VET fee-help


From 1 January 2017, the VET Student Loans Program will be introduced, replacing the current VET FEE-HELP loan scheme which will cease on 31 December 2016. To minimise disruption to existing students, those wishing to continue their studies under the existing VET FEE-HELP arrangement need to opt-in.

The Department of Education and Training is progressively sending out emails and letters to students from December 2016.

Included in the correspondence will be instructions on how to complete an online opt-in form. If students do not let the department know they would like to continue to access VET FEE-HELP by completing their online confirmation form, then access to VET FEE-HELP will cease on 31 December 2016.

A copy of the approval to opt-in document MUST be provided to your CDU VET Team prior to re-enrolling, so that VET FEE-HELP provisions can continue for 2017.

Please note, if you are a VET FEE-HELP student and will finish your studies in 2016, you will not be required to opt-in to VET FEE-HELP.

If you have not received notification by early January 2017, or have another enquiry specific to opting in, you will need to complete the VET FEE-HELP Opt-In enquiry form at

NOTE:  Students MUST opt-in before returning to study i.e. before attending any classes or logging into continue a course and no later than 31 March 2017.

VET FEE-HELP is a loan scheme only available to existing eligible students and can be used to pay all or part of their tuition fees. For students that are eligible for the VET FEE-HELP loan, the Government pays the loan amount directly to the approved Training Organisation. It cannot be used for additional study costs such as accommodation, text book, uniforms etc.

Under the Higher Education Support Act (HESA), there is a maximum amount that students can borrow through VET FEE-HELP over their lifetime, this is known as FEE-HELP limit. For 2017, the FEE-HELP limit is $ 100,879. The FEE-HELP limit is indexed on 1 January each year, for information on the HELP limit, please visit the Study Assist website.

Students will repay the loan gradually through the tax system once their income is above the compulsory repayment threshold set by the Australian Taxation Office. For the 2016-17 income year, the compulsory repayment threshold is $54,869.The compulsory repayment threshold is adjusted each year on 1 July. Students can make a voluntary repayment of their VET FEE-HELP debt at any time. For more information on loan repayment, please visit the Study Assist website.

VET FEE-HELP is now only available to existing students who were enrolled in and commenced VET courses prior to 31st December 2016, who have not completed their course, and want to continue to study under their existing VET FEE-HELP  arrangements for units of study with census dates before 31st December 2017 (or a later date in *exceptional circumstances).

Students are eligible for VET FEE-HELP if they:

- are an Australian citizen or permanent Humanitarian visa holder who will be resident in Australia for the duration of the unit.

- are a New Zealand citizen who is on a Special Category Visa (SCV). For more information on SCV, please visit the Study Assist website.

- are full fee-paying/Fee for Service or a subsidised student in an eligible state or territory studying an approved diploma or higher level course.

- have not exceeded the FEE-HELP limit

- meet the Tax File Number (TFN) requirements

* In some circumstances, some students may be eligible to extend their VET FEE-HELP assistance beyond 31st December 2017. Such circumstances may include, for example, illness or caring responsibilities. Part-time students may also be eligible for 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 provided later in 2017.

For more information on eligibility requirements, please read the VET FEE-HELP information booklet for 2017.

A student wishing to defer all or part of the fees to tax must supply a Tax File Number (TFN). A TFN is necessary if a student wants to authorise the University to defer all or part of a student contribution to tax and in case a student has chosen the up-front payment option but fails to make a payment by the relevant census date.

To apply for VET FEE-HELP loan, you will need a TFN and complete the Request for VET FEE-HELP loan form. There is a cooling of period of 2 business days from enrolment in the course before a student can complete their Commonwealth Loan Form to defer their fees to Tax. Before a student signs and submits the form, they must read the VET FEE-HELP information booklet for 2017. Students will be asked to provide their TFN, if they don’t have a TFN, a certificate of application for TFN can be provided instead. The certificate is available from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) after applying for a TFN.

The completed and signed form must be submitted to the University before census date. If the form is not submitted before the census date, students will not be eligible to access the VET FEE-HELP loan.

NOTE: it is a requirement under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 that the enrolment be cancelled after the relevant census date if a student does not provide their personal TFN where required and has not paid their fees upfront.

VET FEE-HELP is available to students enrolling in

  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • Graduate Certificate and
  • Graduate Diploma

Course fees are dependent on whether the student is a resident of the Northern Territory. 

Northern Territory Government (NTG) subsidised courses - some diploma courses are subsidised by the NT Government. Tuition fees for 2017 will be charged at $ 2.90 per nominal hour for domestic students who are NT residents.

Full Fee paying courses - some courses are not subsidised by the NT Government. Students enrolling in these courses will be charged full fee rates per nominal hour allocated to the unit. For NT resident domestic students a limited number of positions are available for some courses where the course fee is sponsored by the NT Government. These positions are referred to as capped positions. A student allotted a capped position will retain that position in later years for this specific course unless the NT Government removes the sponsorship, or the student completes the course.

All non-Territory domestic students are charged full fee rates per nominal hour allocated to the unit.

All the above fees are deferrable to VET FEE-HELP by students who meet the VET FEE-HELP eligibility requirements. For full fee paying students, VET FEE-HELP has a 20% loan fee of the total amount deferred. For information on loan fees, please visit the Study Assist website or the VET FEE-HELP information booklet for 2017.

To find out if your course is subsidised, refer to the VET Tuition fee schedule for 2017 (PDF 289KB). The VET FEE-HELP schedule contain information of the student fees applicable to a particular course. Note that many courses have a variety of fees depending on the student's eligibility for a particular fee. General fee information is available in the VET Student Guide, also available as a hardcopy.

NOTE - Charles Darwin University has an exemption from the VET FEE-HELP assurance schemes (course assurance and fee assurance schemes). This means that any student affected by courses ceasing will be accommodated in-line with standard CDU policies and procedures on fees and course delivery. Please refer to the University's Governance website for more information.

The census date is the last day for a student to submit their Request for VET FEE-HELP loan form to defer their fees to Tax or to make upfront payment of fees. It is also the last day for students to withdraw from their units without incurring fees or a HELP debt. If the VET FEE-HELP loan form is not submitted by the census date, the student will not be eligible to access a HELP loan for that study period. Census dates for each Teaching Period are below:

Teaching PeriodCensus Date
VFH - T111 March
VFH - T211 May
VFH - T311 August
VFH - T411 November

After the census date, students eligible for VET FEE-HELP who have not made full up-front payment and have provided their TFN will incur a VET FEE-HELP debt if they are still enrolled in the unit. The University is required to defer all such fees to tax and the ATO is advised of the debt.

All Fees for each Teaching Period must be either paid upfront or deferred to Tax on or before the census date. Students who have chosen the up-front payment option will receive a reminder notice 2 weeks before the relevant census date advising that payment of tuition fees is required no later than one working day before the census date.

If students do not pay their fees up-front or defer it to tax, their enrolment will be cancelled within 1 week after the census date. Students will be notified in writing of the cancellation.

If you do not wish to continue with their studies in a Teaching Period, you must withdraw from those units on or before the census date for that Teaching Period without incurring a VET FEE-HELP debt for unpaid fees. Withdrawals can be done online through MyStudentInfo or by submitting a VET102 - Change of Enrolment/Withdrawal from Course Form to the Team with whom you are enrolled. Online withdrawals is only available until census date. Failure to withdraw on or before the census date will result in financial penalty and you will lose any up-front payments of tuition fees.

NOTE - Students cannot claim of lack of knowledge or understanding of the requirements for VET FEE-HELP for not withdrawing and Non-attendance at class does not automatically cancel your enrolment.

Students who have accessed VET FEE-HELP to cover all or part of their tuition fees incur the liability and therefore the debt for their tuition fees after the census date. Students may find they have to withdraw from their studies after the census date or they have been unable to complete their studies because of serious illness or other special circumstances. Student in this situation may apply to have their VET FEE-HELP debt for the unit of study remitted (removed) and their FEE-HELP balance re-credited.

For special circumstances to apply, students must demonstrate that the circumstances:

- were beyond their control;
- did not make their full impact on you until on or after the census date(s) of the unit(s) in question; and
- were such that they made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements for the unit(s).

If a student withdraws from a unit of study after the census date, the University will advise the student to apply in writing to the University for a remission (removal) of their VET FEE-HELP debt.

A student who completes a unit and receives a Not Component grade is considered not to have successfully completed the unit and may therefore apply for a remission if special circumstances exist. A student who has successfully completed the unit of study cannot apply for a remission.

Special circumstance do not include:

-    A lack of knowledge or understanding of requirements for VET FEE-HELP; or
-    A person’s incapacity to repay a HELP debt, as repayments are income contingent and the person may apply for a deferral of a compulsory repayment in certain circumstances.

Further information on special circumstances is available on the Study Assist website.

An application for a re-credit or remission must be made in writing. It must be made within 12 months of the person withdrawing from the unit of study or if the person has not withdrawn, within 12 months of the end of the period in which the unit of study was, or was to be, undertaken. To apply for a remission, students must complete The Application for Removal of Financial Penalty and must include any independent supporting documents to support the claim.

Where no supporting documentation is attached to the application, a letter will be sent to the student requesting the same within 28 days of the letter. If the student does not respond, the Remission application will not be supported and the student will be sent the decision notice and their right to appeal.

Students have the right for a review of the decision if they are not satisfied with the outcome within 28 days from the day they first received the notice of the decision.

Any upfront payments of fees made for the unit of study will be refunded to the students in accordance with the University’s student refund policy. For more information about fees, payments and refund refer to the fees and payments page on student central.

A Reminder Notice will be sent to VET FEE-HELP eligible students who have chosen the up-front payment option. 2 weeks prior to the relevant census date, Reminder Notices will be sent to advise that payment of tuition fees will be required no later than one working day before the census date.

The Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) is sent via email to all VET FEE-HELP eligible students who have either made an up-front payment of fees or deferred their fees to tax. The CAN will include details about student enrolment such as: personal details, CHESSN number, course and unit enrolment, deferred amount and/or upfront payment details, loan fees (if applicable), total debt for unit. The CAN will be sent within 28 days after the relevant census date for each study period that the student is enrolled.

Students must check if the information in the CAN is correct. If a student believes that the information on the CAN is incorrect, the student must, within 14 days of the date on the CAN, inform the University in writing for the CAN to be corrected. Verbal requests will not be considered. The request must specify the particular information he/she considers to be incorrect and the reason why it is considered incorrect.

The Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) is a unique identifier that universities use with the Australian Government concerning a student who is enrolled in a course of study and has indicated that they are seeking commonwealth assistance under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 for the units. The CHESSN will be linked to the student for the remainder of his/her academic life. It will be notified to the student in the Commonwealth Assistance Notice.

For more information on CAN and CHESSN, please refer to the Study Assist website.