Paying for TAFE

TAFE (also known as VET) is a big investment of your time and money and it’s important to feel like you are making an informed decision about paying for your course fees. When it comes to paying for your course fees, you can:

  • defer your tuition or student contribution fees and access a VET Student Loan, or
  • pay part of your fees upfront and defer the rest, or
  • pay all of your unit fees upfront.

VET Student Loans (VSL)

A VET Student Loan is a loan from the Australia Government that assists eligible students pay their tuition fees.  A VET Student Loan is repaid through the Australian tax system once you reach the minimum income threshold for repayment; repayments continue until you have repaid the entirety of the debt. For more information on the minimum threshold set by the Australian Government and repayments please view the VSL Information Booklet.

VSLs are only available for approved courses at the diploma level and above. This means that you cannot get a VSL for a Certificate IV level course or below.

A quick way to determine your eligibility is to use the VSL Eligibility Tool on the Australian Government My Skills website.

VET Student Loans will not be approved for students who do not meet the eligibility requirements.

To be eligible you must:

  • meet the citizenship and residency requirements (see below)
  • have a Unique Student Identifier (USI) prior to the first census date
  • Meet the Tax File Number (TFN) requirements
  • not have exceeded your HELP or VSL loan limit
  • must be deemed academically suitable to undertake your approved course (CQUniversity will assess your competence using the Australian Government-approved assessment tool Basic Keys Skills Builder)

Citizenship and residency requirements:

  • an Australian Citizen, or
  • the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa who usually resides in Australia, or
  • a New Zealand citizen who is the holder of a Special Category Visa (SCV) and meets other eligibility criteria.

Academic suitability:

  • Australian Year 12 Certificate of Education, or
    Successful completion of an Australian Qualifications Framework certificate IV of higher qualification with a language of instruction if English, or at a level in a framework that preceded the AQF that is equivalent to level 4 or above in the AQF.

If you cannot provide the above documents, you will be required to display competence at Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework in both reading and numeracy.  CQUniversity will assess your competence using the Australian Government-approved assessment tool Basic Keys Skills Builder (bksb).

Please note that students with JobTrainer places are unable to access VSLs.

You must submit your eCAF on, or before, your first census day. If you do not submit your eCAF on or before the census day, you will not be able to access a VET Student Loan for that fee period.

For more information on VET Student Loans, visit the Study Assist website.

Under 18

If you are under the age of 18 and seeking a VET Student Loan, you must provide one of the following before your VET Student Loan electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form can be issued to you:

  • Parental Consent form signed by your parent or guardian. This will be emailed to you within a week of enrolling into your first unit/s
  • Centrelink Income Statement noting your independent assessment

When you enrol at CQUniversity the collection, storage, use and disclosure of any personal information you provide is protected by legislation. See our Privacy Policy and Procedure for more information.

Submitting your request

To apply for a VET Student Loan you must complete the Request for a VET Student Loan electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) by the census day.

You must first enrol with your provider and indicate you wish to access a VET Student Loan. Your provider will then give the department your enrolment information, including the nearest applicable census day, through the eCAF system.

You will then receive an email with log in details to sign into the eCAF system. Once you sign in, you will need to verify the pre-populated information and complete the mandatory fields. You must then wait at least two full business days after you have enrolled in your studies before submitting the eCAF.

You must submit the eCAF on or before the first census day for which you would like the loan to apply.

Once you submit your eCAF, you will receive an email confirming your loan approval and providing you with a copy of your completed form. You should keep this for your records.

Cooling off period

A two-business day cooling off period will occur when you have enrolled in a VET Student Loans eligible course to provide you with some time to make sure of your choice to take out a loan for your tuition.

Census date

The census date is the last date for students to withdraw from enrolled units without academic or financial penalty, apply for a leave of absence, or change their citizenship status or contribution payment option. After this date, enrolments for the study period are considered final. Whether you pay Tuition fees upfront, apply for a VET Student Loan, or a combination of both, you are required to finalise all these arrangements by the census date.

Census dates can be found via the CQU academic calendars.

Please note if you enrol in a unit/s less than two business days prior to census date you will not be eligible for VET Student Loans for those unit/s of study.

If you do not submit your VET Student Loan application form by the census day, you will be liable for the tuition fees for your enrolment.

For more information on applying for a VSL, please read the VET Student Loans Information Booklet.

Yes, there are loan caps determined by the Australian Government. There are generally three loan cap bands of $5,406, $10813, and $16,221 (2022 amounts) which approved VET Student Loan courses fall within. You cannot borrow more than the maximum loan amount for your course.

For more information on VSL loan caps, view the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations website.

Please note that from 1 January 2020 the Australian Government introduced a combined HELP loan limit which caps the amount you can borrow. This loan limit includes any new HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loans debt incurred from 2020 onwards plus any existing debt.

For more information on the HELP loan limit, visit the Study Assist website.

Through the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform, the Australian and Queensland Governments are supporting the expansion of the VET Student Loan scheme to improve access to higher-level qualifications.

VET Student Loans is an Australian Government loan scheme to assist eligible students studying diploma level and above qualifications to pay their tuition fees. It cannot be used for other study-related costs such as accommodation or textbooks.

Under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, a student must be able to defer their entire contribution through VET Student Loans but may elect to pay a proportion of the upfront and defer the remainder. As a result, through state-subsidised VET Student Loan arrangements, if the student is eligible, a loan may be available to the student to cover all or part of their contribution towards the cost of a diploma or advanced diploma level qualification subsidised under the Higher Level Skills program.

The Queensland Government will pay the same level of subsidy for a qualification regardless of whether the student accesses a VET Student Loan loan or not.

The Queensland Government is required to manage state subsidised VET Student loans to a weighted average of $5000. As a result, CQUniversity is an approved VET Student Loan provider who is able to manage the level of state subsidised VET Student loans offered to an average of $5000 or less.

A CQUni student spending time with an elderly lady

Subsidised TAFE Training

Subsidies for eligible students reduce the cost of vocational courses to low or free tuition fees, reducing the amount of money you need to pay. These government subsidies are aligned to the need for workers in specific industries.

  • TAFE Priority Skills Fund
  • Free TAFE for under 25s

Find Out More

Paying Full Fees

If you are paying full fees there are instalment plans available for some CQUniversity students. Prior to enrolment, a Payment Plan Application form must be completed and you will be required to negotiate terms with the Student Advice Team.

A minimum of $75 or 20% of the total cost of enrolment, whichever is the greater, is payable at the time of enrolment. However, exceptions will depend on the cost of the program and time frame of payments, which must not exceed 11 weeks in total. The minimum amount for repayments is $20 and you must finalise all payments no later than 30 days prior to the completion of study. Once approved, you are liable for the full cost of the course after the start of the study date. All outstanding invoices must be paid in full even if you withdraw after the program has commenced.

Financial Assistance

The Commonwealth Government has a variety of financial support payments dependent on age, study commitments, approved activities and work or job search commitments.

Please visit the Services Australia website or visit your local Centrelink Office for assistance eligibility and apply early in your program.