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What is this ‘Opt-In’ stuff about, anyway?

What is this ‘Opt-In’ stuff about, anyway?

You’ve probably seen the term ‘Opt In’ used a bit lately, but you may still be unclear about what it actually involves.

That’s understandable because it’s government language, which can be pretty confusing at the best of times.

When you signed up for your course, if you didn’t pay for it upfront, you probably accessed the government loan program for courses like yours. This loan program was called VET FEE-HELP, until recently.

Getting a VET FEE-HELP loan meant that you could start studying without paying for your course straight away. In fact, with VET FEE-HELP, you don’t have to start paying back your loan until you are earning over a certain amount, around $50,000. (For exact figures, click here.)

Once you start earning that amount, you will have to start making repayments, until you have paid off your whole course.

Late last year, the government decided to scrap the VET FEE-HELP loan program. They replaced it with a different one, called VET Student Loans. VET Student Loans works a bit differently.

But, because you signed up under VET FEE-HELP, you can still use the program and keep your loan. This means you can continue studying your course without having to make repayments until you hit that $50,000 mark. BUT- and this is the important bit – you have to tell the government that you want to do this, by Opting In.

If you don’t opt in and don’t want to pay the full amount that you owe, you will be withdrawn from your course.

We don’t want to do this.

You have already begun on the path to achieving your education goals. If you keep at it, you will soon have your qualifications!

When you opt in, you are saying that you want to keep studying your course, you want to keep your loan going, and you want the loan to be for a whole qualification, not just the part of it you have done already.

Make sense?

We don’t know why it has to be this complicated, but unfortunately, it is (sigh).

Got it! I have received my letter or email from DET and I want to opt in.

Great! Click here to opt in using the passkey contained in your letter or email.

I haven’t received an email or letter with my passkey, yet.

If you know you had a census date in 2016 and have not received notification by mid-February 2017, you should complete the VET FEE-HELP Opt-In enquiry form to request a passkey so that you can opt in. Click on the option that says ‘I still need help’ and select the option ‘Requesting passkey’.

I’ve requested a passkey but still haven’t received it

If you have filled in the form to request a passkey but it has been longer than two weeks and you still have not received it, fill in a new request form. The current advice we have from the Department of Education and Training (DET) is that it should not be taking as long as two weeks to receive a new passkey, and if you have requested it several times with no luck, you should submit a complaint via the enquiry form. We would also suggest contacting DET on the phone to confirm that they have received your request.

You can call DET on: 1300 566 046.

I got a passkey but didn’t use it before it expired

If you previously attempted to opt in but your passkey had expired, please try again. Passkey expiry dates have now been extended, beyond the original ten-day usage limit. This may mean that a passkey you thought had expired will now work. Our advice from DET is just to try whatever passkey you have and then request a new one if it doesn’t work. Please see the section above for advice on requesting a passkey multiple times.

I have a passkey but it’s not working

Here is the information that the Department of Education and Training has provided about passkey and sign in issues:
It is important that you use the information in your VET FEE-HELP opt-in email or letter exactly as it is written. If you do not do this, you will not be able to sign in. Take care when entering your passkey into the secure opt-in form. We encourage students to do the following:

  • If you have received your passkey via email, copy and paste the entire string of characters in the passkey. Please note, double-clicking on the passkey will not always select the entire passkey.
  • If you have received your passkey via post, please ensure you are entering the passkey as written on your letter. Passkeys are all exactly 22 characters in length.
  • Passkeys are case sensitive and could include upper case or lower case letters, numbers, punctuation or underscores.

If you are typing in the passkey manually, please ensure you distinguish between similar characters (0, O, o).

Please ensure you have followed all steps listed on your opt-in invitation email or letter, from start to finish. Once submitted you will receive a confirmation letter/email. You will need to forward this letter onto your provider.

I have opted in but I’ve lost my confirmation letter

Your opt-in is not complete until you have provided us with a copy of your Opt in confirmation email/letter. It’s really important that you do this. DET does not tell us who has opted in or not, so this is how we know who we can continue to train.

If you have successfully opted in but are unable to locate your opt-in confirmation email, please check your junk folder and your email filters. Sometimes the wrong things get blocked!
If you are still unable to locate your confirmation email or if you need a replacement confirmation email, please sign in to the opt-in system (using the details in your opt-in email or letter). Once you sign in you will see a message asking if you would like your form submission receipt re-sent. If you select ‘yes’ you will be re-sent your confirmation email with your opt-in confirmation letter attached.

You should also check that the email address you entered is correct. If you have made a mistake in entering your email address you should complete the VET FEE-HELP Opt-In enquiry form asking for it to be updated.

If you still have any issues, please complete the VET FEE-HELP Opt-In enquiry form.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us on 1300 793 002 or email at: studentsupport@churchilleducation.edu.au if you have any questions.

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