New VET Student Loans scheme

As of 1 January 2017, the Australian Government stopped offering VET FEE-HELP (VFH) and introduced the new VET Student Loans scheme.

If you currently have a VET FEE-HELP loan and you are continuing your program in 2017, the government will have contacted you in late 2016 to give you the option to continue to access VFH until 31 December 2017, or to apply for the new VET Student Loans program.

If you are commencing a new program after 1 January 2017 you need to apply for the new VET Student Loans program.

How to opt in for VET FEE-HELP for 2017

If you’ve been contacted by the government asking if you want to opt in to continue VET FEE-HELP (VFH) in your current program in 2017, you need to do so before your first census date.

You can only opt in for VET FEE-HELP for your current program. If you are moving from one program to another, or one program level to another, you will need to apply for the new VET Student Loans scheme (see above).

Providing evidence to RMIT

Once you have opted to continue with VET FEE-HELP for 2017, the government will send you an email with a copy of your VET FEE-HELP opt in letter. To ensure you continue to receive VET FEE-HELP in 2017, you need to provide this letter as evidence of your eligibility to RMIT by forwarding the email and attached letter to before your first census date.

What VET FEE-HELP covers

The maximum amount you can borrow is fixed by the Australian Government and includes all FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP loans you have taken out in your lifetime. The limit cannot be increased even if you have repaid your previous loans. If your tuition fee exceeds your FEE-HELP balance you can only get a loan equal to your balance and will need to pay the rest upfront. You can check your FEE-HELP balance with myUni Assist.

Loan payment and repayment

If your loan application is successful the Australian Government will pay RMIT, on your behalf, up to 100% of your tuition fees. This amount will become part of your accumulated HELP debt.

You only start repaying your accumulated HELP debt to the Australian Government, even if you are still studying, once you earn above the minimum income threshold for repayment which is set each year by the Australian Government. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will calculate your compulsory repayment for the year and include this on your income tax notice.

In addition to the compulsory repayments, you can make voluntary repayments to the ATO at any time. For more information go to the ATO voluntary repayments webpage.

The Australian Government’s Study Assist website has more information about paying back your HELP loan.

Costs and charges

  • If you are a Victorian Government subsidised student there is no fee for taking out a VET FEE-HELP loan.
  • If you are a full-fee student a loan fee of 20% will be added to your VET FEE-HELP loan.
  • No interest applies to VET FEE-HELP loans but your HELP debt will be indexed annually by the ATO to maintain its real value in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

After you opt in for 2017

Approval and notification process

If your VET FEE-HELP opt in application is approved, RMIT will send an email to your RMIT student email account that advises you to view your HELP approval letter in Enrolment Online.

Your tax invoice and making payments

You will still receive a tax invoice each semester outlining your tuition fees and charges. If you choose to make upfront payments, they will be deducted from the amount that the government lends you through the loan scheme. There is no discount available on these upfront payments.

If you wish to defer all or part of your tuition fees, you are not required to make a payment for that amount. The amount that you wish to defer will be deferred after the semester census date. However, you are still required to pay all other fees and charges by the original due date listed on your invoice e.g. material or administration fees.

Enrolments in certificate I–IV are not eligible for VET FEE-HELP. These enrolment charges must be paid upfront to the university by the invoice due date.

Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN)

Your Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) is an official statement from RMIT outlining the HELP loan or student contribution payment option you have chosen and any HELP assistance you have received.

Removal of debt due to special circumstances

If, because of special circumstances, you need to withdraw from your program/course after the census date then you can apply to have your HELP debt remitted.

For more information, including a definition of special circumstances and by when your application must be submitted, please download the Application for remission (removal) of debt in special circumstances form.

Need help?

If you have a query about VET FEE-HELP, contact RMIT Connect