The VET Student Loan (VSL) program is an Australian Government assistance loan that helps eligible VET students, studying for a diploma qualification or higher, to pay their tuition fees.

VSL only applies to your course tuition fees. You are still required to pay your materials/ auxiliary fees and the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) upfront before the due date.

As part of your course application you will undertake a Pre-Training Review which will assist VU in identifying equivalent units of competency that you may have completed previously. VU will grant you a credit transfer for equivalent units you have previously completed.  You will not be charged fees for units where you have been granted a credit transfer.

Note that a VET student loan gives rise to a HELP debt that continues to be a debt due to the Commonwealth until it is repaid.


Summary of VSL application process

If you would like to defer your course tuition fees via a VSL application, these are the steps involved:

  1. You must meet all the eligibility criteria as outlined on this page 
  2. Complete a VET Student Loan (VSL) request form and provide all supporting documentation (as described on this page), to meet the academic suitability and citizenship/residency requirements.
  3. Submit the completed VET Student Loan request form and supporting documentation by email via ASKVU or in person at one of our VUHQ centres.
  4. If your application is successful, we will notify the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to send you an electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) invitation email. The eCAF invitation email will contain a 22 character alpha-numeric passkey needed for the next step of the process.
  5. After you receive your eCAF invitation email containing your passkey, you must login to the Government eCAF system and provide your tax file number (TFN) or Certificate of Application for a TFN by the relevant VET census date that applies to you.

Eligibility criteria & required documents

To obtain a VET student loan applicants must meet eligibility requirements. Applicants who do not meet these requirements will need to pay fees upfront for their course enrolment.

To be eligible to receive a VET Student Loan, you must:

  • be studying an approved course
  • meet the academic suitability requirements
  • meet the citizenship/residency requirements
  • provide a parent/guardian consent form if under the age of 18
  • have not exceeded the VETSL debt (VET Student Loan debt) limit
  • have not exceeded the course cap
  • meet the Tax File Number (TFN) requirements, noting that the information you provide us must exactly match the details held at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  • have a valid Unique Student Identifier (USI) or otherwise be exempt, noting that the information you provide us must exactly match the details recorded on the USI database
  • confirm your engagement and progression to continue to access the loan throughout your course.

Required supporting documents

The following documents are required to apply for a VET Student Loan:

  • VET Student Loan (VSL) request form
  • evidence of meeting the academic suitability requirements
  • evidence of meeting the citizenship/residency requirements.

You must complete the  VET Student Loan (VSL) request form and provide all supporting documentation to meet the academic suitability and citizenship/residency requirements so we can assess your eligibility.

The following documents are accepted as evidence of academic suitability:

  • Australian Year 12 Certificate (VCE/VCAL or interstate equivalent). This needs to be the official certificate issued by the relevant Education and Assessment authority of a State or Territory, not the Year 12 Certificate issued by your Secondary School.
  • Evidence of successful completion of  a Certificate IV or higher (where the language of instruction is English).
  • Competency assessed at Exit Level 3 or above in bksb an approved Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) assessment for both English and Maths mapped against the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF). A link to the bksb will be sent to you as part of the course application process. Please ensure you set aside time to complete this assessment honestly as this will assist us in ensuring you are admitted into a suitable course.  The outcome of this assessment will be available to you immediately upon completion of the online assessment in bksb and may be provided to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. 

The VET Student Loans program is only available to Australian citizens, qualifying New Zealand citizens, or permanent humanitarian visa holders who are residing in Australia. To meet the citizenship and residency requirements you need to provide evidence that you meet one of the following categories:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a qualifying New Zealand citizen, or hold a special visa category such as the New Zealand Special Category Visa, and meet the long-term residency requirements
  • a permanent humanitarian visa holder.

The following documents are accepted as evidence of citizenship/residency requirements, depending on your citizenship status.

Australian Citizen

  • Current Australian passport (expired passports are not accepted)
  • Australian full birth certificate*
  • Australian citizenship certificate.

*Please note that if you were born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986 and both your parents are listed on your birth certificate as been born overseas then you will be required to provide one of the following additional documents to prove your citizenship:

  • one of your parents Australian Citizenship Certificates (granted prior to your date of birth)
  • your own Australian Citizenship Certificate; this includes if you are listed as a dependent child on one of your parents Australian Citizenship Certificates (if both your parents were permanent residents at the time of your birth).

For more information on how to prove your citizenship and other documentation that can be accepted to confirm your Australian citizenship, please refer to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

New Zealand citizen

If you're an eligible NZ citizen with an NZ Special Category Visa you'll need to provide evidence that you have been living in Australia and you meet all the following long-term residency requirements:

  • first began to be usually resident in Australia at least 10 years ago
  • were a child under the age of 18 with no spouse or de facto partner when you first began to be usually resident in Australia
  • have been in Australia for at least a total of eight out of the past 10 years (from when you apply for the loan), and a total of 18 months out of the last two years (from when you apply for the loan).

Victoria University accepts an international movement record as prove that you meet the above criteria. You can apply for a movement record via the Department of Home Affairs. Processing time can vary and we encourage you to apply for a movement record 3-4 weeks before commencing your course.

Once you receive your movement record you need to submit this document along with your VSL application via AskVU.

See 'How to apply & submit VSL application'.

Permanent humanitarian visa holder

If you are under 18 years of age, a parent/guardian must complete and sign a VET student loans (VSL) parental consent form.

This form must be provided to us in addition to the VET Student Loan (VSL) request form and your supporting documentation to meet the academic suitability and citizenship/residency requirements.

Please note: this is not required if you have been assessed by Centrelink as meeting the requirements of receiving the independent Youth Allowance. In this case, you need to provide your Centrelink Income Statement.

You can submit the  VET Student Loan (VSL) request form and supporting documentation in person at one of our VUHQ centres or by email:

  1. got to ASKVU
  2. click the ‘Email us’ icon
  3. log in using your student ID and password, if asked
  4. in the subject header type 'VET Student Loan Application'
  5. from the 'Topic' drop-down list,  select 'Fees' followed by 'VET Student Loan (VSL) - Applications'
  6. attach the VSL Application form and supporting documentation via the 'Attach documents' function.

Screenshot: Subject field VET Student Loan Application; Topic: Select a Topic with dropdown options showing Fees;nd 'OK "Cancel' buttons, Choose File field

Check your eligibility for a VET Student Loan

Use the VSL Eligibility Tool to check your eligibility for a VET Student Loan (the tool should be used as a guide only).

Loan caps

The government has set a maximum loan amount for each approved course of study. The loan may not be sufficient to cover the tuition fees for a course. We will send you a VET Student Loan Notice with the course tuition fees covered by the loan and any gap fees you need to pay.

If you are enrolled in a course whereby course tuition fees will exceed the course cap, you will be required to make upfront contributions throughout your study with us to cover the amount that will go over the VSL course cap.

Loans caps & changing TAFE provider

If you have changed your course provider (TAFE) but not your course and wish to continue to access VSL for the same course, you will need to complete another eCAF with us to apply for the remainder of the loan.

Example: If the course cap was originally $10,150 and have you already accessed $5000 at another provider for the same course, you will only be eligible for the remainder $5150.

You may be required to provide us with additional information on how much you have accessed with your previous provider. If you do not correctly declare this information, you will be made liable for any tuition fees not covered by the overall VSL course cap.

Tax File Number (TFN) requirements

If you decide to defer your fees via a VET Student Loan (VETSL debt), you will need to apply for a TFN in advance. Your TFN must be valid and your personal details with Victoria University must match those held by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Victoria University is not notified about your invalid TFN until several weeks after you submit your Commonwealth Assistance Form. You will receive an email notification once we're advised that your TFN can’t be validated - urgent action is required at this point if you want to keep your VETSL debt.

For your TFN to validate, the following personal 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 to identify why there is a mismatch of information and change your details with either the ATO or VU by the relevant census date.

If your personal details with the ATO are incorrect you will need to update them in one of these ways:

If your personal details at VU are incorrect you will need to update them by filling out a Personal Details Amendment form (A11).

Once your details have been corrected and you have let us know we can then validate your TFN with the ATO.

Unique Student Identifier (USI) Requirements

A USI is your individual education number. You keep this number for life and will use it for all of your higher education or training, at any university, TAFE or other nationally registered training organisation in Australia.

Your USI identifies you as a student who has undertaken vocational education and training (VET) and/or higher education studies. It also creates an online record of your Australian training achievements in the form of a USI Transcript. It is also used to connect your student loan information to your personal details.

You can log in and check or update your details at any time. For more information, view the USI government website.

Applying for a USI is fast and free, and you keep the same USI for life.

If you have studied a VET course in the last five years, you will have an existing USI. Find your USI online (don't apply for a new one).

Make sure that the details you provide to VU (such as your full name and date of birth) match the details you use to create your USI. Please use your legal name as it appears on your passport or other official identification.

If you are an international student, you cannot apply for a USI while you are overseas, but can apply once you have arrived in Australia. Enrolment without a USI is enabled on MYVU for international students.

You need one form of identification to create a USI.

Acceptable forms of identification:

  • 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.

View the USI verification and error management guide if you are experiencing any issues submitting the USI to VU.

Engagement & progression in your course

To continue accessing your VSL, you'll have to confirm your continued engagement and progression in your course by completing a  progression form. Depending on the duration of your course, you may be requested to do this more than once throughout your course.

Victoria University will send you an email to notify you that the Government will be sending you a 'progressing with your VET Student Loan’ invitation email. You'll then have 14 days to complete it.

Keep track of your debt

You can keep track of your debt by verifying the Commonwealth Assistance Notice that we provide you. Or you can access this information on these government websites.


myHELPbalance will help you keep track of how much you have borrowed under the various HELP loans from 2005 onwards.

Please note, there is a time lag between the census day and when your information on myHELPbalance is updated.


myGov allows you to get more information about your VETSL debt (VET Student Loan debt) online.

It will show:

  • all of your current VETSL debt
  • any indexation (increase) that has been applied to your debt
  • any repayments that you have made, so you can see how much you have left owing.