VET Student Loans

Applicants Guide to VSL

The National Theatre Melbourne’s Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses are recognised under the loan scheme. Students who enrol on any of these courses may be eligible to apply for assistance under the loan scheme, to pay for all or part of their Course Fees. The VSL scheme is not available to support any other study or living costs you may incur whilst enrolled with the National Theatre Melbourne Schools.

What Is The VSL Scheme?

VET Student Loans (VSL) is a Government student loan scheme for the VET (Vocational Education and Training) sector. It is part of the Commonwealth Government’s Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) to help students pay their fees when studying, with eligible organisations, at Diploma level or above.


PLEASE NOTE: This is a loan that you will have until it paid back. Students are encouraged to read the VET Student Loans information booklet for the latest information or visit the Study Assist website.

How Does It Work?

On enrolment, if you meet the eligibility criteria you can elect to access a loan and the Australian Government will pay (all or in part) the course fees on your behalf.

The debt is incurred gradually, as you enrol in units of study and progress through your course.

There are four census dates per year aligned with the four terms of the course where fees become applicable for all enrolled students. Once these census dates occur, you are then liable for the unit tuition fees and if you have elected to access VSL, it is then your debt occurs or increases by the amount of the fees plus any loan fee.

All tuition fees are set at the time of enrolment for the full period that you are studying at The National Theatre Melbourne. Census dates for all years of the course are published on the National Theatre Melbourne’s website and are listed in the course handbook.

Students who access VSL will have a loan with the Australian Government which they then repay through the Australian Tax system once they reach the minimum income threshold level for repayment. For the 2021–2022 income year, this is $47,014. This means until you earn over this amount you will not start to repay your loan. Updated information on repayment thresholds can be found at Study Assist.


You will be eligible to apply via The National Theatre Melbourne for a VET Student Loan if you meet the eligibility criteria and the student entry procedure.


Citizenship or Residency


• Are an Australian citizen; or
• Are a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder who meets long
term residency requirements; or
• Are a permanent humanitarian visa holder (usually resident in Australia).


Academic Suitability

All students must pass an audition to gain a place on our courses and once
you are enrolled on an approved course (Diploma or Advanced Diploma) you also need to meet the academic suitability requirements for the VSL scheme.



• A copy of your Australian Year 12 Certificate (Senior Secondary
Certificate of Education); OR
• Provide a copy of a successfully completed Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Certificate IV or higher qualification that was delivered in English.

The VET Student Loans Process: What you need to know

When applying for a VET Student Loan, The National Theatre will need to verify your date of birth, identity and your eligibility for a loan. See the VET Student Loan Information Booklet for full details.

Once accepted and enrolled on a course (see individual courses for specific processes), inform the administration department of your school to indicate that you wish to access a VET Student Loan.

You will need to provide your proof of Citizenship, Tax File Number (TFN) and Unique Student Identifier (USI) for us to enter into our system.

You will receive an email from the Australian Government allowing you to sign in to the eCAF System. You will be required to sign-in, verify your information and complete the mandatory fields prior to submission of your application for access to VET Student Loans. They will contact you over the course o your course to ensure you are still enrolled. Failure to confirm your enrolment with the eCAF system may result in your loan being stopped, therefore it is essential your email details are kept up to date.

If you are under the age of 18, your application must be co-signed by a parent or guardian or you have received youth allowance on the basis that you are certified as independent.


There is a mandatory ‘cooling off period’ of two (2) business days between enrollment for a unit of study and processing of a VET Student Loan application.

Once your application has been submitted through eCAF you will receive a VET Student Loan Statement of Covered Fees, prior to the first census date. This will outline the tuition fees for your enrollment, the amount covered by VET Student Loans and the amount to be paid by you.

Prior to each Census date you will receive a VET Student Loan Fee Notice detailing the units you are enrolled in and the Government loan fee amount that applies to you.

You will also receive a Commonwealth Assistance Notice within 28 days of the Census date for the qualification or units where you have accessed a VET Student Loan.

During your course of study, you will need to communicate your agreement to the Australian Government in order to continue accessing ongoing payments through the VET Loan scheme.

A Government loan fee 

This loan fee amount is 20% and will be added to the HELP debt amount for the qualification. All the latest details are contained in the VET Student Loans Information Booklet and we recommend it as mandatory reading prior to applying for a VET Student Loan.

For example, if you are undertaking a unit that costs $1,000 the loan fee is 20 percent of $1,000 = $1,200. As such, your VET FEE–HELP debt for that unit will be the cost of the unit ($1,000) + the loan
fee ($200) = $1,200. You will receive a ‘Commonwealth Assistance Notice’ detailing the amount paid. If you elect to borrow the full $16,077 (2021 limit) towards your fees, the total amount you will be owing the government is based on current rates is $19,292.40.

VET Student Loan Caps and Limits

You can borrow up to the VET Student Loan cap to pay your tuition fees. The cap varies depending on the course you are enrolled in.  The maximum amount for 2021 is $16,077 for all eligible students at The National Theatre Ballet and Drama Schools.

The VET Student Loan Limit is a lifetime limit linked to all Government funded loans in the HELP system and is not reset or ‘topped up’ by any repayments that you make. More details on lifetime limits can be found through Study Assist.

Students may wish to seek financial advice prior to taking out a VET Student Loan.


Withdrawal, Refund and Re-Credit of HELP Loans

Any student who withdraws from a unit of study, must notify the Administrator in writing,  prior to the census date to qualify for a refund of any paid fees or VSL payments.

Any student who withdraws from a unit of study after the census date is liable for payment for that unit, and VET funding will be claimed as per the VET Fee Notice for that unit. No payments will be due for future units that have not met the census date.

Ballet Withdrawal Notice

Drama Withdrawal Notice

Please refer to our refund policy for more information on refunds and re-credits.


Further Information

Students are encouraged to read the VET Student Loans information booklet for the latest information or visit the Study Assist website. For information about personal tax and VET Student Loan debts contact the Australian Tax Office.
It is a requirement of the VET Quality Framework that students can access personal information held by The National Theatre Melbourne and students may request corrections to information that is incorrect or out of date. Apply in writing to the School Administration Manager if you wish to view your own VET records.

VSL Student Loans policies and procedures

VET Student Loans policies and procedures: https://www.education.gov.au/vet-student-loans

Policies for accredited courses

The policies for our accreditated courses can be viewed here.