The electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) is an online form used by domestic students to apply for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and/or Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan.

You must submit an eCAF for a CSP course to show how you will pay your student contribution – whether you pay up-front or defer your tuition fees with a loan.

When you enrol in your course, we will ask how you want to pay for your tuition fees. This is where you notify us you want to use a HELP loan. After that, you will get an invitation to submit your eCAF. 

The eCAF must be completed before your first enrolled census date.

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is a course place for eligible domestic students, where the fees you pay have been subsidised by the government.

To find out if your course has CSP available, check the website course page. We also offer guidance on CSP eligibility.

Types of eCAF

Types of eCAF include:

  • CSP/HECS-HELP eCAF – for eligible domestic students applying for CSP courses and a HEC-HELP loan; if you are not eligible for a loan you still need to complete the eCAF to accept your CSP and acknowledge upfront payment requirements
  • FEE-HELP eCAF –  for eligible domestic students applying for full-fee course loan
  • SA-HELP eCAF – for students applying for a loan to pay all or part of the student services and amenities fee (SSAF)
  • VET Student Loan (VSL) eCAF – for VET (TAFE) students applying for a loan for a course at diploma level or above.

A separate form needs to be submitted for each application.

If you don't submit the eCAF prior to the census date you will need to make upfront payments for that study period.

How to complete your eCAF

During enrolment

Enrolment is completed online in the MyVU platform, which can be accesed via the Accept Now or Enrol Now link in your offer email.

During enrolment, based on your citizenship status and the course you have accepted, the relevant HELP loan form will be shown. These may include Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs), HECS-HELP, SA-HELP, or FEE-HELP.

It is important that you complete all parts of the form to accept your CSP and to defer your fees via a HELP loan, or pay upfront. 

See the MyVU enrolment guide for more information.

After enrolment

After you have submitted the request for CSP and/or HELP loan, you will receive an email from the government within 48 hours with a link and a passkey to the eCAF system. You can then complete the application for CSP and/or HELP loan.

You will receive a separate passkey for each eCAF type. For example, if your are eligible for both HECS-HELP and SA-HELP, you will receive a separate passkey for each. The passkey is unique to each eCAF.

When completing the form, it helps to copy and paste the exact 22-character passkey from your invite email into the form field and to check no extra spaces are added.

Your eCAF invitation and passkey expires 12 weeks after it is issued, so it's important to complete your eCAF as soon as possible after completing your enrolment.

Steps to complete your eCAF

Follow the below steps to complete your eCAF.

Step 1: Check your email to find your invitation & passkey

You will receive an invitation email from the Department of Education containing a passkey, link and steps to complete your electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF).

If you are unable to locate your email, you can:

  • search your VU and personal email address inbox/s for sender [email protected]
  • check your Junk/Spam folder
  • request a new eCAF invitation email via ASKVU

Step 2: Login into the Government eCAF portal

You will need to use the unique passkey and your date of birth to log into the government eCAF portal.

Step 3: Complete your eCAF via the Government eCAF portal

As eCAFs are legal documents the information you provide in your eCAF must match the details held by Victoria University. You can verify your personal details through MyVU.

You will need your:

  • Unique Student Identifier (USI)
  • Tax File Number (TFN).

(Read more about TFN and USI below.)

Make sure you read through all of the information carefully, answering any applicable questions and confirming the pre-populated information is correct.

Once you have completed the form you can finalise your eCAF request by selecting Submit.

Step 4: Get your confirmation email

After you've submitted, you will receive an email confirming your personal details, course and fee-payment information.

If you can't see the confirmation email, check your junk mail or spam folder.

You will need to obtain and provide a Unique Student Identifier (USI) to complete your eCAF request.

The 10-digit USI is used to keep a record of your study in Australia and connect your student loan information to your personal details. 

If you are unsure whether you currently have a USI or want to register for one, you can visit the Government USI website.
The online process is simple, you will need one form of identification to create a USI. Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • Australian passport
  • non-Australian passport (with Australian visa)
  • Australian birth certificate
  • Australian driver’s licence
  • Medicare card
  • certificate of registration by descent
  • Centrelink concession card
  • citizenship certificate
  • ImmiCard.

If you decide to defer your fees via a HELP loan, you will need a valid Tax File Number (TFN) or Certificate of Application for a TFN.

Your personal details with Victoria University must match those held by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

If you do not currently have a TFN, you can still complete your eCAF but will need to apply for a TFN straight away.

You will need to provide your Certificate of Application for a TFN before census date to be eligible to defer your fees via a HELP loan. It can take up to 28 days for a TFN to be issued by the ATO.

For your TFN to validate, the following details on your VU student record must match the details recorded at the ATO:

  • Tax File Number
  • given name(s)
  • middle name(s)
  • family name
  • date of birth.

If any of these details do not match, your TFN cannot be validated. You will need identify why there is a mismatch and update your details with either the ATO or VU by the relevant census date.

More information

eCAF confirms your CSP place

The eCAF confirms to the Australian Government that you would like to take up a government subsidy in the form of a Commonwealth Supported Place. This is where the Australian Government pays part of your fees. This part is a subsidy, not a loan, and you don't have to pay it back. The subsidy does not cover the entire cost of your study. The remaining portion is called the Student Contribution Amount, the payment of which you are liable.

You need to complete a Request for Commonwealth Supported Place and HECS-HELP loan eCAF if you are a new student enrolling into a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP), regardless of whether you will be paying your student contribution upfront or via a HECS-HELP loan.

By completing your eCAF you are accepting the Commonwealth Supported Place and acknowledging your financial liability for your Student Contribution. You may choose to pay your Student Contribution upfront or apply for a HECS-HELP loan.

Submitting a new eCAF

You would need to complete a new eCAF if you are:

  • enrolling into a new course
  • enrolling into a new version of the course with a different course code, because your course has been superseded
  • changing a deferral option to 'upfront' or vice versa.