Refund Policy – VET Student Loan Assistance Scheme


TrainSmart Australia Pty Ltd offers a fair and equitable refund policy that complies with all legislative requirements. Students are informed of all fees, charges, census dates and of the refund policy during the enrolment process. Information on the refund policy is also stated in the Student Handbook. TrainSmart Australia guarantees a sound financial position and safeguards all participant fees until used for training and or assessment.


This refund policy applies to all students who are enrolled in a VET Student Loan approved course at TrainSmart Australia that have taken a VET Student Loan to cover partially or fully their tuition fees.


3.1 If a student withdraws from a VET unit of study on or before the relevant census date:

  1. TrainSmart Australia will refund any VET tuition fees where the student has paid for that VET unit of study. All notifications from the student must be received in writing or by e-mail
  2. The student will not incur a VET Student Loan debt
  3. The student will not be victimised or discriminated against for:
    1. Making an application for a refund
    2. Making an application for the re-credit of a FEE-HELP balance
    3. Seeking a review or reconsideration of a decision
    4. Using this process or the Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure

3.2 This does not apply where VET tuition assurance arrangements have been activated and the student has elected the VET course assurance option for that unit.

3.3 If a student withdraws from a VET unit of study after the relevant census date:

  1.  No refund is applicable and/or
  2. The student will incur a VET Student Loan debt

3.4 A student who withdraws after the census date for a VET unit of study may apply for special circumstances in line with Student Review Policy for Re-Crediting a VETSL Balance for a VET Student Loan Enabled Course.

3.5 A census date that is no earlier than 20% of the way through a VET unit of study will be set by TrainSmart Australia for each unit of study. The census date for each unit of study will be made available on the website

3.6 For information on policy and procedure regarding withdrawals, refer to VET Student Loan Withdrawal from Courses and Cancellation of Enrolment available on the TrainSmart Australia website

3.7 This Refund Policy is made publicly available on TrainSmart Australia website: The Student Handbook also contains the reference to this policy and all students eligible for VET Student Loan are informed of the refund policy through the student induction process. Members of staff are informed of this policy during their induction process and the information is made available in writing within the Staff Handbook. They are responsible for observing the guidelines stated in this policy.


4.1 If at the completion of a student’s course and prior to the issue of the final certificate, the RTO determines the tuition fees that have been charged are in excess of the fee cap, the RTO is required to refund the excess fees to the student.

4.2 The refund of the excess fees are made in accordance with the concession fee cap amount of $400 per calendar year or the non-concession fee cap amount of $1,200 per calendar year in accordance with the


5.1 Students may need to withdraw from their studies after the census date or may be unable to complete their studies due to certain circumstances. In such circumstances, students may apply to have their VET Student Loan remitted. Where TrainSmart Australia finds that special circumstances apply, the student’s loan balance will be re-credited with an equal amount to the amount of VET Student Loan that the student has received for their VET unit/s of study. If a student’s VET Student Loan balance is re-credited, any assistance they acquired for the VET unit/s of study will also be remitted.

5.2 Students of TrainSmart Australia who wish to withdraw from a VET course of study, or VET unit of study due to special circumstance must complete a Special Circumstances Application Form and email it to TSA Student Support at [email protected]

Special Circumstances: Criteria

5.3 For TrainSmart Australia to be satisfied that special circumstances apply, you must be able to prove that the circumstances:

  1. were beyond your control and
  2. did not make their full impact on you until on, or after, the census date for the course of part of the course and
  3. made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements for the course, or part of the course

5.4 A student must provide original, independent documentation as part of any application due to special circumstances. The documentation must clearly indicate the following:

  1. The level of impact of the special circumstance
  2. What the special circumstances were
  3. When they occurred
  4. How long they lasted
  5. That the circumstances made their full impact on, or after, the census date.

5.5 Special circumstances do not include:

  1. A lack of knowledge or understanding of VET Student Loan requirements under the scheme
  2. A normal change in arrangements, such as a change of work shifts or planned holiday
  3. A person’s incapacity to repay a VET Student Loan debt, as repayments are income contingent and the person can apply for a deferral of a compulsory repayment in certain circumstances

Special Circumstances: Re-credit/Remittance Application Process

5.6 It is the right of TrainSmart Australia students to submit an application to remit VET Student Loan debt under the grounds of special circumstances. Each application must be accompanied by supporting documentation to substantiate all claims.

5.7 Applications for a remittance and/or re-credit should be made in writing, within 12 months of the withdrawal date, or if the student has not withdrawn, within 12 months of the end date of the VET unit of study.

5.8 Complete application to must be sent to the RTO Training Manager at [email protected] or via post to:
Attention: Andrew Baker
TrainSmart Australia
Level 12
251 Adelaide Terrace
Perth WA 6000

5.9 The RTO Training Manager, in conjunction with the RTO Manager, will assess applications for the remittance and/or re-credit of tuition fees due to special circumstances, according to the quality of the independent supporting evidence provided by the student to substantiate their claim. The student will be provided with a decision, in writing, within 28 days of the submission of the application for assessment.

Special Circumstances: Appealing a Decision

5.10 If a student is not satisfied with the decision made by the RTO Training Manager in relation to re crediting their FEE-HELP balance they may request a review of the decision. The review shall be carried out by a Review Officer who is the senior manager to the original decision maker.

5.11 Any such request must be submitted to the Review Officer in writing and:

i. must be lodged within 28 days of receiving notice of the original decision, unless the Review Officer allows a longer period, and
ii. must specify the reasons for making the request and include any supporting documentation

5.12 To initiate the process, please call TrainSmart Australia on the contact below:

  1. Sydney: Chief Executive Officer (02) 9410 1880 [email protected]
  2. Perth: Managing Director (08) 9265 9600 [email protected]

5.13 The Review Officer shall acknowledge receipt of an application for a review of the refusal to re-credit a FEE-HELP balance in writing and inform the applicant that if the Review Officer has not advised the applicant of a decision within 45 days of having received the application for review, the Review Officer is taken to have confirmed the original decision. This notice shall also advise the applicant of the next stage of escalation.

5.14 The Review Officer shall:

  1. be provided with all relevant information from the person who made the original decision;
  2. review the case within 3 weeks and advise the student of the decision in writing giving the reasons for the reviewer’s decision.

5.15 The Review Officer may:

  1. confirm the decision
  2. vary the decision or
  3. set the decision aside and substitute a new decision

5.16 The Review Officer will give written notice of the decision setting out the reasons for the decision.

5.17 Where a student is dissatisfied with the reviewed decision, they may lodge an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) within 28 days from this written notice from the Review Officer. The contact details for the AAT are:

Perth Office:
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Level 13, 111 St George’s Terrace
Perth WA 6000
Telephone: 08 6222 7299

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
GPO Box 9955
Perth WA 684


Sydney Office:
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Level 6, 83 Clarence Street,
Sydney NSW 2000
Telephone: 02 9276 5599

GPO Box 9955
Sydney NSW 2001


Email: [email protected]

5.18 The Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Education and Training (DET), or the Secretary’s delegate, will be the respondent for cases that are brought before the AAT. Upon DET’s receipt of a notification from the AAT, DET will notify TrainSmart Australia that an appeal has been lodged. Upon receipt of this notification from DET, the Review Officer will provide DET with copies of all the documents they hold that are relevant to the appeal within five (5) business days.

5.19 Applications for re crediting by the Secretary, under section 71 of the Act must be made within 5 years after the census day for the course, or the part of the course, concerned, or within that period as extended by the Secretary.

5.20 Under section 71 of the VET Student Loans Act, a student may apply to the Secretary for a re-credit of a FEE-HELP balance if; TrainSmart Australia, or a person acting on behalf of TrainSmart Australia, engaged in unacceptable conduct in relation to a student’s application for the VET Student Loan; or, if TrainSmart Australia has failed to comply with the Act or an instrument under the Act and the failure has adversely affected the student.

5.21 The Secretary may re-credit a student’s FEE HELP balance in relation to special circumstances if TrainSmart Australia:

  1. is unable to act or is being wound up or has been dissolved; or
  2. has failed to act and the Secretary is satisfied that the failure is unreasonable.




Reviewed by



March 2020

National Compliance Steering Committee

Wrote Policy


March 2020

Learning Experience Manager

Formatted and added Scenarios


April 2020

Executive Officer



November 2021

Marlon Schoep

Update and review


May 2022

Andrew Baker

Update and review


May 2022

Marlon Schoep

1.       Updated reference to Section 90: discrimination & victimisation

2.       Added section on Special Circumstances


October 2023

Andrew Baker

Update of policy to include the Fee Cap Rebate for Publicly Funder Training – State Based