On 1 January 2017, VET Student Loans commenced and VET FEE-HELP closed for all new students. VET Student Loans give students, providers and the VET sector the opportunity to better meet industry needs and employment outcomes while ensuring quality providers are delivering the program.
For VET Student Loans, a list of approved courses, relevant caps, and a list of approved course providers is available at www.education.gov.au/vet-student-loans.
To minimise disruption to existing students, a phased approach is being taken to transition from VET FEE-HELP to the new VET Student Loans program. Students wishing to continue their studies under the existing VET FEE-HELP arrangements will need to opt-in via an online form.
- All students have until 31 March 2017 to opt-in if they wish to access VET FEE-HELP for continued study in incomplete courses for which they have already accessed VET FEE-HELP.
The department sent out opt-in emails and letters progressively from December 2016 to all students with records already reported by their providers. If a student has not received their opt-in information already, the student should be directed to fill in the enquiry form and select “Requesting passkey” in the “What is your question regarding?” field.
For those students where their provider had not yet reported their outstanding census dates in 2016 at the time of the first group of mail-outs, the students will progressively receive their email or mail opt-in letters from early February 2017.
If a student has not received an opt-in email or letter by mid-February, and provider records confirm that the data was reported to the Department, the student should be directed to fill in the enquiry form on.
In order to keep using a VET FEE-HELP loan for your studies during 2017, you must:
- have been enrolled in a higher level* vocational education and training (VET) course prior to 1 January 2017;
- have already been engaged in learning and received VET FEE-HELP assistance for at least one unit in that course (i.e. at least one census date for previous unit/s must have been before 31 December 2016);
- remain enrolled in that course with your original provider under the original conditions of your loan or a replacement provider if tuition assurance arrangements have been activated;**choose to opt-in (via an online opt-in process) when you return to study in 2017 and no later than 31 March 2017[see note below]; and
- have units yet to complete for that course, where the census dates will occur during 2017 (i.e. continuing census dates must occur on or after 1 January 2017 and before 31 December 2017, except in circumstances where this date may be extended).
* A ‘higher level’ VET course is a diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate or graduate diploma.
** Students whose provider ceases to offer the course in 2017 are covered by tuition assurance arrangements which enable them to change provider using VET FEE-HELP or receive a refund for unspent tuition fees.
How do you opt-in to continue to receive VET FEE-HELP?
You will be sent an email or letter advising that the VET FEE-HELP loan scheme ended on 31 December 2016. If you fit the criteria above, you will be able to opt-in using the instructions in the email or letter. You will receive a confirmation email from the Department of Education and Training after opting-in.
You will need to take the confirmation to your current VET FEE-HELP to access VET FEE-HELP during 2017. Your VET FEE-HELP provider has been advised that you will need to provide the opt-in confirmation letter to them for their records.
Although you may receive this correspondence and can progress through to the online opt-in form, you may not meet the eligibility requirements. Please check the criteria above, the factsheets available at www.education.gov.au/vet-student-loans, and with your current VET FEE-HELP provider where you are currently enrolled in courses for 2017 to determine whether you meet the continuing VET FEE-HELP requirements.
Should you choose to opt-in to continue accessing VET FEE-HELP, you will be entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance for any units with census dates before 1 January 2018 that contribute to your continuing course. However, if you have remaining units with census dates on or after 1 January 2018, you may be able to apply for continued access in exceptional circumstances.
In exceptional circumstances some students may be eligible to extend their VET FEE-HELP assistance beyond 31 December 2017. Such circumstances may include, for example, illness or caring responsibilities. Part-time students may also be eligible for further extension. Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Details on these arrangements about how students can request VET FEE-HELP for 2018 will be published on the website later in 2017.
If you have received an email or letter indicating you have a VET FEE-HELP loan but you have never studied, please contact the department to follow up on this matter at www.education.gov.au/vet-student-loans/vet-fee-help-opt-in.
Students wanting to undertake new studies in 2017 or seek further information: