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 did Free TAFE start? 

Free TAFE started on 1 January 2019

When does Free TAFE finish? 

The Victorian Government will advise if and when Free TAFE will cease. No end date has yet been advised. 

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. 

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 in Victoria if they meet the following criteria: 

  • under 20 or upskilling 
  • aged under 20 (regardless of any other qualifications they might hold) 
  • are 20 or older and enrolling in a course that is a higher qualification than the highest qualification previously attained 
  • Victorians who need additional support. 

Victorians who are: 

  • unemployed and clients of the Jobs Victoria Employment Network 
  • retrenched workers 
  • automotive supply chain workers 
  • looking to change careers. 

Victorians who want to reskill, change careers, improve their employment prospects and/or meet the needs of local industries, subject to availability of TAFE places, and prioritised based on need. It is expected that priority will be given to people impacted by the coronavirus, such as women, young people and migrants, and other vulnerable people. 

Which courses are included in Free TAFE? 

Free TAFE covers tuition fees for priority courses for students who are eligible for government-subsidised training. This includes priority non-apprenticeship courses and apprenticeship pathway courses.  

View the Free TAFE courses offered by 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 workplace-based 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, based on payment of the full-fee tuition rate. 
  • 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. 
  • Undertaking a different non-Free TAFE course at Chisholm. If you are eligible for funding, you will receive a government subsidised place. 

If you would like to explore undertaking a course at another TAFE, please visit https://www.vic.gov.au/free-tafe  

Where else can I do a Free TAFE course? 

You can do 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 cover yourself. 

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. 

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. 

The courses on the Free TAFE list are subsidised, 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 doing 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? 

Free TAFE will pay your tuition fees for one course. 

Once you have commenced 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. 

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

What if I'm ineligible for a Free TAFE course? 

You may be eligible for an exemption to the eligibility requirements, however there are a limited number of exemptions available. 

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