VET Student Loans Information

VET Student Loans Information

What is a VET Student Loan (VSL)?

A VET Student Loan (VSL) helps students to cover fees for vocational education and training (VET) courses.  The VET Student Loans program is provided by the Australian Government to assists eligible students to pay part of their tuition fees.    


VET student loans will not be approved for students who do not meet eligibility requirements.

The School will collect documents to verify your identity and date of birth. These documents required are also listed on the Schools Enrolment Application Form.

VET Student Loans are only available for approved courses at the diploma level and above. This means that you can’t get a VSL for a Certificate IV level course or below.

Students who are interested in applying for a VET Student Loan should download and read the VET Student Loan Information Booklet.

How Does it Work?

The VET Student Loan program allows eligible students to defer tuition fees for

approved diplomas or advanced diplomas.

You can either:

  • defer all your tuition fees (up to the loan cap limit)
  • pay some of your tuition fees upfront and defer the balance.

The government directly pays the amount of the loan, and you pay it back through the Australian taxation system once your annual income reaches the minimum repayment threshold. There is also loan fee of 20% for full fee-paying students.

Who Can Get a VET Student Loan?

Students are eligible for a VET Student Loan if they:

  • are enrolled in the Diploma of Visual Arts at Sydney Art School;
  • meet citizenship/residency requirements;
  • meet the academic requirements of the VET Student Loans – Student Entry Process and any other student entry requirements.

You must also:

  • have a tax file number (TFN) or be applying for one (see Commonwealth TFN Student Fact Sheet)
  • have a Unique Student Identifier (USI)
  • meet the academic suitability requirements of the VET Student Loans Student Entry Procedure (that is, assessed as academically suitable to undertake a high level vocational qualification)
  • have a Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)
  • not have exceeded your lifetime Commonwealth student loan limit, which is set each year by the Commonwealth
Citizenship & Residency Requirements

To be eligible, a student must:

  • be an Australian citizen, OR
  • hold an eligible permanent humanitarian visa and usually reside in Australia, OR
  • be a New Zealand citizen on Special Category Visa (SCV subclass 444) who meets the long term residency requirements.
How do I apply?

A VET Student Loan is an agreement between you and the Commonwealth Government.

To apply for a VET Student loan you must meet all the loan eligibility requirements

if you are accepted into a course, Sydney Art School will advise the Commonwealth that you wish to apply

the Commonwealth will then email your logon details and password to access the online loan application

if approved, Sydney Art School will be advised by the Commonwealth and your enrolment can be finalised.

As with any loan you take, you must understand the terms and conditions before you make a commitment.

Please read the VET Student Loan information available at VET Student Loan Information Booklet  and consider seeking independent financial advice.

Under 18

There are no age restrictions to apply for a VET Student Loan. For students who are under 18, your parent or guardian must co-sign your loan request.

When you apply you will need to print your application and have your parent or guardian sign the application and send this to [email protected].

Your parent or guardian will not be responsible for making loan repayments and it will not affect their credit rating. You will begin making repayments once your income reaches the minimum payment threshold.

Student Entry Process

All students wishing to apply for a Commonwealth VET Student Loan must be assessed for academic suitability to undertake a high level VET qualification. This is aimed at ensuring you have the skills and knowledge to succeed in your course.

 Academic assessment is in addition to any other entry requirements for your course, or any other additional selection criteria.

Refer to the VET Student Loans Student Entry Process on the Sydney Art School website

Ongoing Eligibility for Student Loan - Genuine Student Requirement

The benefit of the Commonwealth paying course fees via a VET Student Loan may be withdrawn for a student who is not genuine.

Genuine student factors include considering whether students have demonstrated they are reasonably engaged in the course and have completed the student progression requirements. Refer to the guidelines regarding Determining Genuine Students.

How will my course fees be charged?

Fees for courses at Sydney Art School are listed at the link  Course Fees and Duration.

Fees for your coure are spread across each term and each term has a census day, set at 14 days after the start of the term.

You will be sent an Invoice Notice 14 days before each census day, indicating your fees and census dates. Your debt is incurred on the day after the census day.

After a census day has passed, the school will send you a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) that will give information about your debt, including the loan fee if applicable. 

What is a Commonwealth Assistance Notice?

A Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) will give you information about your current debt to the Australian Government including their loan fee.

Your CAN should also reflect the fee information that was provided at the time of your Enrolment Application and also included in your eCAF application (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) which most students will have submitted prior to your first Census date.

If you believe that the information in your CAN is incorrect please advise the School within 14 days via email detailing any discrepancies between your Enrolment Application or eCAF application. 

What is a Unique Student Identifier (USI)?

The Commonwealth requires all students studying in a nationally recognised training course to have a USI. If you already have one, please ensure you use this same USI whenever you enrol for any training. If you don’t have a USI, go to to register before you apply to enrol, or you can apply as part of your enrolment.

What is a Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)?

A CHESSN is allocated to all students when they first access a Commonwealth loan.

Any Commonwealth student loan you take is recorded against your CHESSN. If you already have a CHESSN, please supply that number.

How do I pay back the loan?

Your HELP debt includes any unpaid HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP, OS-HELP, SA-HELP and VET Student Loans debts.

You pay back your HELP debt through the tax system once you earn above the compulsory repayment threshold. The compulsory repayment threshold is different each year.

The compulsory repayment threshold for the 2017-18 income year was $55,874.

The compulsory repayment threshold for the 2018-19 income year is $51,957.

You can make a voluntary repayment to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) at any time.

Fair treatment

To ensure fair treatment for students, Sydney Art School has policies on student selection, entry requirements, assessment and equal opportunity.

For more information see the SAS Fair Treatment Policy

Grievance procedures for academic matters

Sydney Art School has a grievance and appeals process. You are entitled to raise any concerns about your academic results or appeal a result.  The process is detailed in the Student Handbook.

Grievance procedures for non- academic matters

You may raise a concern or grievance for a range of non-academic matters, including harassment, vilification, discrimination, misuse of personal information, financial matters and course applications.

You may report your grievance to a tutor or studio manager. See the Non-academic grievance procedure in the Student Handbook.

Withdrawals and Refunds

If you choose to withdraw, you may be entitled to a re-credit of your loan balance if you have taken a Commonwealth loan.  You must withdraw in writing via email to [email protected].  The School will contact you to advise of any further information or steps required.

The loan amount you incur will depend on the timing of your withdrawal. There are no penalties if you withdraw on or before the census day. However, once a census day has passed, the loan amount for the term course fees is incurred. 

In some special circumstances, you may apply to have your debt reversed.  For more information please read the VET Student Loan information available at VET Student Loan Information Booklet 

Census Days

The Census day for each term is 14 days after the first day of each term.  A list of term dates is here.

Application to Re-credit a HELP Balance

Students also have the right to apply for a review of a decision not to re-credit a loan balance. For more information see the SAS VET Student Loan Review Procedures.

Tuition assurance

If Sydney Art School ceases to provide a course in which you are enrolled, Sydney Art School will ensure that you are offered enrolment in a similar course of study.

Alternatively, Sydney Art School will:

  • Refund any upfront payment for any units of study due to Sydney Art School ceasing to offer that course
  • Recredit your loan balance for the affected units
  • Act in accordance with the Statement of VET Tuition Assurance
Privacy and Personal information

When you enrol at Sydney Art School, the collection, storage, use and disclosure of any personal information you provide are protected by Australian Privacy Act legislation. 

Lifetime loan limit

From 1 January 2019, the Government will introduce a combined cap on the amount of tertiary education assistance a student can access for tuition fees. The new HELP tuition limit will apply to HECS-HELP loans, FEEHELP loans, VET FEE-HELP loans and VET Student Loans.
The loan limit is not renewable. Once a borrower reaches the lifetime limit they cannot borrow further funds.
The proposed HELP tuition limits for the combined HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Student loans
$150,000 for students undertaking medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses, and
$104,440 for other students.
The limits are reasonable and sufficient, in most cases, to cover almost nine years of study as a Commonwealthsupported student.

 Students can view their loan obligations by logging into myUniAssist on the Study Assist website.