In order to keep using a VET FEE-HELP loan for your studies during 2017, you must:
- have been enrolled in a higher level* vocational education and training (VET) course prior to 1 January 2017;
- have already been engaged in learning and received VET FEE-HELP assistance for at least one unit in that course (i.e. at least one census date for previous unit/s must have been before 31 December 2016);
- remain enrolled in that course with your original provider under the original conditions of your loan or a replacement provider if tuition assurance arrangements have been activated;**choose to opt-in (via an online opt-in process) when you return to study in 2017 and no later than 31 March 2017[see note below]; and
- have units yet to complete for that course, where the census dates will occur during 2017 (i.e. continuing census dates must occur on or after 1 January 2017 and before 31 December 2017, except in circumstances where this date may be extended).
* A ‘higher level’ VET course is a diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate or graduate diploma.
** Students whose provider ceases to offer the course in 2017 are covered by tuition assurance arrangements which enable them to change provider using VET FEE-HELP or receive a refund for unspent tuition fees.
Note: For some students that had their first census date in the later part of 2016, their provider may not have reported the student data. These students are requested to wait until early February 2017 to wait for their email or letter to be sent before contacting the department. Providers will not be paid VET FEE-HELP liabilities for any census dates in 2017 unless students have completed the opt-in process.
How do you opt-in to continue to receive VET FEE-HELP?
You will be sent an email or letter advising that the VET FEE-HELP loan scheme will end on 31 December 2016. If you fit the criteria above, you will be able to opt-in using the instructions in the email or letter. You will receive a confirmation of your email from the Department of Education and Training after opting-in.
You will need to take the confirmation advice issued to you by the Department of Education and Training to your current VET FEE-HELP provider where you are enrolled to study in 2017. If eligible, you will then be able to access VET FEE-HELP during 2017. Your VET FEE-HELP provider has been advised that you will need to provide the opt-in confirmation email to them for their records before you commence any study in 2017. However, there will be some cases, where your provider has yet to submit student data records to the department. You must opt-in once you receive your email or letter. You should contact your provider about your study arrangements. Your provider cannot be paid for subsequent units until you opt-in following directions provided.
Although you may receive this correspondence and can progress through to the online opt-in form, you may not meet the eligibility requirements. Please check the criteria above, the factsheets available at www.education.gov.au/vet-student-loans, and with your current VET FEE-HELP provider where you are currently enrolled in courses for 2017 to determine whether you meet the continuing VET FEE-HELP requirements.
Should you choose to opt-in to continue accessing VET FEE-HELP, you will be entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance for any units with census dates before 1 January 2018 that contribute to your continuing course. However, if you have remaining units with census dates on or after 1 January 2018, you may be able to apply for continued access in exceptional circumstances.
In certain circumstances, some students may be eligible to extend their VET FEE-HELP assistance beyond 1 January 2018. Such circumstances may include, for example, illness or caring responsibilities, or part-time students. Students will need to apply to continue using VET FEE-HELP for their existing course beyond 2017 and applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
If you have received an email or letter indicating you have a VET FEE-HELP loan but you have never studied, please contact the department to follow up on this matter at www.education.gov.au/vet-student-loans/vet-fee-help-opt-in.
Students wanting to undertake new studies in 2017 or seek further information: