Free TAFE for Priority Courses
Free TAFE for Priority Courses is a Victorian Government initiative that covers tuition fees for students who are eligible for government-subsidised training to study one of more than 70 courses from January 2023. These priority courses lead to occupations that are needed most by employers in the Victorian economy.
Free TAFE for Priority Courses available at Swinburne
Students eligible for Victorian Government-subsidised training can access the Free TAFE for Priority Courses initiative to have their tuition fees covered when they study one of the courses in these study areas at Swinburne:
- Certificate II in Building and Construction Pre-apprenticeship – Bricklaying
- Certificate II in Building and Construction Pre-apprenticeship – Carpentry
- Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building)
- Diploma of Building and Construction (Building)
- Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start)
- Certificate IV in Engineering
- Certificate III in Horticulture
- Certificate II in Plumbing (Pre-apprenticeship)
- Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services (Operations)
- Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety
- Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy)
- Graduate Certificate in Client Assessment and Case Management
- Certificate IV in Community Services
- Diploma of Community Services
- Certificate IV in Disability
- Diploma of Emergency Health Care
- Certificate III in Health Services Assistance
- Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing)
- Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability)
- Certificate IV in Mental Health
- Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work
- Diploma of Nursing
- Certificate IV in Youth Work
Eligibility for Free TAFE for Priority Courses
If you are eligible, the Free TAFE for Priority Courses initiative will cover the tuition fees for the duration of your course. You will still need to pay for other fees, such as graduation fees and materials fees.
Any Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen is eligible for Free TAFE for Priority Courses in Victoria.
Criteria to participate
Eligible students can only access a Free TAFE for Priority Courses fee waiver once, even if you do not complete your priority course, so you need to consider your training choice carefully.
There are two exceptions to this rule. You may still be able to access this initiative if:
- the only previous Free TAFE fee waiver you received was under the JobTrainer initiative; or
- you previously completed a course (whether government-subsidised, including under Free TAFE, or fee for service) that is part of a Free TAFE pathway, and you are commencing another course in the same pathway
What is a Free TAFE pathway?
A pathway is where you can move from one qualification to the next (e.g. from certificate to diploma), sometimes with academic credit.
Free TAFE pathways are Victorian Government's designated pathways that allow you to access fee waivers for more than one course on the Free TAFE for Priority Courses list.
However, you will need to complete the designated pathway – you would not be eligible for a fee waiver for a certificate from one pathway and a diploma from another!
Designated pathways for Free TAFE programs at Swinburne
|Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping||
Diploma of Accounting
|Certificate IV in Building and Construction||Diploma of Building and Construction (Building)
|Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care||Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care|
Certificate IV in Community Services
Certificate IV in Mental Health
Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work
Certificate IV in Youth Work
|Diploma of Community Services|
Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing)
Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability)
Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy)
Certificate IV in Disability
|Diploma of Nursing|
Frequently asked questions
You may opt in for Free TAFE when completing the eligibility criteria section of your course application. If you opted ‘no’ to Free TAFE and once you have commenced your course, we will be unable to consider your request to opt in for Free TAFE.
Under the Victorian Government-subsidised training, the government pays a large portion of the cost of your training if you are eligible, and you make a contribution by paying fees.
If you are eligible for Free TAFE Priority Courses, the government will pay your tuition fees for your course.
Any Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or New Zealand citizen is eligible to do Free TAFE for Priority Courses, as long as you are physically in Victoria for the duration of your studies.
If you are eligible, Free TAFE for Priority Courses pays the tuition fees for your whole course.
You will still need to pay for textbooks (if there are any) and other miscellaneous fees, such as graduation fees and materials fees.
Unless you previously completed a course if a Free TAFE pathway program and are commencing another course in the same pathway, Free TAFE for Priority Courses will pay your tuition fees for one course.
Once you have enrolled in a Free TAFE course, you cannot get a Free TAFE place again, even if you do not finish your existing course.
You need to make a careful choice about which course you undertake, so talk to us if you are unsure.
Only the courses on the Free TAFE for Priority Courses list will have their tuition fees covered by the initiative, but there are other courses you can do at Swinburne where you may be eligible for subsidised fees.
The VET Student Loan program allows eligible students who are studying relevant courses to secure a loan to cover the upfront cost of tuition fees. While some tuition fees may apply for Victorian Government-subsidised training, you may be eligible for a concession.
Visit our fees page to find out more about eligibility.
The Free TAFE for Priority Courses are in areas where there are likely to be more jobs in the future.
The Victorian Government is guaranteeing employment for students who graduate from the Diploma of Community Services between 1 September 2022 and 31 August 2024, as part of The Social Services Jobs Guarantee.
Yes, you will need to be physically present in Victoria while completing your studies to be eligible.
No, this would be counted as continuing your existing enrolment (not a new commencement in 2023), so you would not be eligible for a fee waiver for your 2023 units.
Yes, you can. Your eligibility for a Free TAFE for Priority Courses fee waiver will depend on whether you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or an Australian permanent resident, and whether you have previously commenced a Free TAFE for Priority Course.
Yes. The fee waiver for a Free TAFE course lasts the duration of your course, regardless of its length or the time it takes to complete.
Courses undertaken as Free TAFE for Priority Courses are treated the same way as any other course you have undertaken, for the purpose of determining whether you are eligible for further Victorian Government-subsidised training.
Talk to us about whether you will have future Victorian Government-subsidised training options.
Skills First program
Skills First is a Victorian Government program that can help you access vocational education and training. If you’re eligible, the government will contribute to the cost of your training.
Swinburne Skills and Jobs Centre
Qualified career support could be just a call or email away. Whether you’re just starting out or changing career, take advantage of Swinburne Skills and Job Centre’s free, government-funded career and jobs service.
Want to speak to us?
We’re here to help. Book a one-on-one consultation with an adviser to help you understand your options.