The Difference Between Government Funding and VET FEE-HELP

We often receive a lot of inquiries about the difference between Government funding (which we offer to applicants who meet the eligibility criteria) and VET FEE-HELP, which other registered training organisations offer. Below, we explain the difference between the two.

Government Funded Training

Government funded training is where the government provides funds for you to complete a certain qualification when all eligibility criteria are met. The student is generally required to pay a tuition contribution fee at the time of enrolment as well as any additional course fees that are relevant, such as for books and other study materials.

Government funded training is generally funded on a scheduled hourly basis. The funding rate may be adjusted up and down, either increasing or decreasing the out-of-pocket student contribution fee. This structure, however, makes vocational training more accessible to people who do not hold a post-school qualification, or who want to gain a higher level qualification than they already hold. It is very beneficial for students as they won’t have a loan to commit to and are able to achieve a nationally recognised qualification at the end of their studies.

Here in the state of Victoria, government funded courses are subsidised under the Victorian Training Guarantee. Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are required to enter into a VET Funding Contract with the Victorian Department of Education and Training in order to deliver government subsidised training under the Victorian Training Guarantee.

Some training providers are not contracted to deliver government funded training and will therefore charge students full fee for service rates for their courses.

For students who do not meet the government funded training criteria, you can still study at your choice of training provider if places are available, but you may not be able to access a government subsidised training place.


Here’s a breakdown of the acronym to help you understand VET FEE-HELP just a little bit better:

VET – Vocation Education and Training

VET courses are generally designed to deliver workplace-specific skills and knowledge. Vocational Education and Training (VET) covers a wide range of careers and industries, including office work, retail, hospitality and health and community services.

HELP – Higher Education Loan Programme

This is a suite of loans offered by the Australian Government that assists eligible students with paying their tuition fees (VET FEE-HELP or FEE-HELP), student contributions (HECS-HELP), overseas study expenses (OS-HELP) or the student services and amenities fee (SA-HELP).

VET FEE-HELP is an extension of FEE-HELP, part of the Higher Education Loan Program. It assists eligible students enrolled in certain higher-level (usually Diploma level and above) VET courses at nationally accredited registered training organisations.

There is usually a loan fee that applies to VET FEE-HELP loans. All HELP loans are repaid to the Australian Government through the personal tax system once a student reaches the minimum income threshold level for repayment, which for 2014-15 is $53,345. Interest is also incurred on the loan.

Some Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) Advertise the ‘Study Now, Pay Later’ Tagline. What Does This Mean?

VET FEE-HELP is often promoted as ‘Study Now, Pay Later’, but many students don’t understand the process of how this actually works.

Study Now – If you are eligible for VET FEE-HELP and want to study an approved course, you can usually start studying the course straight away (after meeting entry and enrolment requirements of the training organisation and after being approved for the VET FEE-HELP) without needing to pay the tuition fee before you start studying.

Pay Later – You can pay for your course tuition fee later as initially the course fee is covered by VET FEE-HELP and you don’t have to start repaying this loan until your taxable income is higher than a particular amount. You can choose to use a VET FEE-HELP loan for all your tuition fees or you can pay some of your tuition fees upfront and use VET FEE-HELP loan for the rest.

What We Offer

Suzan Johnston Australia has been a fully Registered Training Organisation (RTO) since 1993 and has also been contracted to deliver government funded courses under the Victorian Training Guarantee since 2009.

Our eligible students continue to receive training funds made available by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments and are able to study by paying only a small out-of-pocket student contribution fee and other additional course material fees.

Our government funded courses currently comprise of:

Do You Want More Information on Our Government Funded Training?

For more information on our nationally accredited, government funded courses, please visit or call us on (03) 9654 0999 to speak with one of our friendly consultants.