
Is VET the same as HECS?
While they are very similar, they are not quite the same.
In short, while vocational education and training loans are offered to students undertaking vocational education, HECS is reserved for university-level study.
However, they are both structured the same and indexed annually. Moreover, the income threshold you must reach before making repayments is identical.
How do you get a VET loan?
In order to get this loan, you must submit VET student loan request form by the census date.
To do this, you first must enrol in your course and indicate that you require a vocational education and training loan. From there, your course provider will forward your information to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment through the Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) system.
Subsequently, you will receive an email with directions on how to sign into the eCAF system. After signing in, you can then complete the required paperwork.
Submit it once you’ve entered all the necessary information and you’ll receive an email confirming your approval. Moreover, it is important you submit this before the census date, as you won’t be granted retrospective loans under any circumstances.
What is the census date?
Make sure you know the census date. It’s the last day that you can apply for a VET loan or withdraw from your course without incurring debt.
While it will be different for each course, the date typically falls somewhere within the first few weeks of study. Moreover, it will be clearly outlined by your course provider so ensure you take note.
If you’re not sure, contact your provider and they should be able to confirm the date for you.
Do you have to pay back VET FEE-HELP?
As discussed, you must repay your loan through the taxation system. However, you won’t be required to make repayments until your earnings exceed the income threshold.
For the 2019-20 financial year, the threshold is $45,881. However, this changes from year to year.
Repayments are automatically taken out as part of your tax.
Are VET student loans interest free?
VET loans don’t accrue interest. However, they are indexed to inflation and indexation is added to your debt each year on June 1st.
In simpler terms, this ties your loan to the cost of living. As a result, while the actual debt amount may rise, you won’t be paying back more than you borrow. Instead, increases in your debt are simply done to maintain the real value of the debt with reference to inflation.
As an example, the indexation rate in 2019 was 1.9%.
Vet student loan aviation
Keen to roam the skies as a pilot? A vocational education and training loan help may be available to help make your dreams a reality.
Apply for a loan and you may be able to defer your payment into the future. That means you can undertake the training you need which can set you up to land your dream role as a pilot. Then, once you reach the income threshold, you can begin paying back the money you borrowed.
However, remember that you will need to ensure that you are enrolling in an approved course with an approved provider.
Vet student loans citizenship
You need to be an Australian Citizen to be eligible. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
If you are a qualifying New Zealand citizen (based on a few eligibility requirements listed on the Department of Education, Skills and Training website) or hold a humanitarian visa then you may still be eligible.
Vet student loans QLD
Are you a Queensland student seeking to access education? That’s okay. These loans are available to students in every state and territory.
In short, your location doesn’t matter. As long as you are enrolling in an approved course with an approved educational provider then you may be eligible.
However, consult the full eligibility criteria list on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.
Vet student loan eCAF
As mentioned, eCAF stands for an electronic Commonwealth assistance form. In short, it is the form that must be completed and submitted if you are an eligible student wanting to access help to cover tuition fee payment.
This form is typically part of your enrolment and your educational institution may be able to guide you through this process.
Keep in mind that you need a valid tax file number (TFN) to complete this form.
Vet student loan under 18
If you’re under the age of 18 then you will need to fill in the VET student loan parental consent form available through the Department of Education website.
Your parent and guardian must sign this form. From there, you must submit it to your education provider before applying.
However, if you are an independent receiving Youth Allowance through Centrelink then you won’t need to submit this form. Instead, you will need to submit your Centrelink Income Statement.
What is VSL capping?
With VET loans, there is a limit on the amount that you can borrow. This is your ‘loan cap.’
The loan cap is different depending on what course of study you are undertaking. If the course costs exceed the loan cap then you must pay the difference.
To put it into numbers, let’s say you enrol in a course that costs $5,000. However, there is a VSL cap of $4,500. Then, as a result, you must pay the difference of $500 to your course provider.
How do I keep track of my loan amount?
You can find your loan balance through myGov.
In order to do this, you will first need to login into myGov and then link your account to the Australian Taxation Office (instructions on how to do this can be found on the ATO website).
Once this is done, select the ATO portal listed under ‘Your Services’. From there, this page lists your debts under the loan account section. It will not only list how much you owe but your indexation charges and repayment history too.
What happens if I withdraw from my unit?
If for whatever reason, you opt to withdraw from your course before the census date, you will not incur a debt. Moreover, if you paid for the course upfront then you may receive a refund from your course provider.
However, if you withdraw after the census date or fail a unit then, unfortunately, you will incur a debt which will be added onto your loan amount. This is unless there are special circumstances regarding your withdrawal.
Withdrawing after the census date: special circumstances
If you fall ill or encounter other special circumstances that mean you must withdraw from your course after the census date, then you can apply to have your loan amount re-credited and your debt removed.
However, approval is contingent upon proving that:
- Circumstances were out of your control.
- The circumstances did not impact you until on or after the census date.
- These circumstances made it impossible or impractical for you to be able to complete your studies.
Monzi’s lender-finder service
We’ve tried to cover all the information that you might need. Unfortunately, however, Monzi cannot offer VET loans. They’re a government-issued loan so follow the steps we’ve outlined for you.
If you’re looking for a personal loan though, we might be able to help. Through our lender-finder service, we might be able to pair you with a lender potentially offering personal loans up to $10,000.
If that sounds right for you, scroll up and begin your application today.