If you’re eligible for the VSL, the Australian Government may approve your application for an approved course. This means they will pay your loan directly to Swinburne. The debt of this loan will then be managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).  

There’s a limit to how much you can borrow with a VSL. This is known as a ‘loan cap’ and is different for every course. As of January 2022, there are three loan cap bands that apply to Swinburne courses. These are:  

  • A$5,406
  • A$10,813
  • A$16,221.

Visit the indicative course fees page for course fees and loan cap amounts. 

Repaying your VET Student Loan

A VET student loan results in a VSL debt that continues to be a debt due to the government until it is repaid. 

You will not have to start paying back the loan until you reach the compulsory repayment threshold. The compulsory repayment threshold is adjusted annually. As of January 2022, this threshold is A$47,014. Refer to the government's paying back your loan page for detailed information.

The rate at which you repay the loan is based on your income; as you earn more you will repay a higher percentage of your taxable income towards your loan. The loan may reduce your take-home wage or salary after tax and may reduce your borrowing capacity.

We encourage you to seek independent advice from a trusted adult or professional about your fee payment options.

Swinburne also has a range of financial support and advice available to you.

Are you eligible for the VSL?

When you have expressed an interest in accessing a VET Student Loan, Swinburne must collect and verify information about your identity and date of birth, and verify all of the eligibility criteria.

If you are eligible, we will provide your enrolment information to the government so that you can complete your loan application in the government eCAF system.

See how to apply

1. Meet the citizenship requirements

Australian citizen:

  • Evidence: Australian citizens must provide evidence of a current Australian passport (preferred), full Australian birth certificate or citizenship certificate.
  • If you provide an Australian birth certificate, we may ask you for additional evidence such as an Australian citizenship certificate or extract of citizenship certificate, or citizenship by descent extract. This is because different citizenship rules are applied at different times.

Permanent Humanitarian Visa Holder:

  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa Holders must be a resident in Australia for the duration of the course.
  • Special circumstances may apply to Permanent Humanitarian Visa Holders who upon return to Australia and were required to change to a Permanent Visa (non-Humanitarian). 
  • Evidence: visa details and conditions, including information on the visa type and expiry date.

Qualifying New Zealand citizen:

  • A New Zealand citizen is eligible if you hold a Special Category Visa and all of the following apply:
  • have usually been resident in Australia for at least 10 years
  • were a dependent child aged under 18 years of age when you first were usually a resident in Australia
  • have been in Australia for periods totalling 8 years during the previous 10 years
  • have been in Australia for periods totalling 18 months during the previous two years.
  • Evidence: Current New Zealand passport and travel records from the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, see requesting travel records.

2. Be studying an approved course
3. Be studying with an approved course provider
4. Apply to the government using the approved form which will be managed through your provider

After completing the eligibility checks with Swinburne, apply to the government using the approved Government eCAF form. See how to apply

5. Have a Tax File Number prior to census date

To be eligible for a VET Student Loan you must provide a valid Australian Tax File Number (TFN) by the census date.

If you do not have a Tax File Number apply now and provide us with either:

  • a certificate of application for a TFN issued by the Australian Tax Office (ATO), or
  • a copy of your online application summary and barcode matched receipt issued by Australia Post.

Find out more about how to apply for a Tax File Number.

6. Submit Progression Forms to confirm your ongoing engagement with your studies and continue accessing the loan throughout your course

You must have:

  • achieved an Exit Level score of 3 or higher in the Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) assessment, or
  • completed Australian Year 12, confirmed by providing a copy of your Secondary School Certificate, or
  • completed a qualification that is AQF level Certificate IV or higher. If the qualification was not undertaken at Swinburne, you must provide a copy of the certificate.
Loan entitlements

You must not have exceeded:

  • your HELP limit, and
  • the Loan Cap for your course.

If you are under 18 when requesting a VET Student Loan:

  • your parent or guardian must sign the VET Student Loan Parent Consent form, or
  • you have received Youth Allowance on the basis that you are independent, you may be required to provide evidence of this.

You must provide a valid Unique Student Identifier (USI).

For the full list of eligibility criteria and for more information on the supporting documents you must provide, read page seven of the Australian Government’s VET Student Loans Information Booklet.

Studying a Certificate IV course or below?

The VETSL is only available for students studying diploma-level courses or above. This means if you’re studying a Certificate IV or below you’re not eligible for the VET Student Loan but you may be eligible for other types of financial support.

How to apply

There are two steps to apply

1. Request a VET Student Loan from Swinburne for eligibility assessment

Complete the Intent to Apply for a VET Student Loan form by logging into My Finances.

For more information about applying for a VSL loan see our handy guide: How to manage your HELP assistance applications online [PDF 260KB]. 

We will send you an email requesting evidence of eligibility.

2. Complete the Government eCAF before the census date

We will advise you when you are assessed as eligible.

You will receive an email from the Government eCAF website providing access to complete your VET Student Loan form.

Make sure you complete the form on the Government eCAF website before your census date.

When should you apply for a VSL? 

After you’re admitted into your course, you must wait two business days before you can submit your VSL request form. 

You must meet all eligibility criteria and submit your Government eCAF prior to 11.59pm on your census date to complete the process.

If you are enrolled in more than one course, you must submit a request for each course. 

Want to use a VET Student Loan to pay for your study?  

To use a VSL to pay for your study, you must submit your Tax File Number (TFN) by the census date. If you don’t have a TFN, get it early by applying for one via the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Otherwise, if you miss your census date, you’ll not be able to use the loan for that study period.

Managing, maintaining and remaining eligible for the VSL

Once you have a VET Student Loan you must maintain eligibility. If at any time you become ineligible your enrolment may be cancelled.

We'll contact you about your VET Student Loan via your personal and Swinburne email or mobile phone. We may also send financial documents to your preferred postal address. 

Your name, date of birth and sometimes your permanent address details are used to verify your Tax File Number and Unique Student Identifier. If at any time your TFN or USI become unverified you are ineligible for a VET Student Loan.  

You must advise any change to your citizenship and residency details immediately to avoid future issues with your VET Student Loan.

Find out how to update your personal details.

Throughout your enrolment you will need to complete a VSL progression form through the Government eCAF system:

  • every 4 months
  • whenever your course status changes, for example if you withdraw or go on leave of absence or if you return to study after a break.

Swinburne will initiate the VSL progression forms in February, June and October and also if you withdraw from your course or undertake a formal leave of absence. 

You may also request Swinburne to initiate a VSL progression at any time, if you miss submitting your scheduled progression or if you want to change your response.

When Swinburne initiates the VSL progression, you will receive an email from the Government eCAF system with the link and log in details.

VET Student Loan fee notices 

Before each census date, we will send you a VET Student Loan Fee Notice which details the fees that will be deferred to your loan. 

We will also send you a Commonwealth Assistance Notice after the census day to confirm the amount of loan debt you have incurred. 

Changed your mind? 

Once the census date passes, your VET Student Loan will be used to cover any unpaid fees for those units. If you want to cancel your VET Student Loan, pay for your units upfront, or withdraw from your course or withdraw from your units you must do so on or before the census date. 

Make upfront payments

You can make payments towards your fees to reduce the amount of your VET Student Loan – before your census date.

Cancel your VET Student Loan

If you no longer want to pay your unit fees using a VET Student Loan, you must notify us by emailing studentHQ. If you choose to cancel your VET Student Loan, you must pay the fees for all units not covered by the VET Student Loan by the due date.

Have a question or need more assistance?

If you need help understanding VET Student Loans or have a question, we’re here to support you. You can:

More information