What is Free TAFE?  

Free TAFE is a Victorian Government program that will pay your tuition fees to study in selected courses at TAFE, if you’re eligible.

When does Free TAFE finish?  

No end date has yet been advised, however the Victorian Government makes decisions on course offerings on an annual basis. Any changes to the courses offered will be informed by demand for training, changes to the economy, new policy initiatives and the needs of industry in securing skilled workers. The government will advise when the initiative is due to end.

Who is eligible for Free TAFE?  

Any Australian citizen or permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen is eligible to do one Free TAFE for Priority Course as long as you:  

  • are undertaking the training in Victoria, and 
  • not attending a school (this doesn’t include a TAFE) or registered for home schooling in Victoria; and 
  • have not started or be scheduled to start more than two government-subsidised courses in a year; and 
  • not be undertaking more than two government programs – either courses or skill sets – at any one time.

You may be eligible to complete more than one Free TAFE course if it’s included in the Free TAFE pathways initiative. Some Asylum Seekers may also be eligible dependent on their visa sub-class.

Which courses are included in Free TAFE?  

Free TAFE covers the tuition fees for priority courses for students who are eligible for government-subsidised training in Victoria.  

View the Free TAFE for Priority courses offered by Chisholm.  

View the Free TAFE Pathway courses offered at Chisholm

View the Free TAFE Short Courses offered at Chisholm

What do I do if there are no more places in the Free TAFE course I want to do?  

We want to ensure that the training we offer is high quality and that students will be job-ready when they finish. We are doing this by only offering places where we are sure students will have the access to staff, facilities and placement opportunities that they need.  

If we cannot offer you a Free TAFE place in a specific course, there are a number of options that may be available to you including:  

  • Studying the course at another TAFE, if they have Free TAFE places available.  
  • Undertaking a different Free TAFE course that has places available at Chisholm, particularly courses in the Free TAFE pathways initiative.  
  • Undertaking a different non-Free TAFE course at Chisholm. If you are eligible for funding, you will receive a government subsidised place.

Where else can I do a Free TAFE course?  

You can undertake Free TAFE courses at Victorian TAFE institutes, including universities that offer TAFE courses. To find a course near you, visit https://www.vic.gov.au/free-tafe or contact the Training and TAFE line on 131 823.

Does it cover all my fees?  

If you are eligible, Free TAFE pays the tuition fees for your whole course. TAFEs may charge you other fees, such as student services fees or materials fees that you will have to pay for yourself. You may be eligible to apply for a scholarship through the Caroline Chisholm Education Foundation to cover the additional fees.

Can I do a course that is not on the Free TAFE list?  

Only courses on the Free TAFE list are tuition fee-free, but there are around 1,000 courses you can do at TAFEs and other training providers that are Victorian Government-subsidised.  

While some tuition fees may apply for Victorian Government-subsidised training, you may be eligible for a concession or you may be eligible to apply for a scholarship through the Caroline Chisholm Education Foundation. 

Check the Victorian Skills Gateway to find Victorian Government-subsidised courses near you and your training provider can check if you are eligible for a concession.

What is the difference between government-subsidised training and Free TAFE courses?  

Victorian Government-subsidised training is when the Government pays a large portion of the cost of your training if you are eligible, and you make a contribution, by paying fees. It's been around for a while and there are around 1,000 subsidised courses you can do at TAFEs and other training providers.  

Courses on the Free TAFE list are subsidised too, but the Government will also pay your tuition fees if you’re eligible.

I am doing a course that will be on the Free TAFE list next year. Will I get a refund on fees I pay for this year?  

No. Free TAFE only applies to eligible students who enrolled in a course that was already deemed a Free TAFE course at the time of enrolment.

I am doing a course now. Should I drop out and start again next year when it might be added to the Free TAFE course list?  

If you are currently undertaking training and you are happy with your course, you should complete it, especially if you have a Victorian Government subsidised place. There are limits on the number of times you can commence courses and stay eligible for subsidised training, so dropping out and restarting could mean you become ineligible.

If you are thinking of dropping out for any reason, talk to the careers guidance staff at your training provider, or visit a Skills and Jobs Centre near you. Skills and Job Centres are based in or near TAFEs across Victoria and provide expert advice on training and employment opportunities.

If I do a Free TAFE course, will I get a job?  

The Free TAFE courses are in areas where there are likely to be more jobs in the future.  

When you finish your course, a Skills and Jobs Centre can help you search for a job and support you to prepare your resume.

How many Free TAFE courses can I do tuition free?  

Unless your course is part of the Free TAFE Pathways program, Free TAFE will cover your tuition fees for one course only.  Once you have started a Free TAFE course, you can’t get a tuition-free place again, even if you don’t finish your first tuition-free priority course. 

The Free TAFE Pathways initiative enables students to undertake more than one Free TAFE course but is only available to students who: 

  • have completed a course that is part of a Free TAFE pathway; and  
  • are seeking to commence another Free TAFE program in the same pathway.   

If your course is a Free TAFE Pathways course, Free TAFE will cover the tuition fees of all TAFE courses undertaken in that designated Free TAFE pathway.  

You need to make a careful choice, so talk to your local TAFE or Skills and Jobs Centre if you are unsure.

Where can I find out more?  

For more information, you can contact the Training and TAFE line on 131 823 or visit https://www.vic.gov.au/free-tafe.