Many students are interested in whether they can get some government subsidy for their training so the total training costs can be reduced. From the questions we got from students, most of them do not seem to know the difference between government funding and VET FEE-HELP.
For starters, government funding (e.g. C3G funding in QLD and User Choice funding in many states) directly reduces the cost as the government is essentially paying most of the training cost. However, VET FEE-HELP is a loan which allows you to pay the training fee later. Under VET FEE-HELP, the government pays for the training first and you are required to pay back the fee later.
Due to the problems that have been found with the VET FEE-HELP scheme, it has been changed to the VET Student Loans scheme. The new name is obviously more straightforward and direct in indicating that it is a loan.
Another big difference is that government funding normally covers qualifications that are of a lower level than those covered by VET FEE-HELP (VET Student Loans). For instance, QLD’s C3G funding mainly covers the Certificate III level. The VET FEE-HELP and the newly proposed VET Student Loans cover diploma courses and above. More specifically, the VET Student Loans cover the following qualification levels.
- Diploma (Level 5)
- Advanced Diploma (Level 6)
- Graduate Certificate (Level 8)
- Graduate Diploma (Level 8)
Notice that under the Australian Qualification Framework, Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are at Level 8, which is the same level for Bachelor Honours Degrees and higher than Level 7, where Bachelor Degrees are at.
To sum up, government funding means the government pays for a major part of the training which reduces the amount the student pays; VET FEE-HELP is a loan which means the government pays for the training now and the student needs to pay back the total training fee in the future. In addition, government funding normally is used for Cert II, III and IV whereas VET FEE-HELP is for Diploma and above courses.