VET Student Loans is an Australian Government loan program that helps eligible VET students pay their tuition fees. If you’re studying a diploma or advanced diploma, you may be eligible for a VET Student Loan.


SPECIAL LOAN FEE EXEMPTION FOR PANDEMIC RELIEF

On 12 April 2020 the Australian Government announced a six-month exemption of the 20 percent loan fee for full fee-paying VET Student Loan students. This exemption applied to VET Student Loan amounts incurred on census days between 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020. This exemption has now been extended to include VET Student Loan amounts incurred on census days between 1 October 2020 to 30 June 2021.

All VET Student Loan amounts incurred on census days between 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2021 will not incur the usual 20 percent loan fee. Students will not need to do anything for the exemption to be applied. Student VET Student Loan debt records with the Australian Taxation Office will automatically reflect the loan fee exemption from early June 2020.


WHAT IS A VET STUDENT LOAN?

A VET Student Loan is a loan from the Australian Government that helps eligible students pay their tuition fees. Your loan is repaid through the Australian tax system when you reach the minimum income threshold for repayment. The minimum income threshold for repayment is set by the Australian Government each year and is published on Study Assist. Repayments continue until you have repaid your entire debt.

It is important to note that your loan will remain a personal debt until it is repaid and it may reduce your take-home (after-tax) wage and your borrowing capacity. You may wish to seek independent financial advice before applying.

The amount you can borrow for your tuition fees is determined by the Australian Government.

A VET Student Loan is only for tuition fees and doesn’t cover additional costs such as textbooks, materials, or accommodation.


AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A VET STUDENT LOAN?

The Australian Government has approved Sydney Actors School to deliver a number of courses eligible for a VET Student Loan. Search our website to find out if a VET Student Loan is available for your course.

Courses that are approved for a VET Student Loan, and the cap on the loan amounts that students can borrow per course, are set by the Australian Government. A full list of approved courses is provided in the VET Student Loans (Courses and Loan Caps) Determination 2016.

In order to apply for a VET Student Loan you must provide current and updated evidence against each of the following criteria (prior to enrolment). Otherwise, you will be liable to pay the full cost of your course.

Please note: Centrelink benefits do not affect your eligibility or the loan amount you can access.

1. Residency:

  • Australian citizen, or
  • eligible permanent humanitarian visa holder who usually resides in Australia, or
  • New Zealand citizen on Special Category Visa (SCV subclass 444) who meets the long term residency requirements.

Please note: New Zealand citizens on a Special Category Visa must provide an International Movement Record evidencing that:

  • you first began living in Australia at least 10 years before applying for a VET Student Loan, and at that time, were a child under 18 years of age and did not have a spouse or de-facto partner, and
  • you have been in Australia for at least eight of the 10 years immediately prior to applying and at least 18 months of the last two years.

2. Academic suitability:

  • Australian Year 12 Certificate of Education; or
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) diploma; or
  • successful completion of an Australian Qualifications Framework certificate IV or higher qualification (where the language of instruction is English), or at a level in a framework that preceded the AQF that is equivalent to level 4 or above in the AQF or;

If you cannot provide the above documents, you will be required to display competence at Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework in both reading and numeracy. Sydney Actors School will assess your competence using the Australian Government approved assessment tool – Core Skills Profile for Adults.

3. Tax File Number (TFN):

  • Name, Address and Date of Birth currently held by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Please note: if your details held at the ATO are not current, we will be unable to enrol you. Check your details are correct by logging into your myGov account prior to enrolment.

If you don’t already have a TFN you can apply for one online via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website. If you apply for your TFN but don’t receive it before enrolment, you can get a Certificate of Application for a TFN from the ATO. Upload your certificate to your electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) before you submit it.

Once you receive a TFN let Sydney Actors School know and update your eCAF as soon as possible.

4. Unique Student Identifier (USI):

What is a USI? A USI is a Unique Student Identifier. The Commonwealth Government requires all students who are studying in a nationally recognised training course to have a USI. If you already have one, please ensure you use the same USI when you enrol for any training. If you don’t have a USI, you can go to https://www.usi.gov.au/ to register before you apply to enrol. Alternatively, you can do this as part of your enrolment.

  • Have your USI ready when you enrol.
  • Your Name, Address and date of birth must match your details held at the Australia Tax Office (ATO) and the details you provided at enrolment.

Please note: if you don’t have a USI or your name, address and date of birth held on the USI Registry do not match your details held by the Australia Tax Office (ATO) we will be unable to enrol you.

If you don’t already have a USI or need to update your details go to the USI website.

5. CHESSN

What is a CHESSN? A CHESSN is a Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number which is allocated to all students when they first access a Commonwealth Government loan. It is important that students only have one CHESSN, as any student loan they take is recorded against their CHESSN. If you already have a CHESSN, please supply that number. Otherwise, Sydney Actors School will provide you with one during your application process.


ADDITIONAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA 

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

1. You do not exceed the FEE-HELP limit:

  • You can borrow up to the FEE-HELP limit to pay your course fees (for 2019, the FEE-HELP limit is $$104,440 for most students).
  • Any amount you borrow under VET Student Loans, VET FEE-HELP, or FEE-HELP will be added together until you reach the FEE-HELP limit.
  • The FEE-HELP limit is a lifetime limit and is not reset or ‘topped up’ by any repayments you make.

2. You are studying the approved course primarily at a campus in Australia.

3. You have read the VET Student Loans Information Booklet.

4. You have submitted the electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) five (5) business days prior to your first census day and no less than two business days after enrolling.

Please note: If you intend to study more than one course, you will need to complete one eCAF for each course you wish to access a loan for.  If you do not complete and submit your eCAF by the deadline, you may need to make an alternative payment arrangement for your tuition fees.

2021 Census Dates for Sydney Actors School:

March 4, 2021

June 17, 2021

September 30, 2021

5. You have submitted the VET Student Loans engagement and progression form.

From 1 July 2017, a student engagement and progression requirement applies to all students wishing to continue to access a VET Student Loan. Depending on the duration of your course, you may be requested to complete this survey more than once.

If you do not complete the survey within the required time you will not be eligible to continue to access a VET Student Loan.


HOW WILL MY COURSE FEES BE CHARGED?

Tuition fees are charged per Units of Study (UoS) and your course will have a least three fee periods with payments spread proportionately across the duration of your course.

Once enrolled but prior to your first census day for your course, Sydney Actors School will provide you with a Statement of Covered Fees confirming that your enrolment has been accepted and the amounts of the course tuition fees that will, and will not, be covered under a VET Student Loan.

In addition to the Statement of Covered Fees, you will receive a VET Student Loan Fee Notice at least 14 days before census day that will show you the amount of tuition fees that will, and will not, be covered under a VET Student Loan for that particular fee period.

If you withdraw your enrolment on or before the census day, you will not incur the tuition fees for that fee period. This applies to fees covered by the VET Student Loan and any gap or upfront fees paid for that fee period. No administration fee applies.

After the census day has passed and you have submitted your Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF), Sydney Actors School will send you a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) that provides you with further information about your debt. If you believe your CAN is incorrect, you should contact Sydney Actors School Registrar immediately.

If you intend to study more than one course, you will need to apply for a VET Student Loan for each course you wish to access a loan for. The amount you can borrow for your tuition fees will be determined by the cost of each course.


ADDITIONAL FEES AND CHARGES

A VET Student Loan is only for tuition fees and doesn’t cover additional costs such as textbooks, materials, or accommodation. Details of any additional costs for your course are detailed on the relevant course information page.

In addition, a 20 percent loan fee applies to VET Student Loans for full fee paying or fee for service students. The good news is you don’t have to pay the loan fee upfront, it will be added to your VET Student Loan.


SPECIAL LOAN FEE EXEMPTION FOR PANDEMIC RELIEF

On 12 April 2020 the Australian Government announced a six-month exemption of the 20 percent loan fee for full fee-paying VET Student Loan students. This exemption applied to VET Student Loan amounts incurred on census days between 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020. This exemption has now been extended to include VET Student Loan amounts incurred on census days between 1 October 2020 to 30 June 2021.

All VET Student Loan amounts incurred on census days between 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2021 will not incur the usual 20 percent loan fee. Students will not need to do anything for the exemption to be applied. Student VET Student Loan debt.


HOW DO I ENROL AND PAY?

Applying for a course does not guarantee you a place in that course. Your place is only guaranteed once you have met all eligibility requirements and you have enrolled. Enrolling means that you are committing yourself to study, and to paying the associated fees.

The tuition fees and applicable charges are required to be paid at enrolment or by scheduled instalment dates either by yourself, a nominated third party (e.g. your employer), or as identified within a contract for the delivery of Sydney Actors School training.


ENROLMENT AND PAYMENT

Once your eligibility has been confirmed, Sydney Actors School will assist you to enrol in your course.

Your VET Student Loan is repaid through the Australian tax system when you reach the minimum income threshold for repayment. The minimum income threshold for repayment is set by the Australian Government each year and is published on Study Assist. Repayments continue until you have repaid your entire debt.

It is important to note that your loan will remain a personal debt until it is repaid and it may reduce your take-home (after-tax) wage and your borrowing capacity. You may therefore wish to seek independent financial advice before applying for a VET Student Loan.

You have up until the census day to apply for a VET Student Loan. If you do not apply by the census day or have formally withdrawn, you will be liable for the tuition fees payable for that fee period.


HOW DO I APPLY FOR A VET STUDENT LOAN?

You cannot apply for a VET Student Loan until 2 business days after you enrol but you must submit your application on or before your first census day for your course.

Two business days following your enrolment, Sydney Actors School will advise the Australian Government that you wish to apply for a VET Student Loan. The Australian Government will email you your login details and password to access and complete an eCAF (the Australian Government’s electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form).

Please note: You must complete and submit your eCAF to the Commonwealth before your first census day. If you do not submit your eCAF by the census day, you will be liable for the tuition fees payable for that fee period.


WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES?

If you are considering applying for a VET Student Loan you should familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities. For further information please see:


HOW DO I WITHDRAW OR APPLY FOR RE-CREDIT?

You can request to withdraw from your course by contacting the Sydney Actors School Registrar. Please see our policies page for more information.

If you withdraw your enrolment on or before the census day, you will not incur the tuition fees for that fee period. This applies to fees covered by the VET Student Loan and any gap or upfront fees paid for that fee period. However, if you withdraw from your course after the census day, you will incur a VET Student Loan debt and will be liable for any gap payments applicable to those unit(s).


WHAT IF I HAVE SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES?

If you withdraw after the census day or are unable to successfully complete a unit, and believe this was due to special circumstances, you may apply to have your FEE-HELP balance re-credited for the unit of study.

To apply for a re-credit, you need to contact the Sydney Actors School Registrar with your request via post, email or in person.

If you feel that Sydney Actors School’s decision about your re-credit request is unfair, you also have a right to ask for an internal appeal of the decision.


TUITION ASSURANCE 

The purpose of this policy is to outline Sydney Actors School procedures to regulate the payment of all student fees and charges, as well as protection of students in the event that the institution ceases to provide a course of study.

All fees are reviewed annually. All fees and charges are stated in and are to be paid in Australian dollars (unless delivery is through an offshore campus or partner). Tuition fees are payable per semester, in advance. Students must review the Student Agreement or International Student Agreement for visa holders, before the commencement of the course of study. This agreement includes payment dates and options. No student may commence studies unless tuition fees are paid or, for those students who are eligible, a VET Student Loan Assistance form has been lodged.

Sydney Actors School provides a tuition assurance arrangement for persons who are enrolled in courses of study the institution offers. The exception to this is overseas students, who are covered under the Tuition Protection Scheme (TPS).


STATEMENT OF VET TUITION ASSURANCE

Sydney Actors School ensures that it complies with the VET Tuition Assurance requirements covered in the VET Guidelines 2013 (the VET Guidelines). In the event Sydney Actors School ceases to provide a VET course of study in which a student is enrolled, the student is entitled to a choice of:

a) Course Assurance Option: an offer of a place in a similar VET course of study with a second provider without any requirement to pay the second provider any tuition fee for any replacement units;

OR

b) Tuition Fee Repayment Option: a refund of the student’s up-front tuition fee payments and/or a re-crediting of any VET Student Loan balance for any unit of study in which the student is enrolled or commences but does not complete.

A Statement of Sydney Actors School Tuition Assurance can be found here.


PROCEDURES

Fees are charged on the basis of a student being ‘domestic’ or ‘international’.

  • A domestic student is defined as any student who is an Australian or New Zealand citizen, an Australian permanent resident or holder of an Australian permanent humanitarian visa.
  • An international student is any student who requires a student visa, is a temporary resident (visa status) of Australia or who is NOT an Australian or New Zealand citizen, an Australian permanent resident or holder of an Australian permanent humanitarian visa. This category includes both international onshore and international offshore students.

If, after the census date of the semester, a student’s tuition fees are not paid or the student has not undertaken the appropriate steps to defer the payment of tuition fees through the VET Student Loans Assistance form lodgement, or the student has not made alternate arrangements, then the student’s enrolment in the subject or unit may be automatically cancelled. The student may receive a fail grade for the unpaid subject or unit and may be removed from class.

Students with outstanding fees will not be issued any academic transcripts and will not be permitted to graduate. Students will also be refused the following services:

  1. access to assessment results;
  2. access to buildings and computer labs;
  3. access to e-learning course material;
  4. course enrolment;
  5. access to facilities.

If a student’s enrolment was cancelled due to outstanding fees, they may request to be re-enrolled. A student whose enrolment was cancelled will carry the debt and will not be permitted to enrol until the outstanding amount has been paid in full or an agreement has been made between the student and Sydney Actors School.


FAQ

Is there a limit to how much I can borrow?

From 1 January 2017, the Commonwealth Government has set a course loan cap for each course. The loan cap is the total amount the student can borrow for the course.

There is also a lifetime loan limit per student. This is the total amount you can incur in your lifetime under any Commonwealth HELP student loan scheme – whether it is Higher Education FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or a VET Student Loan. It is indexed each year, in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2021, the lifetime loan limit is $108,232 for most students. Students can check their HELP balance and loan obligations by logging into myHELPbalance.

You will need your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) to log in. Please note, your HELP balance is renewable. Any compulsory or voluntary repayments starting from the 2019- 20 income year will top up your HELP balance. These repayments will be applied to your HELP balance from 1 July 2020 onwards, after you have submitted your tax return to the ATO. Repayments can be re-borrowed in the future, up to the current HELP loan limit.

Will taking out a loan impact my credit rating?

A VET Student Loan is a personal debt obligation that can affect your credit rating. It may also have wage and tax repayment implications. You should seek independent financial advice before applying for a VET Student Loan.

I have student debt already, how do I confirm my total debt?

Log into the myHELPbalance portal to check your available HELP balance. You will need your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) to log in.

How will my course fees be charged?

Fees for courses eligible for VET Student Loans are charged by Units of Study (UoS). Each Unit of Study has a census day, set at no less than 20% into the Unit of Study. You will be sent a VET Student Loan Fee Notice to your personal email address 14 days before each census day, indicating your fees and census days. Your debt is incurred on the day after the census day. After a census day has passed, Sydney Actors School will send you a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) for that Unit of Study. The CAN will provide you with information about your debt, including the loan fee if applicable. If you believe your CAN is incorrect, you should contact your college immediately.

How do I apply for a VET Student Loan?

A VET Student Loan is an agreement between you and the Commonwealth Government. You apply for a loan through the Commonwealth’s Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF). If you have been accepted into your course, met all the loan eligibility and academic suitability requirements (including providing any required evidence), and wish to apply for a loan, we will advise the Commonwealth Government. They will send you an email with a passkey to access the eCAF system. You must complete the online application before the first census day of your course, otherwise you are not eligible for a loan for that Unit of Study and will need to pay. For more information visit the Commonwealth Government website. Your loan application is separate to your enrolment with Sydney Actors School. The Commonwealth Government requires that there is a two day cooling off period between when you first enrol with Sydney Actors School and when you apply for a VET Student Loan. When you complete the eCAF process your enrolment can then be finalised.

Are there further requirements to maintain eligibility for my loan?

Yes, please refer to the Commonwealth Government Student Obligations Factsheet to ensure you understand your responsibilities to maintain your loan. The Commonwealth will contact you two to three times per year (February, June or October) by email and ask you to complete a student survey to confirm that you are still studying and wish to continue to access a VET Student Loan. You must complete the survey to maintain your loan and confirm that you are a genuine student. Failure to comply with the request could result in the cancellation of your loan. In addition, if you are not progressing through your course, Sydney Actors School may also cancel your enrolment to ensure that you are not unnecessarily incurring a debt.

When do I repay my debt?

You repay your loan through the tax system when your income is above the minimum repayment threshold. Repayment thresholds are adjusted each year to reflect changes in average weekly earnings. The minimum repayment income threshold for 2020-2021 is $46,620.

Is there a limit to how much I can borrow?

From 1 January 2017, the Commonwealth Government has set a course loan cap for each course. The loan cap is the total amount the student can borrow for the course. Most students will not be affected by the course loan caps. If there is a gap between the course fee and the course loan cap, you will be advised when you enquire.

There is also a lifetime loan limit per student. This is the total amount you can incur in your lifetime under any Commonwealth HELP student loan scheme – whether it is Higher Education FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or a VET Student Loan. It is indexed each year, in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2021, the lifetime loan limit is $108,232 for most students.

Students can check their HELP balance and loan obligations by logging into myHELPbalance. You will need your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) to log in. Please note, your HELP balance is renewable. Any compulsory or voluntary repayments starting from the 2019- 20 income year will top up your HELP balance. These repayments will be applied to your HELP balance from 1 July 2020 onwards, after you have submitted your tax return to the ATO. Repayments can be re-borrowed in the future, up to the current HELP loan limit.

Will taking out a loan impact my credit rating?

A VET Student Loan is a personal debt obligation that can affect your credit rating. It may also have wage and tax repayment implications. You should seek independent financial advice before applying for a VET Student Loan.

Can I make an upfront payment?

If you have future fees, you can make upfront payments directly to Sydney Actors School. This will save you the 20% loan fee that is applied to any fee-for-service loans. If all your census days have passed, you can make payments direct to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

What are New Zealand Citizen Eligibility criteria?

New Zealand citizens who hold a Special Category Visa (SCV Subclass 444) and meet the residency criteria are eligible to apply for a loan. The residency requirements are:

• you first began living in Australia at least 10 years before applying for a loan, and at that time, were a child under 18 years of age and did not have a spouse or de-facto partner; and

• you have been in Australia for at least eight of the 10 years immediately prior to applying and at least 18 months of the last two years. You will need to provide evidence to Sydney Actors School of your eligibility before requesting a loan.

I’m receiving Centrelink benefits.

Does this affect the amount of VET Student Loan assistance I can access? Centrelink benefits do not affect your eligibility or the amount of VET Student Loan assistance you can access.

What if I want to withdraw from my study?

You must withdraw in writing. The loan amount you incur will depend on the timing of your withdrawal. There are no penalties if you withdraw on or before the census day. However, once a census day has passed, the loan amount for the unit of study is incurred. In some special circumstances, you may apply to have your debt reversed.

What happens to my debt if I move overseas?

From 1 July 2017, any HELP debtors (students who have received a Commonwealth Government student loan) who move overseas are required to make compulsory HELP repayments. This also applies to any existing HELP debts. The first step is to notify the ATO before you travel, or within 7 days of leaving Australia, if you intend to move overseas for 183 days (around 6 months) or more in any 12-month period. For more information on how to register with the ATO, visit the Study Assist website.

Privacy

All information collected for the uses of VET Student Loans is protected under statutory Australian privacy laws. For more information, please see Sydney Actors School privacy policy 5.5 in the Student Handbook found here.

For more information on VET Student Loans please visit: https://www.studyassist.gov.au/help-loans/fee-help