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VET Student Loans Policy

1. Purpose

Vocational Education and Training Student Loans (VSL) is an Australian Government income contingent loan scheme for the vocational educational and training sector. VSL is part of the Australian Government-funded HELP loan arrangements and are designed to assist eligible students to pay for part or all their VET tuition fees while studying.

VSL are only available for approved courses at the diploma level and above.

Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) is approved by the Australian Government to offer VSL for certain qualifications.

CIT is a signatory to the VET Student Loans Code of Practice (the Code). The purpose of the Code is to identify key complaint areas raised by students with a VSL debt and to share proven complaint resolution principles that can increase the ability of students and providers to successfully resolve disputes without the intervention of the VET Student Loans Ombudsman (VSLO). The Code is not a legislative instrument and while adopting the Code is voluntary, it is viewed by the VSLO as a tool to assist providers like CIT to meet their regulatory obligations and improve business practices.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure CIT meets the requirements of the VET Student Loan Act and the VSL Rules and is compliant with the VET Student Loans Code of Practice.

Only students who are assessed as meeting the eligibility requirements can access a VSL.

This policy should be read in conjunction with VET Student Loans Procedure.

2. Scope

Where this policy refers to CIT, it includes CIT Solutions.

This policy applies to:

  • applicants for a course on CIT’s VSL approved course list
  • students successful in applying for a VSL
  • staff involved in the delivery and administration of any course on CIT’s VSL approved course list
  • parents of applicants for VSL and enrolled students under the age of 18 years of age.

This policy does not apply to international students.

If any part of this policy or the associated procedure does not align with Australian Government requirements, then the Australian Government requirements take precedence over the relevant sections of this policy and/or the associated procedures.

3. Principles

The underlying principle on which VSL is based is that it removes the major financial barrier to entry to vocational education at diploma level or above, allowing students to have the costs of further study (their tuition fees) funded through an income-contingent loan from the Australian Government. A VET Student Loan is repaid through the tax system once the student reaches the minimum income threshold.

CIT is committed to providing equal and fair treatment to students in their enrolment process and during their application for a VSL in line with the requirements of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 and VET Student Loan Act 2016.

Students are responsible for course progression and meeting inherent requirements to participate in their chosen fields of study.

3.1 Fair Treatment

CIT will fairly treat all intending or enrolled students who are eligible for VSL. CIT will provide open, fair, equitable, ethical, and transparent processes for students:

  • applying for
  • enrolling in
  • studying
  • withdrawing from VSL eligible courses.

The application of fair treatment does not require that all students are treated the same.

Decisions about the selection of students seeking to enrol as students in VET units and the treatment of such students occur in accordance with:

  • relevant Acts, legislation and regulations
  • industry requirements
  • CIT policies and procedures

3.2 Pre-enrolment

Before enrolment in a VSL approved course, CIT will ensure both prospective and currently enrolled students are given accurate, complete, and timely information to enable them to make informed decisions.

The applicant for VSL must meet all specified entry requirements for the particular course (e.g., pre-requisite qualifications, industry experience, successful police check). CIT will record sighting evidence to meet academic and citizenship requirements. (Refer: VSL Procedure).

3.3 Student grievance and review procedures – academic and non-academic

CIT has policies and procedures in place to allow students to openly question, discuss and seek a full review of outcomes they may not agree with, with respect to both academic and non-academic issues.

CIT's procedures and processes ensure a student is not victimised or discriminated against as a result of a review or appeal.

Refer:  Student Conduct Policy

Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy

Academic Appeals Policy

Student and Community Members Complaint Policy

3.4 Customer complaints and feedback process

All complaints received by CIT will be treated with discretion and remain confidential. CIT will investigate all issues raised and respond to the complainant in a professional and timely manner and in accordance with CIT's Student and Community Members Complaint Policy.

During post-enrolment induction all students are made aware of:

  • support services
  • their rights and obligations, including their right to appeal
  • the process for lodging complaints or feedback.

Refer: Student Induction Policy

3.5 Privacy and Personal Information

CIT will comply with the requirements of the Information Privacy Act 2014 (ACT), the Australian Privacy Act 1988 and the Privacy Amendment Act (Enhancing Privacy Protection) 2012.

A documented procedure has been established to ensure that CIT, in conducting Institute business, applies management processes that protect and respect individuals' information privacy rights.

Refer: Privacy Policy

3.6 Published materials

When marketing VSL approved courses and recruiting prospective students, CIT will act ethically and be open, transparent and honest in representations. VSL information, including fee schedules and census dates, will be published on the CIT website.

3.7 Course Withdrawal

In the event a student withdraws from their course, CIT will be clear and timely with its communication and fully inform the student of the impact on their enrolment and their VSL.

A student who has previously withdrawn from a unit of study with a VSL can re-enrol by following the standard enrolment processes and submit a request to recommence the VSL. The student will be required to complete a new Progression form.

3.8 Course or Part Course Cancellation and Provider Closure

In the event of course or part course cancellation after the census date, or provider closure, CIT will comply with the VSL Rules, act ethically and meet responsibilities to students to:

  • make reasonable efforts to inform all affected students about the course cancellation or provider closure
  • make available to each student an accurate and complete record of their progress towards each competency in their course of study
  • set out the circumstances in which fees for the course or the part of the course will or will not be refunded
  • deal with or resolve any matter that arose during, or that relates to, the period when CIT was an approved VSL provider
  • provide the student with at least 28 days to initiate grievance procedures before the cancellation takes final effect
  • provide for the cancellation to take final effect only after any grievance procedures initiated by the student have been completed.

CIT has Tuition Assurance in place.

Refer: Course Closure Procedure

Student and Community Members Complaint Policy

Application and Enrolment Policy

VET Student Loans Procedure

Statement of Tuition Assurance

3.9 VSL Balance Re-credit

When a student withdraws from a VSL unit of study on or before the census date the student will not incur a debt for that unit of study. Students will be refunded any tuition fees paid. Refunds in the event of withdrawal are managed as per the CIT Fees and Refunds Policy.

When a student who has completed a Request for VSL withdraws from a unit after the census date, the student normally will incur a VSL debt for that VET unit of study.

CIT will remove a debt within 15 days of the census date if CIT has agreed to re-credit a student’s VSL balance due to special circumstances including but not limited to where:

  • the student's withdrawal is beyond their control
  • these circumstances did not have an impact on the student until on or after the census date
  • it is impracticable for the student to complete the requirements of the unit during the period in which the student undertook, or was to undertake, the unit.

Re-crediting a VSL balance will be recorded on the Student Management System (SMS).

The student must apply in writing, within 12 months of the withdrawal date for re-credit of VSL balance.

A student has the right to apply for a review of a decision to not re-credit a VSL balance within 28 days from receiving notice of the decision. The application must be in writing to the Chief Finance Officer (Review Officer) stating the reasons for a review. Each application will be examined and determined on its merits by the Review Officer who will consider the student’s claims, together with independent supporting documentary evidence substantiating these claims.

A student may make an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a reconsideration of the Review Officer's decision and may supply additional information to the AAT not previously supplied to CIT Review Officer. CIT will cooperate fully with the AAT.

3.10 Progression

Students are required to submit an Australian Government Progression form in a timely manner, three (3) times per year throughout the period of study.

3.11 Responsibilities

3.11.1 CIT designated Australian Government Student Loan Assistance Officer

The CIT designated Australian Government Student Loan Assistance Officer is responsible for:

  • maintaining current knowledge of legislation and regulatory compliance requirements
  • overseeing the implementation of this policy and associated procedure
  • overseeing application processes where VSL apply
  • managing instances of re-credit or debt remittance of a VSL.

3.11.2 Manager Awards and Programs

The Manager Awards and Programs is responsible for uploading the VSL schedule and census dates on the CIT website.

4. Documentation

4.1 Related Legislation/Regulation

4.2 Related Policy and Procedures

4.3 Related Documents

5. Definitions

All terminology used in this policy is consistent with definitions in the CIT Definitions of Terms.

Re-creditingVET Student Loans are capped. Circumstances may mean an amount of the VET student loan that has been used to pay tuition fees for the student for the course, or the part of a course may be put back into funds available for a VSL in the future.

6. Policy Contact Officer

Executive Director, Education Futures and Students.

Contact CIT Student Services on (02) 6207 3188 or email for further information.

7. Procedures

This policy is implemented through the associated procedures. Authority to make changes to the procedures rests with the policy owner.