NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.


VET Student Loans

VET Student Loans are provided by the Australian Government through the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. NIDA is currently approved to offer VET Student Loans for all diploma level courses.

If you are an eligible student, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment may approve your VET Student Loan for an approved course. The department will pay your loan directly to your approved course provider. You will be responsible for any gap amount in the tuition fees, which are not covered by the loan. The amount of the VET Student Loans provided for a part of a course or unit, plus the VET Student Loan fee of 20% is referred to as the VETSL Debt. You will owe a debt to the Australian Government for the loan, which will be managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Your VET Student Loan becomes part of your Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt and must be paid back at the relevant repayment rate when your income is above the compulsory repayment threshold. The compulsory repayment threshold is adjusted each year, so visit the ATO website for details.

To be an eligible student, you must meet ALL of the criteria below.  VET Student Loans will not be approved for students who do not meet eligibility requirements.

You must meet the following criteria:

  • An Australian citizen, OR
  • a qualifying New Zealand citizen [1], OR
  • a permanent humanitarian visa holder, who is usually a resident in Australia.
  • Your FEE-HELP balance (the amount of your FEE-HELP limit you have left) will sufficiently cover the required course costs.
  • You are enrolled with an approved course provider in an approved course and have enrolled in accordance with the application requirements.
  • You are studying the approved course primarily at a campus in Australia.
  • You have been assessed by your approved course provider as academically suited to undertake the approved course on the basis of either:
    • providing your Australian Year 12 Certificate; OR
    • providing evidence of successful completion of an Australian Qualifications Framework Certificate IV or higher qualification (where the language of instruction is English); OR
    • displaying competence at Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework in both reading and numeracy through an approved Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) test [2].
  • In addition, your approved course provider must reasonably believe you show competence in completing the course.
  • You meet the Tax File Number (TFN) requirements.
  • You have a Unique Student Identifier (USI) or are otherwise exempt.

If you are eligible to access a VET Student Loan you will need to complete an eCAF (Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form), which is issued to you after your enrollment. For more information regarding the eCAF please see the following links:

Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form for VET Student Loans

eCAF Student Obligations

Further information about specific fees and charges for NIDA vocational diploma courses are contained in each course page on the NIDA website, in the fees section.

For more information regarding VET Student Loans visit the Australian Government’s Department of Employment and Workplace Relations website.

Policy Information

For information regarding our student entry, deferral, suspension, withdrawal and cancellation of study procedures, domestic students can read NIDA’s policies.

[1] a qualifying New Zealand citizen is a New Zealand citizen who meets all of the following:

  • holds a special visa category, such as the New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV);
  • has been usually resident in Australia for at least 10 years;
  • was a dependent child when he or she was first usually resident in Australia;
  • has been in Australia for periods totalling 8 years during the previous 10 years; and
  • has been in Australia for periods totalling 18 months during the previous 2 years.

[2] Students will complete this test before commencing at NIDA.
NIDA uses the approved LLN assessment tool, Core Skills Profile for Adults (CSPA), published by the Australian Council for Educational Research Limited, July 2013. The results of this assessment will be reported to the student as soon as practicable after the assessment, and if requested, will be shared with the Secretary, as evidence of academic suitability for a VET Student Loan (Section 81 VSL Rules). NIDA requires the process be conducted with honesty and integrity.