VET student loan

VET Student Loans

VET Student Loans commenced on 1 January 2017, replacing the VET FEE-HELP scheme.

What is VET Student Loans?

Students who enrol in selected Diploma courses are able to apply for a VET Student Loan (VSL) to support payment of tuition fees. The amount you can borrow for your tuition fees is determined by the Australian Government.  In 2019, VET Student Loan Caps are $5,171, $10,342 or $15,514, depending on the course.

VET Student Loans must be repaid. For more information, refer to DET's Information for VET Student Loans Providers.

You can find further information regarding VET Student Loans eligibility below. There is also up-to-date information in the Student Fact Sheets on the Government’s VET Student Loans website.

Course admission procedure for new students

  1. Enter a course into the CDU course catalogue to find information about course fees, where the course is being delivered, which CDU team is delivering and team contact details.
  2. Complete an application form and supply the required documents. If you would like help with enrolment go to and click on ‘Request a call’ or call the team contacts.
  3. If you have not completed a Certificate IV qualification, apply to do a Language Literacy and Numeracy test – your team contact can provide an access key.

Please note: All Registered Training Organisations have had the total amount of loans available to their students through the VET Student Loan (VSL) scheme capped.  This means that CDU cannot guarantee you access to a VET Student Loan if the total loans capped amount is exceeded. If the loan cap is exceeded, you will be liable for the course fees. If you find yourself in this situation, CDU staff will be happy to discuss alternative arrangements. For further information please contact your course delivery team.

Open all | Close all

Who is eligible for VET Student Loans?

To be eligible for VET Student Loans, you must meet the citizenship and residency requirements:


  • be an Australian citizen; or
  • a permanent Humanitarian visa holder, (resident in Australia for the duration of the units/s of study); or
  • a qualifying New Zealand citizen who is on a Special Category Visa (SCV) holder (this is not a permanent visa but allows its holder to visit, live, and work in Australia indefinitely) who meets the long-term residency requirements, which are:
      • first entered Australia as a minor under 18 years of age;
      • have lived in Australia for at least 8 of the last 10 years; or
      • have lived in Australia for at least 18 months in the last two years

Please note: In order to apply for a VET Student Loan, you must provide current and updated evidence against each of the above criteria prior to enrolment.

Academic suitability:

Have been assessed by your CDU delivery team as academically suited to undertake the approved course on the basis of either:

  • providing your Australian year 12 Certificate; OR
  • providing evidence of successful completion of an Australian Qualifications Framework Certificate IV or higher qualification (where the language of instruction is English); OR
  • displaying competence at Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework in both reading and numeracy through an approved Language, Literacy and Numeracy test.
  • In addition, CDU must reasonably believe that student is academically suited to under the course; and the student must meet any other specified entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria:

You must meet each of the following criteria to be eligible for a VET Student Loan.

  • For 2019, the new combined HELP loan limit will be $104,440 for most students.
  • has a FEE-HELP balance that is more than $0 (i.e. has not used all their FEE-HELP limit).
  • studying the approved course primarily at a campus in Australia.
  • studying with an approved provider.
  • have a Tax File Number or a Certificate of Application for a Tax File Number provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
  • you have a Unique Student Identifier (USI) or are otherwise exempt.
  • submit the electronic Loan Application Form (known as eCAF – electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) by the first census day which is no less than two business days after enrolling.
  • confirm engagement and progression online when requested to by the Government.

Please note: if you change your personal details with Charles Darwin University, please ensure you also update the USI Registry and Australian Tax Office (ATO).

When you enrol at Charles Darwin University the collection, storage, use and disclosure of any personal information you provide are protected by legislation. See our Privacy and Confidentiality Policy for more information.

For more information on eligibility requirements, please visit the VET Student Loans website.

Is there an age limit for applying a VET Student Loan?

If you are under 18 year of age, a parent or guardian must co-sign the form.  You must provide parental or guardian consent in writing via the Government’s Request for a VET Student Loan form, and return it to CDU via email:  The form is also available from your VET course delivery team.

The form must be submitted to CDU before you can apply for a loan.

Parental or guardian consent is not necessary if you have been assessed by Centrelink as meeting the requirements for receiving the independent rate of Youth Allowance.  You will need to provide evidence of this assessment in the form of your Centrelink Income Statement, which you can request by logging into MyGov and selecting your Centrelink online account and return it to CDU via email: or submit completed form to your VET course delivery team.

What is a USI?

Every student undertaking a nationally recognised VET course will require a Unique Student Identifier (USI). This initiative allows the student to receive a complete record of all the accredited VET courses they undertake from 1 January 2015.  A USI gives you access to your online USI account which will help to keep all your training records together.

Students can apply for their USI at W: or authorise CDU to apply on your behalf. The USI must be provided to the training provider before students can receive their Statement of Attainment or Qualification. For more information, visit W:

Which courses are eligible for VET Student Loans (VSL)?

‘Approved courses’ for VET Student Loans are high national priority qualifications at Diploma and above which contribute to addressing skills shortages, align with industry needs, and lead to strong employment outcomes.

The following Diplomas may be eligible for VET Student Loans in 2019 – please check the CDU Course Catalogue before submitting an application:

  • AHC51116 Diploma of Conservation and Land Management
  • BSB50215 Diploma of Business
  • BSB50415 Diploma of Business Administration
  • BSB50615 Diploma of Human Resources Management
  • BSB51315 Diploma of Work Health and Safety
  • BSB51415 Diploma of Project Management
  • BSB51915 Diploma of Leadership and Management
  • CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education And Care
  • HLT54115 Diploma of Nursing
  • SHB50115 Diploma of Beauty Therapy
  • SIT50116 Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management
  • SIT50316 Diploma of Events Management
  • SIT50416 Diploma of Hospitality Management
  • TAE80113 Graduate Diploma of Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice (Not approved for VET Student Loan)

What is Course Engagement and Progression?

From 1 July 2017, you will be required to demonstrate you are progressing through your course and that you wish to continue accessing a VET Student Loan as your payment option.

To do this, you must confirm your engagement and progression via the Government electronic Commonwealth Assistance (eCAF) when requested to by the Government twice during the year to acknowledge acceptance of the loan you will receive for the course.

An invitation email from the Government will be sent to your personal email account with a link to the VET Student Loan Progression form and will include all the information you need to complete a short survey. It is important to note that you have two (2) weeks to compete the form after you receive the email notification.  If you don't complete and submit two (2) consecutive surveys, you may be ineligible to continue accessing VET Student Loans. This means you will need to pay your tuition fees directly to CDU if you want to continue studying your course.

For more information, visit VET Student Loans – Student engagement and progression FAQ.

How does it work?

To apply for a VET Student Loan, you will need a Tax File Number (TFN) and must submit the electronic Loan Application Form (known as eCAF - electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form). There is a cooling off period of two (2) business days from enrolment in the course before a student can complete their eCAF to defer their fees to Tax.

Before a student signs and submits the form, they must read the Information for Students on the VET Student Loans website. Students will be asked to provide their TFN or, if they don’t have a TFN, a certificate of application for TFN can be provided instead. The certificate will be provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) after applying for a TFN.

 If the form is not submitted before the census date, students will not be eligible to access the loan.

Please 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.

What fees do I have to pay?

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 2019 will be charged at $ 3.20 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. 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 Student Loans by students who meet the  VET Student Loans eligibility requirements. For full fee paying students, VET Student Loans has a 20 per cent loan fee of the total amount deferred.

For information on loan fees, please visit the Study Assist website or the VET Student Loans information booklet.

To find out if your course is subsidised, refer to the VET Tuition fee schedule for 2019. The VET Student Loans 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.

Please note: CDU has an exemption from the Tuition 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.

What is a census date?

The census date is the last day for a student to:

  • submit their electronic Loan Applicaton Form (known as eCAF - electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) to defer their fees to tax,
  • make upfront payment of fees,
  • withdraw from their units without incurring fees or a HELP debt.  

If the VET Student Loans eCAF 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 Student Loans who have not made full up-front payment and have provided their TFN will incur a VET Student Loans debt if they are still enrolled in the unit.

The University is required to defer all such fees to tax and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is advised of the debt.

What happens if the fees are not paid?

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 two (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 one (1) week after the census date. Students will be notified in writing of the cancellation.

How do I withdraw from my unit?

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 Student Loans 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.

Please note: Students cannot claim of lack of knowledge or understanding of the requirements for VET Student Loans for not withdrawing and non-attendance at class does not automatically cancel your enrolment.

Remission and re-credit of VSL debt

Students who have accessed VET Student Loans 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. Students in this situation may apply to have their VET Student Loans debt for the unit of study remitted (removed) and their VET Student Loans 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
  • 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 Student Loans 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 the requirements for a VET Student Loan
  • a person’s incapacity to repay a Student Loan 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.

How to apply for remission?

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.

Reminder notice, CAN and CHESSN

A Reminder Notice will be sent to VET Student Loans eligible students who have chosen the up-front payment option. Two (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 Student Loans 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 considered 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 their 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.

What is Tuition Assurance?

Tuition assurance has been put in place by the Government to protect and support students if an approved VET Student Loans provider ceases to deliver a course of study or closes.

All providers are required, through the VET Student Loans Act 2016, to have adequate tuition assurance to cover their student load.

Most VET providers meet their tuition assurance requirements through membership with a tuition assurance scheme operator. The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) and TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) are the two approved tuition assurance operators.

CDU has an exemption from the Tuition 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.

For more information, please refer to Tuition Assurance

Please refer to the University's Governance website for more information.

Personal Information

The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all members of the University community. The University will act responsibly to collect, manage, use and disclose personal information in accordance with the Northern Territory Information Act 2002. The University also commits to comply with the Commonwealth Privacy Act, as if it were a Commonwealth organisation where required to abide by the Australian Privacy Principles under contracted funding agreements from Commonwealth agencies and the Higher Education Support Act when handling students' personal information.

For more information, please refer to our Privacy and Confidentiality Policy

Grievance Procedures

Charles Darwin University is committed to providing a fair, safe and productive work and study environment where grievances are dealt with in a timely, impartial and confidential manner that adheres to the principles of procedural fairness and protects against victimisation.

For more information, please refer to our Students - Administrative Complaints Procedures

VET Student Loans Ombudsman

A VET Student Loans Ombudsman has been established within the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, to manage and investigate complaints regarding both the VET FEE-HELP Scheme and the VET Student Loans Program. The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, encourages students to raise complaints with CDU before contacting the ombudsman.

For more information contact:

CDU Complaints Management Unit
T:   08 8946 6509
W:  Complaints Management Unit

Commonwealth Ombudsman
T:   1300 362 072
W:  VSL Ombudsman