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.
VET FEE-HELP Eligibility
To access VET FEE-HELP assistance you must be an eligible student. An eligible student (for the purpose of VET FEE-HELP) is
- 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.
Applying for VET FEE-HELP
If you are eligible for VET FEE-HELP assistance and would like to obtain a VET FEE-HELP loan for your course, you should contact your approved VET provider. Your VET provider will assist you in applying by confirming your eligibility and providing you with the VET FEE-HELP Information booklet and Request for VET FEE-HELP assistance form.
You must read the Information booklet before completing and signing the form, when completing the form, you must tick all relevant boxes and sign the declaration. You must return the form it to the appropriate officer of your VET provider on or before the census date (or the earlier date set by your VET provider) for the first unit of study for which you wish to obtain VET FEE-HELP assistance. You should contact your VET provider if you are unsure how to complete the form.
If you have not submitted a completed Request for VET FEE-HELP assistance form on or before the census date for the unit, you will not be entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance for that unit.
Approved VET providers
An approved VET provider is a registered training organisation (RTO) who has been approved by the Australian Government to offer VET FEE-HELP assistance to their students. You can ask the RTO you are enrolling with if they have been approved as a VET provider.
FEE-HELP Loan Limit
Over a student’s lifetime, whether they receive a loan under VET FEE-HELP for VET studies or FEE-HELP for higher education studies, the same FEE-HELP loan limit applies. In 2011, the FEE-HELP loan limit is $89,706 for most courses and $112,134 for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses that lead to registration as practitioners in those fields. This amount is indexed each year.
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.
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 threshold for compulsory repayment for the 2012-13 income year is over $49,096. 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 repayment 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 10% of the payment you make.
For more information on VET FEE-HELP contact us.