6 Dec 2016
Straight up, the good news is that student loans are still available, and government subsidies on some courses still exist.
In a nutshell, the Australian Government has reviewed the financing option for Vocational Education and Training (VET) students.
Keep in mind that VET is generally anything studied at TAFE (or private Registered Training Organisations), except for the Bachelor programs which are classified as Higher Education. It’s important to note that changes to VET FEE-HELP and VET Student Loans have nothing to do with Bachelor programs (so Bachelor students, this doesn’t affect you).
What is a VET Student Loan?
The new VET Student Loan scheme loans are student loans that are capped at $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000, depending on which Diploma you are studying. For example, you may have enrolled in the Diploma of Business (BSB50215) which costs $5,000, and the VET Student Loan cap is $5,000. This means students wishing to access finance to studying this Diploma can do so without paying a gap fee.
In the case where a course cost is higher than the VET Student Loan cap, the student will have to arrange to cover the difference or there may be additional Government subsidy for eligible students to assist with course costs.
Confused? Who could blame you! Let’s keep on.
When does the VET Student Loan scheme commence?
The VET Student Loan scheme will come into effect from 1 January 2017. This scheme is applicable for all government and private Registered Training Organisations who have been approved to access the VET Student Loan scheme. There is a list of approved courses that students can access VET Student Loans on the VET Student Loans website. It’s important to note that this website is constantly being updated, so check in on a regular basis to get the latest.
Information for students who are part-way through their studies
If you started your qualification in 2016 (or earlier) and are due to continue studying in 2017, you can still access VET FEE-HELP. The main things you need to know are:
- You can access VET FEE-HELP until 31 December 2017 to finalise your current qualification
- By 31 March 2017, you just need to indicate to the Australian Government that you want to keep studying using VET FEE-HELP
- Most students in this situation will complete their studies by 31 December 2017 and won’t need to action anything further but if for whatever reason you do not finish by the end of 2017, you will be able to apply for a VET Student Loan to cover the final components of your qualification
Information for students who have enrolled (or want) to start their studies in 2017
Everyone who is set to start studying from 2017 will be able to apply for VET Student Loans. This loan scheme is structured differently from the VET FEE-HELP scheme. Loans can only be accessed for some programs as decided by the Australian Government. In some cases, the course costs may be higher than the VET Student Loan cap, meaning that students will have to cover the difference.
But this doesn’t mean you have to pay upfront if you don’t have the spare cash. We’re here to help and we already have a successful payment plan option in place that countless students before you have used to pay for their studies.
If you find that some of your course fees need to be paid upfront or on a payment plan, talk to our Customer Service team about how this works. The big benefit about payment plans is that they only last while you’re studying so you’ll have paid a chunk off by the time you graduate which is awesome in the long term, and the loan accessed through the Federal Government will start to be paid off when you start earning above the repayment threshold.
The bottom line
TAFE Queensland is here to help you make great happen, now and in the future. It’s always a bit of a flurry when new legislation comes in around course costs but our team of experts are here to advise you and answer any questions you may have. Contact us if you have any questions.
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