How to apply to become a VET Student Loans approved provider

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The VET Student Loans (VSL) program is an income contingent loan offered by the Australian Federal Government that helps eligible students pay for some vocational education and training (VET) diploma level or above courses. VSL courses can only be offered by a limited number of registered training organisations (RTOs) that have been reviewed and authorised by the Federal Department of Education as an approved provider of the VET Student Loans program.


Eligible VSL Courses

VET Student Loans are only available for the following higher level VET qualifications:

  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma.

Course eligibility for VSL is limited to:

  • courses that have high national priority,
  • meet industry needs,
  • contribute to addressing skills shortages and
  • lead to employment outcomes.


The approved courses list for VET Student Loans entitled VET Student Loans (Courses and Loan Caps) Determination 2016 is available at

Applicants should check the approved course list to ensure that they offer at least one course on the approved course list, before applying.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”VET Student Loans Approved Provider Application Criteria” tab_id=”1504676679555-e44bcb35-8645″][vc_column_text]

VSL Course Provider Eligibility Criteria

Information provided on the Department of Education and Training’s website  advises organisations that are seeking to become a VSL course providers, that they are required to meet certain threshold criteria. These include:

  • Being a body corporate that is not a trustee
  • Carrying on business in Australia and having its central management and control in Australia, and
  • Being a Registered Training Organisation (RTO)

To apply to become a VSL course provider, an organisation must demonstrate that it meets the course provider requirements set out in the VET Student Loans Act 2016 (Part 4, Division 1) and the VET Student Loan Rules 2016 (Division 3), made under the Act.

  1. The VET Student Loans Act 2016 (Part 4, Division 1) requirements include:

  • Secretary may approve a body

(2)  To meet the course provider requirements the body must:

                                    (a)  be a body corporate that is not a trustee; and

                                    (b)  be established under the law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; and

                                    (c)  carry on business in Australia and have its central management and control in Australia; and

                                    (d)  be a registered training organisation; and

                                    (e)  meet the provider suitability requirements; and

                                    (f)  be a fit and proper person; and

                                    (g)  be a party to an approved tuition assurance arrangement; and

    (h)  be a member of an approved external dispute resolution scheme.

  • Note: If Part IIE of the Ombudsman Act 1976 (VET Student Loans Ombudsman) is an external dispute resolution scheme, all approved course providers are taken to be members of the scheme (see section 42BA).

26      Provider suitability requirements:

(2)  The provider suitability requirements may deal with the following in relation to a course provider:

       (a) financial performance;

        (b) management and governance;

       (c) experience in providing vocational education;

      (d) scope of courses;

      (e) fees and modes of delivery for courses;

      (f) student outcomes;

     (g) industry links.

  1. The VET Student Loan Rules 2016 (Division 3)

Division 3 of the VET Student Loans Rules 2016, sets out the General requirements for course providers and provides further details as to what each suitability requirement listed above, would look like. This includes the following:

  • To demonstrate that your RTO meets the general requirements, you will need to outline that you are:
    • Committed to:
      • the delivery of high quality vocational education and training: and
      • achieving the best outcomes for students; and
    • act efficiently, honestly and fairly in all dealings with students, stakeholders and the Commonwealth (including the National VET Regulator); and
    • have a record of satisfactory conduct in relation to any previous vocational education and training:
      • provided by the provider; and
      • for which the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory provided funding (including by way of loans to students).
  • Your RTO’s Financial Performance in the previous 3 years must demonstrate that your RTO is financially viable, which includes:
    • having sound financial management
    • having at least 20 percent of revenue from sources other than Australian Government income contingent loans (for applicants with more than 100 student enrolments in 2016)
    • being able to pay your debts as and when they are due
    • having annually audited financial statements by an independent qualified auditor
    • having worker’s compensation and adequate public liability insurance
  • The RTO Management and Governance systems and processes, which include:
    • robust management and governance structures,
    • clearly defined decision-making processes,
    • relevant resources and human resource management processes,
    • systems to maintain records ensure data integrity and the reporting of data consistently, accurately and on time
  • The experience and expertise available in the RTO for the delivery of services, including:
    • A minimum of 3 years’ experience in the delivery of VET training,
    • the level of expertise of the RTO trainers and assessors,
    • the level of expertise of the RTO’s management and high managerial agents,
    • history of delivering high quality Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications
    • track record of providing state subsidized courses – eg. listed on a preferred provider register
    • how your training processes have benefitted students – eg. References or articles and good news stories indicating that your training has benefitted the community at a local, state or national level.
  • Legislation and standards the RTO complies with and how it ensures reporting and other legislative requirements such as OH&S, anti-discrimination, privacy, etc., are being met.
  • The RTO’s student support processes and how the RTO monitors student progress that assists in high student outcomes and course completion rates. The RTO will also need to include in the application:
    • Completion rates for each of its courses
    • Levels of student engagement in the past 3 years
    • surveys that measure student satisfaction and the results of these surveys
    • QI indicator survey outcomes
    • Number and type of complaints received and actions taken for improvement
    • Processes and methodology for determining student academic suitability for a course
  • The RTO links with industry and the workplace that ensure workplace needs are met and employment outcomes are improved. This may include:
    • Industry advisory boards and the impact of their input
    • Student placement arrangements with employers
    • Memberships with professional associations and how they assist with the currency of course delivery
    • RTO involvement in relevant industry presentations, conferences, etc.
    • Projects undertaken with peak employer organisations
    • Industry and employer refrences
    • Evidence of employment outcomes for students

VSL Course Provider Application Process

Applicants are required to register their interest to apply to become a VSL course provider, via the Department’s online enquiry form, available from:

The application forms consist of:

  • the Application Submission Outline – provides a format for applicants to address:
    • the course provider requirements
    • the provider suitability requirements
    • evidence to support claims against each of the requirements
  • the VSL Workbook – contains ten (10) worksheets, which must all be completed. Some of these include forms that need to be uploaded to HITS as pdf documents. The VSL Workbook addresses the following information:
    • Applicant’s Details
    • Key Personnel Details – for each Key Personnel
    • Financial Performance (Forms C1, C2)
    • Course History
    • Industry References (example only)
    • Proposed Approved Course Details
    • Senior Authorised Officers’ Declaration and Authorisation (Forms G1, G2, G3)

The Application Submission Outline and the VSL Workbook are not publicly available and will only be provided to applicants who register their interest in applying for approval.

All application documents must be submitted to the Department in accordance with the requirements of Part B of the Approved Course Provider Application Guide found on the Department’s website 

Application Approval

In accordance with the Act, for an application to be approved, it must be submitted in the form provided by the Secretary and be accompanied by the Application Fee.

According to the VSL Information for new providers Fact Sheet released early in 2017, stringent requirements will be placed on VSL course providers and only high quality, trusted providers will be approved.

Under the VSL approval arrangements, RTOs will be appraised and evaluated against:

  • Their relationships with industry
  • The RTO’s previous 3-year track record of student completion rates and employment outcomes
  • Any articulation arrangements with higher education providers
  • The provider’s track record of delivering education and training

Providers will also be assessed against their:

  • Financial performance
  • Strong management and governance
  • Course scope and fees

Application Fee

An application fee of $5,110 applies to this application round (opening on 30 August 2017).

The Application fee ($5,110) is required to be paid before the RTO’s application can be assessed and payment is required within 14 days, after receiving an invoice from The Department, following lodgement of your application on HITS.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”How to apply to become a VET Student Loans Approved Provider” tab_id=”1504677612723-44a51734-3b5e”][vc_column_text]


The VET Student Loans program commenced on 1 January 2017. The first applications round for eligible organisations to apply to become VSL course providers, closed on 20 February 2017.

A second application round opened on 30 August 2017 and is due to close at 11.59pm on 26 September 2017 (Canberra time).

Deadline for submission of any questions providers may have, is 4pm Wednesday 13 September 2017.

Information sessions for interested providers, were held in Canberra on Tuesday 5th September 2017.

HELP Information Technology System (HITS)

You must have an active account with HITS in order to submit your VSL application. If you do not have a HITS account, you need to complete the HITS Credentials application form and submit this to the Department as soon as possible.

Steps to preparing and submitting your application

  1. Become familiar with the VET Student Loans Act 2016 and the VET Student Loans Rules 2016 and to ensure your understanding of your obligations and responsibilities as an approved VSL course provider.
  1. Check the threshold criteria to ensure you are eligible to apply to become an approved VSL course provider.
  2. If you already have a HITS account, determine if it’s active by logging onto HITS using your existing user ID and password.
  3. If you do not have a HITS account, complete the HITS Credentials application form and submit this to the Department.
  4. Get your annual financial statements for the current year as well as the previous 2 years signed off by an independent qualified auditor; also obtain auditor’s declaration of compliance and report on your financial performance during the three financial periods. Financials can often take the most amount of time to prepare, so the first thing that you need to do is ensure that your organisation’s financials meet the Financial performance requirements.
  5. Collect industry/employer or other bodies’ referrals as evidence that your courses meet workplace needs and improve employer outcomes for students.
  6. Start addressing the Course Provider and Provider Suitability Requirements as outlined in the VSL – Application Submission outline.
  7. Concurrently, gather information for the completion of Forms A – G in the VSL Workbook including information on:
  • Your student completion and engagement rates;
  • Student satisfaction rates;
  • Your financial Performance in the past 3 years and
  • Information and credentials on your key personnel.
  1. Check all application documents including attached evidence to ensure their accuracy and compliance with the application requirements.
  2. Check file names against recommended naming conventions listed in the Approved Course Provider Application Guide.

Pay the invoice for your $5110.00 application fee.

As mentioned above all applicants are required to pay an Application fee of ($5,110). This fee is required to be paid before the RTO’s application can be assessed and it must be paid within 14 days after receipt of an invoice, following the lodgement of your application on HITS.

Submit your application on time!

Don’t forget to submit your application through HITS, before 11:59pm on Tuesday 26 September 2017.
The Department will not accept the late submission of applications. 


The information provided in this update is our analysis and interpretation of the VET Student Loans application requirements. This information should not be solely relied on for the purpose of your application. Always refer to the information provided by The Department, this will always be the source of truth. For more information please contact Audit Express Pty Ltd.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_accordion][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta h2=”Need help with your application?”]If your organisation needs help completing the VET Students Loans application get in touch with the team at Audit Express by phoning 1300 73 55 41  or click here to send us an email.[/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row] [/emaillocker]

Community Colleges Conference a success

Community Colleges Conference a success

We are pleased to announce that the annual Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Conference held in Melbourne was a great success.

The team at Audit Express tilt their hat to their colleagues at CCA for delivering their best conference yet, which comprised an impressive list of speakers that travelled from across the globe to present their thoughts, ideas and concepts to the conference delegates. There was a noteworthy attendance at the conference by the Federal Assistant Minister Karen Andrews, Shadow Minister Doug Cameron and Victorian Minister Gail Tierney – it is understood that our Victorian Shadow Minister Stephanie Ryan sent her apologies and was unable to attend due to being on her HONEYMOON <3 Congratulations Stephanie!

Other outstanding speakers included ASQA, the VRQA and our very own CEO at Audit Express Kevin Ekendahl!

We highly recommend attending this conference in 2018 to show your support for the community education sector, which we understand will be held in Sydney.


Audit Express are proud sponsors of the 2017 CCA Annual Conference

Audit Express are proud sponsors of the 2017 CCA Annual Conference


CCA 2017 Conference Community Education: Investing in our Future

Audit Express are proud to be sponsoring the 2017 Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Annual Conference, which is to be held in Melbourne on 25-27 July.

This years conference theme is ‘Community Education: Investing in our Future’ which recognises the importance that education plays in people’s lives. The CCA Annual Conference is the premier event for Australian adult and community education providers, and is always hosted at an impressive venue with a great line up of speakers. The 2017 conference will be held at the award-winning conference venue ‘Citadines on Bourke‘ and the Conference Opening function and Annual Awards Dinner with both be held at the ‘Hotel Windsor‘, one finest 5 star venues in Melbourne, “the world’s most liveable city”.

The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills will open this years conference, which has an impressive line-up of keynote speakers and presenters including: (just to name a few)

  • The Hon Gayle Tierney MP, Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Corrections
  • Susan Pascoe AMCommissioner, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
  • The Hon Michael Lavarch AO, Commissioner – Risk, Intelligence and Regulatory Support, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)
  • Professor Rodney Maddock, Monash Business School, and President, Economic Society of Australia, Victorian Branch
  • Peter Noonan, Professor of Tertiary Education Policy, Mitchell Institute, Victoria University, Melbourne
  • Lynn Glover, CEO (Director) Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority
  • Kira Clarke, Lecturer in Education Policy, Centre for Vocational & Education Policy, Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Laurie Chesley, Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan USA
  • Dr Roberta Teahen, Associate Provost & Director of the Doctorate in Community College Leadership, Ferris State University, Michigan USA
  • Toni Cavallaro, Manager, National Collections Branch, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
  • Dr Robbie Lloyd, Community Relationships Manager, Port Macquarie Community College
  • Wendy PerryManaging Director, Workforce BluePrint
  • Kevin Ekendahl, our very own CEO of Audit Express, who is presenting on the Importance of Student Satisfaction in the Australian VET Sector

For more information read the 14 reasons why this year’s conference is a “must-attend” event.

Register for this years CCA conference before the 12th of June to receive an early bird discount, click here >>>

Community Colleges Australia

Community Colleges Australia

Audit Express, proud sponsors of the 2017 CCA Conference

Audit Express

RTO Annual Declaration on Compliance


Making the 2017 Annual Declaration on Compliance for your RTO

[/vc_column_text][vc_icon icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-calendar” color=”custom” size=”xl” align=”center” custom_color=”#8dc63f”][vc_column_text]All Australian Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are required to submit an annual declaration on their compliance with the RTO Standards applicable to their organisation. ASQA and VRQA RTOs are required to submit the annual declaration of compliance to their regulator before Friday 31st March 2017.

The requirements and format of the declaration are slightly different and vary between each of the three Australian VET Regulators:

-The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)
-Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA – VIC based RTOs)
-Training Accreditation Council (TAC – WA based RTOs)

Audit Express have prepared an overview of the requirements for making an annual declaration with each of the three Australian VET Regulators.

Regardless of which regulator you will be making your declaration to, our advice is that before you make your annual declaration on compliance for your RTO you first ensure that you are well informed in relation to:

-The level of your compliance in your RTO
-Any existing non-compliances in your RTO
-Any non-compliances or gaps in relation to Assessment Tools and Assessment Practices (Actual assessment of students)

Audit Express recommend completing an independent internal audit of your RTO annually. This would ideally take place in the second half of the calendar year (July – December) and you should be using the outcomes of this internal audit to inform the annual declaration that you submit to your Regulator. You are reminded that your declaration is a legal document, you must be truthful and completely open and transparent in making the declaration. There are penalties under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act (2011) for making a false declaration and there are also penalties for not making a declaration. If your RTO fails to make its annual declaration of compliance you also risk having your RTOs registration cancelled.

This is not a simple form to be ticked and sent back to your regulator. The submission of your RTOs annual declaration of compliance must be taken seriously.

If you have any questions, concerns or require assistance with making your annual declaration, do not hesitate to contact the team at Audit Express by phoning 1300 73 55 41.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][just_icon icon=”Defaults-legal” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”#8dc63f”][vc_column_text]

ASQA Registered Providers
Making your RTOs Annual Declaration on Compliance with ASQA

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]RTOs that are registered with ASQA are required to make an annual declaration on their RTO’s compliance with the Standards for RTOs 2015, in accordance with Clause 8.4 of the Standards for RTOs 2015 to ASQA no later than the 31st of March 2017.

At the beginning of February, ASQA sent the CEO nominated on for each RTO, notification of their obligation to complete this declaration. The email also contained a unique link to an online form. The form is available from the beginning of February until the end of March. This allows your RTO two months to undertake the self-assessment required to complete the declaration. You can save the online form and return to it at any time before the end of March. If you have not received this correspondence please check your details on to ensure that ASQA has access to your current email address and contact the ASQA Help Desk if your RTO has not received this email.

Remember that when submitting the declaration, you are confirming to ASQA that you:

  • systematically monitor your RTO’s compliance, and
  • implement preventive and corrective actions where considered necessary.

ASQA will not email you a copy of your Declaration, you will have the option to print a copy of your declaration when you complete the form. Make sure that you print and keep a copy of your completed declaration for your records.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][just_icon icon=”Defaults-legal” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”#8dc63f”][vc_column_text]

VIC VRQA Registered Providers
Making your RTOs Annual Declaration on Compliance with VRQA

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Victorian based RTOs that are registered with the VRQA are required to make an annual declaration on compliance with the AQTF Standards and VRQA Guidelines, in accordance with ​​​​Guideline 5 of the 2016 VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers, which requires each RTO to complete an Annual Declaration of Compliance and submit it to the VRQA before the 1st of April 2017.

The VRQA’s annual declaration requires RTO to declare that it:

  • currently meets the requirements of the AQTF Standards and the 2016 VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers across all its scope of registration, and has met the requirements of the AQTF Standards and 2016 VRQA Guidelines for all AQF certification documentation it has issued in the previous 12 months: and
  • has training and assessment strategies and practices in place that ensure that all current and prospective learners will be trained and assessed in accordance with the AQTF Standards and 2016 VRQA Guidelines.

It is assumed that by submitting the annual declaration that the RTO is confirming that it has systematically monitored compliance and whether any issues identified have been corrected.

The 2017 declaration allows RTOs to note their compliance/noncompliance.  Where a noncompliance is identified, RTOs must provide the reasons and any rectification measures being implemented in the relevant section of the form. The annual declaration must be signed by the Principal Executive Officer/Chief Executive Officer who is registered with the VRQA as listed on

Once you have completed the Annual Declaration of Compliance you should send it to the VRQA by email at

The VRQA have advised RTOs that by not submitting the declaration, or not contacting the VRQA will be deemed as non-compliance with the ongoing registration requirements of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF). The VRQA will follow up individually with non-compliant RTOs. This could lead to your RTO registration being cancelled.

Click here to download a copy of the VRQA VET Declaration of Compliance template.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][just_icon icon=”Defaults-legal” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”#8dc63f”][vc_column_text]

WA TAC Registered Providers
Making your RTOs Annual Declaration on Compliance with TAC

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Western Australian based RTOs that are registered with the TAC are required to make an Annual Declaration on Compliance. The person who is listed as the RTOs Legally Responsible Person is to certify that the RTO is operating in accordance with its obligations under the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Act 1996 and the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015.

RTOs were required to submit their annual declaration for 2016 by the 30th of September 2016. It is understood that RTOs registered with TAC will be not be required to submit their 2017 declaration until 30th of September 2017.

If you’re an RTO CEO, TAC will notify you by email closer to September of your obligation to complete this declaration. Please check your details on to ensure that TAC has access to your current email address.

In 2016 RTOs registered with TAC were required to complete their annual declaration as an online form which was accessed at:

When you submit the annual declaration of compliance, you are confirming to TAC that you are making a truthful declaration that is based on a systematic evaluation, which was based on evidence from a range of sources, including the outcomes of validation, complaints and appeals processes, feedback from learners, clients, trainers and assessors and quality/performance indicator data collected under the Data Provision Requirements.

Like ASQA, TAC have advised RTOs that Clause 8.4 of the Standards requires RTOs to provide an annual declaration on compliance. Clause 8.1(a) also requires RTOs to cooperate with the VET Regulator by providing accurate and truthful responses to information requests from the Regulator. Failure to submit a completed declaration means your RTO is non-compliant with the Standards, and this could lead to your RTOs registration being cancelled.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

ASQA and Victorian Department working together to target poor quality training providers

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]ASQA have announced their strengthened communication protocols with the Victorian Department, Higher Education and Skills Group (HESG) that were signed off earlier this year by the Victorian State Minister for Training and Skills and the Commonwealth Minister for Vocational Education and Skills. The new protocols will see ASQA and the Victorian Department work closely together to target poor quality training providers. [emaillocker id=6291]

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) that have funding contracts across multiple states should already be aware that it is not only the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) that maintains a close relationship with ASQA. The Departments of Education and Training from all States and Territories hold a memorandum of understanding to maintain close communication with each other, and also with the regulator(s) – including ASQA, VRQA and TAC.

Essentially the new protocols mean that ASQA and the Victorian Department (HESG) will continue to maintain closer contact and work together to identify and respond to poor quality training providers, whilst also strengthening information sharing between the two agencies. ASQA and the Victorian DET are also expected to establish joint working groups and a taskforce. The team at Audit Express will be watching this closely and suspect that other states may follow the lead taken by the Victorian government. For more detail click here to see the full ASQA factsheet.

If your RTO has recently undergone a VTG Quality Review, VTG Business Process Audit, or VTG Transactional Audit; it is almost certain that both your RTO regulator and any other state departments that you hold a funding contract with will also have been informed, and that they may also be looking into your RTOs compliance.

Receiving a negative outcome at audit for either RTO registration compliance, or for RTO funding contract compliance is a serious issue and should be taken seriously.

If you require assistance responding to an audit report, or need help with a post audit rectification project contact the experts at Audit Express today. [/emaillocker][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]