Skip to main content
Menu Menu

VET Student Loans (VSL)

North Metropolitan TAFE students who meet the eligibility requirements and are enrolled in eligible Diploma or Advanced Diploma courses (192 KB) (PDF document) can apply for a VET Student Loan to assist with paying for study.

When you take out a VET Student Loan, the Commonwealth Government pays the amount of your loan directly to North Metropolitan TAFE, and you repay your loan through the Australian taxation system once you start earning over the compulsory repayment threshold(opens in a new tab) .

The rate at which you repay the loan is based on your income; as you earn more you will repay a higher percentage of your taxable income towards your loan.

There is no application or loan fee for VET Student Loan government-subsidised courses, however, there is a loan fee of 20% for commercial course VET Student Loan debts (VETSL debt). The accumulated debt is indexed according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Indexation of your VETSL debt occurs annually in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

A VETSL debt continues to be due to the Commonwealth until it is repaid and it may reduce your after-tax wage or salary. It may also reduce your borrowing capacity until it is repaid. You may wish to seek independent financial advice before applying for a loan.

VET Student Loans will not be approved for students who do not meet the Commonwealth eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for a VET Student Loan you must:

  • Be enrolled in a VET Student Loan eligible course at North Metropolitan TAFE (192 KB) (PDF document)*
  • Meet the Citizenship / Residency Requirements:
  • Meet the Academic Suitability Requirements:
    • Completed your Year 12 Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in Australia, or 
    • Completed a Certificate IV or higher qualification in an Australian Qualification Framework or an equivalent qualification delivered in English, or
    • Completed an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) diploma, or
    • Achieved an Exit Level 3 score or higher in the Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) assessment. BKSB® (Basic Key Skills Builder) literacy and numeracy tests are available at North Metropolitan TAFE. (See the Literacy and Numeracy Requirement – BKSB Testing tab below.)
  • Have a Unique Student Identifier (USI)
  • Have a Tax File Number (TFN)
    • If you do not yet have a TFN, you can apply via the Australian Taxation Office(opens in a new tab) website. You can still apply for a VET Student Loan if you provide a copy of your Certificate of Application for a TFN along with your ID check receipt from the Australian Taxation Office or the Post Office. You must provide your TFN to North Metropolitan TAFE prior to your first census date to be eligible for a loan.
  • Have not exceeded your HELP loan limit(opens in a new tab) or the VET Student Loan course cap (192 KB) (PDF document) for your course of study.
  • Read and understand the VET Student Loans booklet available on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment's VET Student Loans(opens in a new tab)  website. 
  • If you are under 18 years of age, your parent or guardian must sign the Parental Consent Form(opens in a new tab) or you must provide a Centrelink income statement showing that you receive Youth Allowance at the independent rate.
  • Submit your electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) after your two day cooling-off period and before the administrative date.
  • Regularly confirm your engagement and progression in the course to continue accessing your VET Student Loan throughout the duration of your studies.

 * VET Student Loans eligible courses and caps may be subject to changes implemented by the Australian Government in 2020.


If you wish to apply for a VET Student Loan but do not have evidence to meet the Academic Suitability requirement, you can book a BKSB® (Basic Key Skills Builder) literacy and numeracy test at North Metropolitan TAFE.

BKSB® is a Commonwealth approved online assessment tool that provides an overview of your learning strengths and determines your English and mathematics levels. You need to achieve Exit Level 3 scores in both English and Maths to be eligible for a VET Student Loan.

Test conditions

The BKSB assessment is conducted on-campus in the library at our Perth or Joondalup Kendrew campuses. The assessment is supervised under test conditions and is conducted with honesty and integrity, in line with Commonwealth VET Student Loans Rules. You will need to bring a form of photo ID with you. 

Calculators are permitted for the mathematics section, however, mobile phones or any other support material are not allowed. You are allocated 2-hours to take the BKSB® test, however, you can have more time if you need it. 

Test results

If you achieve Exit Level 3 scores in both the English and Maths you meet the academic suitability requirement. If you have not yet applied for a VET Student Loan you should now do so.

If you have already submitted a VET Student Loan Application, we will check your results and proceed with your application, or contact you to discuss your results if you have not met the requirements.

If you have not met the required Exit Level 3 score for each component, you may re-sit the test after 48 hours. However you will only be allowed one re-sit in a 3 month period, so please ensure you take time to prepare before re-booking the test.

The results will be kept by the college for five years and made available to the Commonwealth if requested.

Book the BKSB test

If you have a diagnosed disability and need support to sit the BKSB® test, before booking your test please contact the Disability Support office to discuss your support needs. You will need to provide medical documentation outlining your diagnosis and the impact this may have on your ability to access and participate in the test.


Please note These BKSB sessions are strictly for the purposes of applying for a VET Student Loan.

Some courses require a BKSB test as an entry requirement, which is organised by TAFE Admissions. Applicants for the Diploma of Nursing or the Diploma of Anaesthetic Technology should not use this page for BKSB test booking. Please contact TAFE Admissions regarding your test.

Applying for your VET Student Loan

Preparing to apply 

Before applying, ensure you have accepted your offer to study with North Metropolitan TAFE and have received an Enrolment Quote for your course fees.

You will need to gather the necessary documents to meet the citizenship requirement, academic suitability requirement as well as your Tax File Number. Under 18 students also require a Parental Consent Form.

You may apply for a VET Student Loan at any time throughout your study, however for the loan to apply to all the units in your course, you must submit your application before the administrative date.

It is your responsibility to provide the correct evidence to meet the VET Student Loan eligibility criteria. If you provide insufficient evidence, this will delay processing of your application which in turn may result in some or all fees being ineligible for a loan if the administrative date or census dates pass.

Please refer to the Eligibility Requirements before applying, and contact us if you are unsure if you meet the criteria.

Apply for a VET Student Loan

When submitting the VET Student Loans Application (Step 2) students will need to provide the following documents.

Australian citizens

  • Current Australian passport (preferred), or 
  • Australian Citizenship Certificate, or 
  • Full Australian Birth Certificate *

* If you were born on or after 20 August 1986, and both parents were born outside Australia, you must also provide proof that one or both parents were Australian Citizens at the time of your birth.

If you do not have any of the above forms of evidence, you will need to apply for evidence of Australian citizenship by lodging a Form 119(opens in a new tab) with the Department of Home Affairs.

Permanent Humanitarian Visa holders

  • Current passport with humanitarian visa details

New Zealand Special Category Visa 444

Pacific Engagement visa holder who normally resides in Australia

  • Proof of your Pacific Engagement visa holder type and expiry date, which can be obtained by the Department of Home Affairs. Home Affairs' Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) allows visa holders, education providers and other organisations to check visa details and conditions, including information of the visa type and expiry date.

Academic suitability documents

  • Australian Year 12 Senior Secondary Certificate of Education issued from a State governing body (e.g. WACE in WA) , or 
  • A Certificate IV or higher in an Australian Qualification Framework (or equivalent course delivered in English) , or 
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) diploma, or 
  • Exit Level 3 or higher results achieved in an approved literacy and numeracy test*

*If you need to book a BKSB literacy and numeracy test, see the Literacy and Numeracy Requirement – BKSB Test tab above.

Under 18 students

  • A completed and signed parental consent form, or 
  • A Centrelink income statement showing that you receive Youth Allowance at the independent rate.

Complete the online application form using the link below. You will need to upload your eligibility evidence in the form.

The information you provide in your application will be used to issue your electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form.

Your eCAF will be sent to your personal email address. The email will provide you with an access code and link to your eCAF. You will need to check the information is correct. If you notice any discrepancies, please contact us.

You must then complete and submit the eCAF after the required two day cooling off period, and prior to the administrative date for your VET Student Loan to be approved.
If you fail to submit your eCAF on time, your enrolment may be cancelled. To re-instate the enrolment you will need to pay in full or by payment plan for any units that have passed the administrative date.

Further information

Administrative date

The administrative date is 15 days prior to the first census date for your course, and is the date by which VET Student Loan applications must be submitted to allow time for processing, and to ensure North Metropolitan TAFE can issue the required fee notices to you on time. 

You can still apply for a VET Student Loan after the administrative date, however any units within 15 days of the census date will need to be paid for directly to the college and cannot be added to your loan.

Census dates

A census date is the day that students incur a debt for the fees of enrolled units.

Students with a VET Student Loan have a minimum of three different census dates over the duration of their course. All units have census dates, which are set at 20% of the duration of the unit, or later. Generally, the earliest census date in a semester-long enrolment is typically the Friday of Week 4 of semester.

VET Student loan applications must be finalised prior to the first census date. This includes providing all supporting documents, submitting your eCAF and allowing North Metropolitan TAFE the opportunity to issue all relevant documentation to the student. 

Enrolled students can refer to their Enrolment Confirmation or the Student Portal to view the census dates for their enrolled units.


If you have a VET Student Loan and you withdraw formally from units on or before the census date, you will not incur a debt for those units. 

If you withdraw after the census date has passed, you will be liable for the full debt for that unit. Any other outstanding fees not covered by a loan will also remain payable.

To formally withdraw you must submit the withdrawal form online or in person at Student Services.

Special circumstances 

A student’s FEE HELP Balance can be re-credited under Division 2 and 3 of Part 6 of the VET Student Loan Act.

Under section 68 of the VET Student Loans Act, students who withdraw after the census date, may apply for a re-credit of their VETSL debt balance under special circumstances, which may be:

  • A serious illness resulting in extended absences from classes
  • Injury or disability that prevented the student from completing their program
  • Other exceptional circumstances.

Please note  Pre-existing illnesses may exclude the student from being considered for a full refund. 

North Metropolitan TAFE will re-credit the VET Student Loan balance if it is satisfied that the special circumstances that applied to the student were: 

  1. Beyond the student’s control;
  2. Did not make their full impact on the student until on or after, the census date; and 
  3. Made it impracticable for the student to complete the requirements for the unit during the period which the student undertook, or was to undertake, the unit. 

Applications must be supported by independent supporting documentation, and must be made within 12 months after the census date for the course or the relevant part of the course.

Please contact outlining your circumstances and we will contact you regarding the process.

Re-crediting of FEE HELP Balance

A student may also apply to the Secretary for their FEE-HELP balance to be re-credited under section 71 of the Act because: 

  • The College, or a person acting on behalf of the College, engaged in unacceptable conduct in relation to the student’s application for the VSL, or, 
  • The College has failed to comply with the Act or an instrument under the Act and the failure has adversely affected the student.

Applications for re-crediting under section 71 of the Act must be made within five years after the census day of the course, or part of the course concerned, or within that period as extended by the Secretary. If a student’s application for a re-credit after the census date has passed is unsuccessful, the student is entitled to have that decision reviewed. 

Reconsideration or Review of Decisions: 

  • The request to review a decision must be made in writing within 28 days of receipt of the original decision, or a longer period as allowed by the Review Officer. 
  • There is no charge for reconsideration or review of decisions, other than review by Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). 

Please note The AAT only has jurisdiction to hear appeals in relation to recredits and not refunds. Application to the AAT must be made within 28 days of a decision for a review of the decision. Further information regarding the appeal process including application fees can be found at:

Contact AAT at: 
Administrative Appeals Tribunal 
Level 5 111 St Georges Terrace 
Perth WA 6000  

T  1800 228 333

The Secretary may recredit a student’s FEE-HELP balance in relation to special circumstances if the College:  

  • Is unable to act or has been dissolved.  
  • Has failed to act and the Secretary is satisfied that the failure is unreasonable .

The Secretary or the Secretary’s delegate, will be the respondent for cases that are brought before the AAT.

Once the documents are received, the Secretary may choose to review the original decision. However, until a person withdraws their AAT appeal, or the appeal is dismissed or otherwise dealt with by the AAT, the Secretary is still required to comply with the requirement to lodge the statement, and relevant documents with the AAT. The department will deal with cases from that point and advise the provider of the outcome.

As per VET Student Loan legislation, North Metropolitan TAFE is required to issue different notices at various points to students with a VET Student Loan, including Fee Notices and Commonwealth Assistance Notices. It is normal to receive more than one Fee Notice and CAN each semester if you have more than one census date for that period.

When you first enrol we will provide you with a Statement of Covered Fees which includes the estimated cost for your course, how much is covered by the loan and if you will need to make any upfront payments.

At least 14 days before each census date, North Metropolitan TAFE will provide you with a VET Student Loan Fee Notice. This will include your units for that census date, the fees, any upfront payments that you have made towards those units and the amount to be deferred to your loan. The VETSL debt is the debt that will be added to your loan after the census date passes.

You will receive a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) no later than 28 days after the census date to confirm the amount of loan debt you have incurred. This amount is reported to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Whenever you receive a Notice, you are required to check the information is correct and notify us if you notice any discrepancies. 

  • If you believe a Fee Notice is incorrect, you need to contact us prior to the census date.
  • If you believe a CAN is incorrect, you must contact us within 14 days of the CAN issue date.

In such cases, you need to notify us in writing, specifying which details you believe to be incorrect; and why you believe they are incorrect. Queries must be sent to 

Continuing students

Students with an existing VET Student Loan continuing into the next stage of their current course can add the fees for new units to their loan.

This will not happen automatically, you will need to let us know that you want to add your fees to your VET Student Loan by completing the form


Students with a VET Student Loan are required to submit a VET Student Loan Progression form through the government’s eCAF system approximately every four months. Most progressions will be sent in February, June and October. 

During each VET Student Loan Progression period:

  • An email will be sent to your personal email account with a link to the VET Student Loan Progression form.
  • You have two weeks to complete the form after you receive the email notification.

If you do not complete the VET Student Loan Progression form, you may be unable to continue accessing the VET Student Loan to pay your fees.

How much can I borrow for the loan?

Each course has a loan cap indicating the maximum amount that can be borrowed towards that course. You can check the cap for your course on each course page.

There is no loan fee for subsidised VET qualifications at North Metropolitan TAFE but a 20% loan fee applies to non-subsidised VET courses.

Each student also has a HELP loan limit(opens in a new tab) which is the total amount that can be borrowed from the Australian government across multiple loan schemes. Once a student has borrowed an amount equal to their HELP loan limit (as indexed at that time), they will not be able to put any additional fees on a loan.

How do I know how much I owe?

North Metropolitan TAFE will send you a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN), no later than 28 days after each census date, for each study period you are using the loan. This will show each additional amount being added to your loan.

You can check the total amount you have borrowed and your loan balance online if you have linked the Australian Taxation Office to your myGov account. Alternatively, students can contact the ATO directly on 13 28 61.

Do I have to pay interest on my loan?

There is no interest charged on VETSL debts, however your debt is indexed each year. It increases annually on 1 June to maintain its real value, adjusting in line with changes in the cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Debts are not indexed until they are 11 months old. You can find current and past indexation rates on the Australian Taxation Office(opens in a new tab) website.

When do I have to start repaying my loan?

You must start repaying your VETSL debt through the tax system once your income is above the  compulsory repayment threshold(opens in a new tab) , even if you are still studying. The repayment threshold can change each financial year.

Repayments made through the Australian taxation system are called ‘compulsory repayments’ and continue until you have repaid your whole debt. The amount you must repay each financial year is calculated based on your income tax return.

You will be required to repay the debt regardless of where they live, whether in Australia or overseas. For more information on repaying your loan, visit the Study Assist(opens in a new tab) website.

Can I start repaying my loan early?

After the census dates have passed, your fees are deferred to the Australian Taxation Office. You can make voluntary repayments at any time, but these will be in addition to any compulsory payments if you are earning above the minimum repayment threshold. See the ATO website for information on how to make voluntary repayments(opens in a new tab) .

Why have I received an invoice for my fees? 

We are required to issue a VET Student Loans Fee Notice to your nominated personal email 14 days before each census date for your course.

The fee notice details the cost of the units that will be incurred on your VET Student Loan once the census date passes.

After each census date passes, we issue a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) confirming that the fees have now been deferred and reported to the ATO.

If you believe anything is incorrect on either of these documents, you need to notify us in writing as soon as possible to  

Otherwise, no action needs to be taken. These documents are for your record.

How often will I receive these notices?

VET Student Loans legislation requires that students have a minimum of three census dates across the duration of a course. Many courses will have more census dates than this. Refer to your Enrolment Confirmation or the Student Portal to see your future census dates.

What is a CHESSN?

A Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) is allocated to all students when they first access a Commonwealth loan. Any Commonwealth student loan you take out is recorded against your CHESSN, and it is used to keep track of the total amount borrowed.

Can I withdraw from my course without incurring a debt?

If you officially withdraw from a unit or subject on or before the census date, you will not incur a debt for that part of your course, and any upfront payment made will be fully refundable.

If you fail part of a course (unit or subject), or withdraw from part of a course after the census date, you will still have to pay the fees for that unit. If you used a VET Student Loan, you will incur a VETSL debt. If you made an upfront payment, you are not eligible for a refund of that payment.

If you failed the unit or subject or withdrew after the census date because of special circumstances, you can apply to have your VETSL debt removed, or upfront payments refunded.

Contact if you believe special circumstances apply.

What is a Progression? Why do I have to complete it?

Part of your obligations in taking out a VET Student Loan is to complete regular progressions at approximately four month intervals throughout your course. After completing your course, you may need to complete a final progression indicating to the Commonwealth government that you have completed the course.

You complete progression forms through the eCAF system. An invitation will be sent to your current email address.

The progression form indicates to the federal government that you are still engaged in your studies and still require access to your VET Student Loan. If you fail to submit it, you may be ineligible to continue accessing your VET Student Loan to pay for the remainder of your course fees.
North Metropolitan TAFE reserves the right to cancel enrolment or refuse future enrolment to students who fail to submit their VET Student Loan progressions.


If you need more assistance understanding VET Student Loans or have a question, you can contact Student Services at your campus.

T  9427 1037


Please note Students with a disability who require assistance with the VET Student Loan application process should contact our Accessibility and Learning Support team to arrange an appointment.
T  9427 1314