The Australian Government is committed to increasing productivity, addressing skills shortages and assisting with the cost of studying. One of the measures that achieves these goals is the availability of the VET FEE-HELP student loan scheme.
VET FEE-HELP is a student loan scheme for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector that is part of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). VET FEE-HELP assists eligible students undertaking certain VET courses of study (diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate and graduate diploma courses) with an approved VET provider, to pay for all or part of their tuition costs. A VET provider is a registered training organisation who has been approved by the Australian Government to offer VET FEE-HELP assistance to their students.
The Australian College of Applied Education is now a registered VET FEE-HELP provider for all courses at the diploma level. Certificate II, III and IV courses offered at ACAE do not qualify.
VET FEE-HELP Assistance
VET FEE-HELP is a loan scheme for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector that is part of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). VET FEE-HELP assists eligible students undertaking certain VET courses of study (diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate and graduate diploma courses). It allows students to borrow funds up to their FEE-HELP limit to help pay for all or part of their tuition fees. Students who access VET FEE-HELP assistance will have a loan with the Australian Government who will, on the student’s behalf, pay their tuition fees to their approved VET provider.
VET FEE-HELP provides a loan for tuition fees only, VET FEE-HELP does not cover accommodation or general living expenses. Your provider will set the tuition fee for your unit(s) of study. VET providers are required to publish the tuition fees and census dates for all of units of study on their website.
To access VET FEE-HELP assistance you must be an eligible student. An eligible student (for the purpose of VET FEE-HELP):
a) an Australian citizen; or
b) a permanent humanitarian visa holder who will be resident in Australia for the duration of the unit of study in which they are seeking VET FEE-HELP assistance;
- is a full fee-paying student, or an eligible subsidised student in a Reform State or Territory, enrolled on or before the census date in an eligible unit of study through an approved VET provider and remains enrolled in the unit at the end of the census date;
- meets the tax file number requirements;
- has completed, signed and submitted a valid Request for VET FEE-HELP assistance form for the unit or the course of which the unit forms a part, on or before the census date; and
- has not exceeded the FEE-HELP limit.
You must complete, sign and submit the form (only available from your approved provider) to the appropriate officer at your approved provider. This must be done by the census date of the first unit of study that you wish to pay for with a VET FEE-HELP loan.
You will need to provide your tax file number (or a Certificate of application for TFN) to complete the form. If you access a VET FEE-HELP loan, you will have a legal obligation to the Commonwealth to repay your loan.
FEE-HELP Loan Limit
Eligible students can borrow up to the FEE-HELP limit to pay their tuition fees. The FEE-HELP limit is the total amount available to eligible students under both the VET FEE-HELP and FEE-HELP loan schemes. This means that any amount you borrow under either VET FEE-HELP or FEE-HELP will reduce your FEE-HELP balance (the amount of FEE-HELP you have left to use) until you have reached the FEE-HELP limit. For 2016, the FEE-HELP limit is $124,238 for students undertaking medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses (as defined in the Higher Education Support Act 2003), and $99,389 for all other students. Note that the higher FEE-HELP limit only applies to courses that lead to initial registration to practise in those fields. The lower limit will apply to any further study you undertake once you have gained the requisite level for initial registration.
The FEE-HELP limit is a lifetime limit and is not reset or ‘topped up’ by any repayments that you make.
Fees and Charges
There is no application fee for requesting VET FEE-HELP assistance.
A loan fee of 20% applies to full fee-paying students receiving VET FEE-HELP assistance. The loan fee is included in your VET FEE-HELP debt and does not decrease your FEE-HELP loan limit. Eligible students in a Reform State or Territory will not incur a loan fee, currently Victoria is the only Reform State or Territory for the purposes of VET FEE-HELP.
There is no interest charged to your VET FEE-HELP debt, however, your debt is indexed annually by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to maintain its real value.
For further information about VET FEE-HELP debts visit the HELP loan repayment page.
VET FEE-HELP debts become part of your accumulated HELP debt. You must start repaying your accumulated HELP debt when your repayment income is above the minimum repayment threshold for compulsory repayments. The minimum repayment threshold for compulsory repayment for the 2016—2017 income year is $54,869. The repayment thresholds are adjusted each year to reflect any changes in average weekly earnings.
You can make voluntary repayments to reduce your HELP debt at any time and for any amount. Making a voluntary will reduce your debt immediately and can attract a bonus. If you make a voluntary repayment of $500 or more, you will receive a bonus of 5% of the payment you make.
For more information on VET FEE-HELP visit the student Frequently Asked Questions, contact your approved VET provider or call the VET FEE-HELP enquiry line on 13 38 73.
For more information about VET FEE-HELP including eligibility, applying and loan limits please download to the VET FEE-HELP Information Booklet from the left of this page.
Please note: Students should be aware that the Australian College of Applied Education's (ACAE) approval as a VET FEE-HELP Provider may still be disallowed by the Federal Parliament. In the event that ACAE is disallowed, students will not be able to access VET FEE-HELP for the remainder of their course. Any VET FEE-HELP debts already accrued before disallowance will not be affected. If students requested VET FEE-HELP assistance for units of study where the census date has passed, they will not have to pay upfront tuition fees for these units and will still receive a VET FEE-HELP loan for them.