Student loans

As a student at South Metropolitan TAFE, you may be eligible for a Commonwealth Government loan to assist with paying your studies.

VET Student Loans are available to eligible students enrolled in specific diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate or graduate diploma courses. FEE-HELP loans assist eligible fee-for-service students enrolled in higher education diploma or associate degree courses.

Student Loans are income contingent loan schemes - VET Student Loans are for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector while FEE-HELP is a scheme in the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP).

The Australian Government pays the amount of the loan direct to South Metropolitan TAFE, and you repay your loan through the Australian taxation system once you earn a wage equal to or higher than the repayment threshold. For 2016-2017, the income threshold is a gross annual income of $54,869.

Eligibility requirements and further details about these schemes can be found below.

 

VET Student Loans

News regarding VET FEE-HELP

On 5 October 2016, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training, announced the commencement of VET Student Loans from 1 January 2017. The Minister also announced that the current VET FEE-HELP scheme will cease on 31 December 2016. These changes were passed through parliament as part of the VET Student Loans Bill 2016 on 1 December 2016.

For more information please visit the Commonwealth, Department of Education website www.education.gov.au/vet-student-loans.

Alternatively, email student.loans@smtafe.wa.edu.au if you have a specific enquiry relating to your current student loan with South Metropolitan TAFE.

 

About VET Student Loans

Enrol in one of South Metropolitan TAFE’s approved VET Student Loan courses and you may be eligible to apply for an Australian Government student loan to assist you with all or part of the cost of your course fees. To qualify, you must meet all the eligibility requirements listed below.

There is no application or loan fee for VET Student Loan government subsidised courses, however there is a loan fee of 20% for fee-for-service or commercial VET Student Loan debts. The accumulated debt is indexed according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Indexation of your VET Student Loan debt occurs annually in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003. Indexation rates are published on the ATO website, visit: www.ato.gov.au/getloaninfo. 

Eligibility Requirements

You must meet the following criteria to apply for a VET Student Loan:

  • Be an Australian Citizen, a Permanent Humanitarian Visa holder or a New Zealand Citizen Special Category Visa holder*;
  • Have not exceeded your FEE-HELP limit;
  • Be enrolled with South Metropolitan TAFE in an eligible unit of study at least 16 days prior to the census date for the first unit of your study and at least 14 days prior to the census date for subsequent units;
  • Provide evidence that you have completed an Australian Year 12 Senior Education Certificate or achieved a Certificate IV or higher in an Australian Qualification Framework and this course was delivered in English or sit an approved Numeracy and Literacy assessment;
  • Have an Australian Tax File Number; and
  • Have a Unique Student ID
  • Students that are under 18 years of age will require a parent or guardian to sign the Commonwealth’s request for a VET Student Loan – Parental Consent form. N.B: Legal guardianship must be provided at time of loan lodgement.

For more information please visit the Commonwealth website.

*For New Zealand Citizen eligibility requirements please visit Study Assist​.

Eligible Courses

Course eligibility is set by the Federal Government and limited to courses that have a high national priority, meet industry needs, contribute to addressing skills shortages and align with strong employment outcomes. Download our list below to view VET Student Loans eligible courses, fees and census dates in 2017.

Application Process

How to apply

1. Confirm your enrolment

You will need to present the following when you enrol at any main South Metropolitan TAFE campus:

  • Details of your course offer.
  • Evidence of your Australian Citizenship, Permanent Humanitarian Visa or New Zealand Citizen Special Category Visa.
  • An Australian Tax File Number.
  • Your Australian Year 12 Senior Education Certificate or achieved a Certificate IV or higher in an Australian Qualification Framework and this course was delivered in English (you will be required to sit a literacy and numeracy assessment at South Metropolitan TAFE if you do not have either of these).
  • A valid and active email address.
  • A Unique Student ID.
  • If you are under 18 years of age your parent or guardian will need to attend to co-sign your application*.

2. Complete and lodge your VET Student Loan application

You will be asked to complete a VET Student Loan application form. The information provided on this form will be used to generate an electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF). This will be emailed to students and needs to be completed and submitted after a two day cooling period from the day of enrolment and at least 16 working days prior to the first census date. If you are under 18 years of age your parent or guardian will be required to complete the Commonwealths, Request For a VET student Loan – Parental Consent form*. 

3. Notice of Invoice and Commonwealth Assistance Notice

Once you have lodged your application, you will be provided with a VET Student Loan Fee Notice (at least 14 days before your first census date). This is a summary of your enrolment and associated fees until all census dates have passed and will be sent to you.

Within 28 days after the census date, your loan will be finalised and you will receive a confirmation letter from South Metropolitan TAFE together with a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN). A CAN is a summary of your enrolment, VET Student Loan debt and any loan fee that you may have incurred. It is common for a student to receive several CAN's throughout their study from South Metropolitan TAFE for different census dates of their enrolled units. You are reminded that each CAN notice will only list units that have reached census dates. Please check each CAN carefully and notify the Admissions office at South Metropolitan TAFE within 14 days if there are any errors.

4. Withdrawals or application for re-credit 

If your circumstances change after you have enrolled with a VET Student Loan, you may apply for a withdrawal and request a refund or re-credit of your loan.

You are reminded that you must lodge your withdrawal before your census dates in order to apply for a full refund or re-credit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much can I borrow?

Loan caps will apply to all approved courses. Other than for specified exceptions, there will be three loan cap bands of $5000, $10,000 and $15,000. A separate loan cap for the aviation training package will apply. The loan cap will be $75,000 for all courses under this package.

There is no loan fee for subsidised VET qualifications at South Metropolitan TAFE but a 20% loan fee applies to non-subsidised VET courses. You will be required to repay the loan to the Australian Government through the tax system once you reach the minimum income threshold level for repayment.

Once a student has borrowed an amount equal to the FEE-HELP limit (as indexed at that time), they will not be able to receive further VET Student Loan assistance or FEE-HELP assistance to pay their tuition fees. Repayments do not reset the maximum that can be borrowed.


How do I repay my loan?

You have to start repaying your VET Student Loan debt through the taxation system once your repayment income is above the compulsory repayment threshold, even if you are still studying. The compulsory repayment thresholds is adjusted each year.

The compulsory repayment threshold is $54,869 for the 2016-17 income year.

Your repayment income is calculated using the following amounts from your income tax return:

•    your taxable income;
•    reportable fringe benefits (reported on your payment summary);
•    total net investment loss (which includes net rental loss);
•    reportable super contributions; and
•    exempt foreign employment income amounts.

If you have an accumulated HELP debt and earn more than the minimum repayment threshold, you will have a compulsory repayment included as part of your income tax assessment.

For more information on repaying your HELP debts, including the latest Repaying Your Help Debt guide, visit the Australian Tax Office website.


How do I check my loan balance (or whether I even have a loan)?

To check whether you have a debt, confirm the amount you have borrowed or find out your loan balance, students can either visit the myUniAssist website​ or contact the Australian Tax Office on 13 28 61.


Will I get a refund or re-credit if I withdraw?

If you have applied for a VET Student Loan, and if you withdraw from a unit or course before or on the census date, you will not incur a VET Student Loan debt for the unit or course you are withdrawing from and you will receive a full refund.

If you withdraw from a unit or course after the census date, you may be eligible for re-credit of your FEE-HELP balance, if special circumstances apply. In this case, you will need to complete and submit an Application for Refund and Re-credit of FEE-HELP BALANCE.

Reminder: You will incur a debt if you applied for VET Student Loan and failed to withdraw before the census date. Any up-front payments will be lost and your FEE-HELP limit will be reduced.


Can New Zealand citizens​ obtain VET Student Loans?

​The Australian Government has passed legislation to provide VET Student Loan to New Zealand citizens who are Special Category Visa (SCV) holders and meet the requisite criteria.
Note: New Zealand SCV holders are required to meet eligibility criteria. Please visit the Study Assist website for more information. 

Literacy and Numeracy Requirements

Eligibility for VET Student Loans

If you wish to apply for a VET Student Loan to pay for some or all of your course fees, you will need to satisfy the requirements for literacy and numeracy.

If you cannot provide a copy of your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (WACE in WA) from an agency or authority of an Australian State or Territory for the completion of year 12 you need to attain an “Exit Level 3” in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) assessment test in reading and numeracy or higher.

You may also provide a Certificate IV or higher from the Australian Qualification Framework delivered in English to prove your literacy or numeracy skills. If you don’t have a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, WACE, or “Exit Level 3” in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) assessment test in reading and numeracy or higher you will need to choose an alternative payment method.

Sitting a VET Student Loans Literacy and Numeracy test

The test has two components: Reading and Numeracy. 

The Reading test consists of 25 questions in total. 

  • The first section of the Reading test consists of 10 questions; the second section of the Reading test consists of 15 questions. 
  • The reading tasks are based on a broad range of informative and persuasive texts chosen for their authenticity and relevance to the lives of adult students. 
  • This part will require between 35 and 55 minutes to be completed.

​The Numeracy test consists of 25 questions in total. 

  • The first section of the Numeracy test consists of 10 questions; the second section of the Numeracy test consists of 15 questions. 
  • The numeracy tasks are set in a range of authentic contexts relevant to adult learners, including the workplace and employment, education and training and personal and community contexts. 
  • This part will require between 35 and 55 minutes to be completed.    

Test conditions

The test must be done online and supervised at one of South Metropolitan TAFE's main campuses.

You will be allocated two hours to complete the test but you may be allocated more time if required.

You can bring a calculator, pen and paper to use for your numeracy component.

Accessing the Internet and Mobile phones are not allowed. 

Completion of the test

We will endeavour to contact you via phone or by email your test results within 24 hours of you completing the test. 

 

FEE-HELP

FEE-HELP is the Student Loan scheme for those studying an Associate Degree or Higher Education Diploma course. 

Eligibility Requirements

You are entitled to FEE-HELP assistance for a unit of study if you:

  • Meet the citizenship and residency requirements: 
    -    you are an Australian citizen or a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder who meets the long-term residency criteria and who will undertake, in Australia, at least one unit of study contributing to your course; OR
    -    you are a permanent humanitarian visa holder who will be residing in Australia for the duration of your unit; OR
    -    you are a permanent visa holder who is undertaking bridging study for overseas-trained professionals, and will be residing in Australia for the duration of the study;
  • Are enrolled in an eligible unit of study by the census date for that unit; and
  • Have not exceeded the FEE HELP limit.

You must also:

  • Meet the census date requirements
    You must be enrolled on or before the census date (which will be provided to you before or at enrolment) and remain enrolled in the units at the end of the census date.
     
  • Meet the Tax File Number (TFN) requirements
    This includes providing your TFN or your Certificate of Application for a TFN to SM TAFE’s Higher Education Student Services when you submit your FEE-HELP application. Visit the Australian Taxation Office for more information on TFNs.
     
  • Have completed the FEE-HELP form
    Have completed, signed and submitted a valid Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form and Application for FEE-HELP form on or before census date. You will receive these forms when you enrol and be provided with a copy of the FEE-HELP information booklet.
     
  • Have not exceeded the FEE-HELP limit
    The limit for 2017 is $100,879.

Eligible Courses

All Higher Education Associate Degrees and Diplomas are eligible for FEE-HELP. Please refer to the Fee Statement below for the list of eligible courses.  

Application Process

How to apply

1. Confirm your enrolment

You will need to present the following when you enrol at South Metropolitan TAFE-Higher Education Student Services:

  • Either your TFN or a Certificate of Application for a TFN
  • The original and a photocopy of your citizenship evidence such as a birth certificate or Australian passport.
  • An Australian Tax File Number.
  • Your Australian Year 12 Senior Education Certificate or equivalent.
  • A valid and active email address.
  • A Unique Student ID.

2. Complete and lodge your FEE-HELP application

These forms will be provided to you at enrolment. You will be asked to complete two forms:

  • Request for FEE-HELP form with your TFN the first time you apply for FEE-HELP.
  • FEE-HELP application form. This is a record of the units for which you are requesting FEE-HELP for the semester. You are required to complete this form each semester that you require FEE-HELP. 

3. Notice of Invoice and Commonwealth Assistance Notice

Your loan will be finalised at Census Date. Within 28 days after the census date you will receive a confirmation letter from South Metropolitan TAFE together with a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN). A CAN is a summary of your enrolment, Higher Education Student Loan debt and any loan fee that you may have incurred. You will receive a separate CAN for each semester of study at South Metropolitan TAFE. You are reminded that each CAN notice will only list units that have reached census dates. Please check each CAN carefully and notify Higher Education Student Services at South Metropolitan TAFE within 14 days if there are any errors.   

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a loan fee for higher education courses?

All undergraduate, fee-for-service higher education courses attract a loan fee. The loan fee is 25 per cent of the tuition fees charged for your units, and it is calculated for each individual unit as you undertake your course.

 

Student Loans Further Information

Commonwealth Assistance notice (CAN)

Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN)
 

South Metropolitan TAFE will send you a CAN after census dates of your units have been reached. It is normal to receive more than one CAN each semester if your enrolled units have different census dates. The CAN contains information about your enrolment, any HELP debt you have incurred, how much you have paid towards your fees and how much will be reported to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Typically, a CAN includes the following information:

  • Student tuition fee amounts;
  • Any up-front fees that you have paid;
  • The units for which you have received FEE-HELP or VET FEE-HELP Total debt incurred for the semester;
  • Commonwealth Higher Education Support Number (CHESSN)
     

You are required to check your CAN each time you receive a notice to ensure that your enrolment dates are correct so that we can report your details correctly to the ATO. If any changes need to be made, you must inform the Admissions Office – South Metropolitan TAFE within 14 days from the date of your CAN letter or the college will deem that you have accepted your loan liability as per the Commonwealth Assistance Notice letter.

If your CAN is incorrect, you need to specify in writing which details are incorrect; and why you believe they are incorrect.

Queries can be emailed to student.loans@smtafe.wa.edu.au or sent in writing to:

Student Loans - Admissions
South Metropolitan TAFE
1 Fleet Street, Fremantle WA 6160

The CAN is not an invoice and you do not need to contact the ATO about the notice. The CAN is just a notice advising you of the status of your student loan and which units have now reached census dates. The census date is when South Metropolitan TAFE finalises your enrolment. If you withdraw after census date you will have to pay fees or if you have a Student Loan, you will incur the debt as stated on your CAN.

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Page last updated July 13, 2017