What is Free TAFE for Priority Courses?
Free TAFE for Priority Courses 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 for Priority Courses start?
Free TAFE for Priority Courses started on 1 January, 2019.

When does Free TAFE for Priority Courses finish?
The Victorian Government will advise if and when Free TAFE for Priority Courses 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 for Priority Courses?
Any Australian citizen or permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen is eligible to do a Free TAFE course in Victoria if they meet one of the following criteria:

Under 20 or upskilling

  • are under 20 (regardless of any other qualifications), or
  • are 20 or older and enrolling in a course that is a higher qualification than you've previously attained.

Needing additional support

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

Which courses will be tuition-free priority courses in 2020?

Free TAFE for Priority Courses covers tuition fees for priority courses for students who are eligible for government-subsidised training. This includes 42 priority non-apprenticeship courses and 20 apprenticeship pathway courses. The Victorian Government has applied limited commencements in 6 Free TAFE courses in 2020.

View the Free TAFE for Priority Courses offered by Chisholm.

Which courses will be limited in 2020?
In addition the State Government has applied a limit to the number of students who can commence the following Free TAFE courses in 2020

  • Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping (FNS40217)
  • Certificate III in Education Support (CHC30213)
  • Certificate IV in Education Support (CHC40213)
  • Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015)
  • Diploma of Justice (22320VIC)
  • Certificate IV in Youth Work (CHC40413)

Additionally the Certificate IV in Business (non-Free TAFE) has a limited number of commencements.

Why are some Free TAFE course commencements being limited in 2020?
Given the high volume of students training in Free TAFE in 2019, management in a small number of courses is needed in 2020 to align training in Free TAFE with Victoria’s jobs market.

Most of the Free TAFE courses that will be constrained in 2020 have experienced extremely high levels of growth in 2019, and carefully managing the number of places in these courses going forward will ensure that graduates have the best opportunity to obtain a job.

Free TAFE is about training that leads to jobs, so it’s critical that we don’t create an oversupply of skilled workers.

What if I have already enrolled in one of the courses that will have limited commencements in 2020?
These changes apply from 1 January 2020 and do not affect students who are already training and commenced their course in 2019.

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 available to you:

  • There may still be an opportunity for you to study the course, based on payment of the full-fee tuition rate.
  • There may be an opportunity for you to study the course at another TAFE, if they have Free TAFE places available.
  • You could do a different Free TAFE course that has places available at Chisholm.
  • You could do 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 Free TAFE for lots of jobs for a list of Free TAFE courses at Victorian TAFE providers.

Where can I do tuition-free priority courses?
You can do Free TAFE courses at Victorian TAFE institutes, including universities that offer TAFE courses. To find a course near you, contact the Training and TAFE line on 131 823.

Does it cover all my fees?
If you are eligible, Free TAFE for Priority Courses 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.

Free TAFE courses delivered via Chisholm Online are completely free, with no additional fees to pay.

Can I do a course that's not on the Free TAFE for Priority Courses list?
Only the courses on the tuition-free priority course 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's the difference between government-subsidised training and Free TAFE for Priority 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 tuition free priority course list are subsidised, but the Government will also pay your tuition fees, if you’re eligible.

I am doing training now in a course on the Tuition Free Priority Course list. Will I get a refund on fees I pay for this year?
No. Free TAFE for Priority Courses only applies to eligible students who enrolled in a tuition free priority course that commenced after 1 January 2019.

I am doing training now. Should I drop out and start again next year, when Free TAFE for Priority Courses come in?
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 TAFEs across Victoria and provide expert advice on training and employment opportunities.

If I do a Free TAFE for Priority Course, will I get a job?
The tuition-free priority 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 for Priority Courses will pay your tuition fees for one course.

Once you have commenced in a tuition-free priority 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. Please note, exemption to the eligibility requirements will not be available to students applying for the following Free TAFE courses at Chisholm in 2020:

  • Certificate III in Education Support (CHC30213)
  • Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping (FNS40217)
  • Certificate IV in Education Support (CHC40213)
  • Certificate IV in Youth Work (CHC40413)
  • Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015)
  • Diploma of Justice (22320VIC)
  • Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115)
  • Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services (CPC40912).

Where can I find out more?
For more information, please feel free to contact the Training and TAFE line on 131 823 or visit https://www.vic.gov.au/free-tafe.