Eligibility criteria for government-subsidised training 

To be eligible for a government-subsidised place, you must meet various eligibility criteria and the course you’ve applied for must also be offering government-subsidised places. 

You can check if you are eligible for a government-subsidised place by using the government’s online Victorian Skills Gateway Eligibility Indicator.

Note: This indicator is to be used as a guide only. It does not guarantee you a government-subsidised place in a Swinburne nationally recognised course. Swinburne will determine your eligibility by conducting a full assessment of your eligibility during the course application process.

An apprentice is a person who has entered into a registered training contract to study a qualification defined as an apprenticeship in a relevant Victorian Approved Training Scheme. 

You are not considered an apprentice if you: 

  • have entered into a training contract registered interstate; 
  • are undertaking a pre-apprenticeship; or 
  • have a registered training contract in a qualification defined as a traineeship in a relevant Victorian Approved Training Scheme.

If you’re an apprentice, you only need to provide proof that you meet the location, citizenship and education history criteria in order to be eligible for a government-subsidised place.

If you’re commencing an apprenticeship and have already started or are scheduled to start qualifications on the Victorian Government's list of 2020 Pre-Apprenticeship and Pathway Qualifications [PDF 17KB], you may still be eligible to enrol in two other vocational education programs in a government-subsidised place.

Please review our 2020 Foundation Skills List to check if you are eligible for a government-subsidised place. 

You must: 

  • provide proof that you meet the location and citizenship criteria, and 
  • meet the education history criteria. 


You must not

  • hold a diploma level or higher qualification issued by an Australian provider; or 
  • be enrolled in the Commonwealth Government’s Skills for Education and Employment program. 

Free TAFE for Priority Courses is a Victorian Government initiative that will pay a student’s tuition fees, if eligible for government-subsidised training, to study one of 30 non-apprenticeship courses and 18 apprenticeship pathway courses (sometimes called pre-apprenticeships) from 1 January 2019. 

Students must first meet the Victorian State Government Eligibility criteria for government-subsidised training which includes location, citizenship and education history, as outlined above. 

Exemptions from some of the Skills First eligibility criteria have been granted for individuals wanting to enrol in the ‘Course in NDIS’ and for individuals who have commenced this course and are enrolling in further study in specific qualifications related to the NDIS. 

View the Government’s Free TAFE for Priority Courses list

Participation in the ‘Course in NDIS’ will not impact an individual’s future Entitlement for Funded Training and will not be taken into account when assessing against the Skills First eligibility criteria. 

Participation in any of the five ‘NDIS Related Qualifications’ will not be taken into account when assessing eligibility for participation in any of the other ‘NDIS Related Qualifications’ during the time period of this initiative (from 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2020). 

Participation in any of the five ‘NDIS Related Qualifications’ will be taken into account when assessing eligibility for participation in any other government subsidised training that is not one of the ‘NDIS Related Qualifications’ during the time period of this initiative (from 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2020) and for the ‘NDIS Related Qualifications’ commencing after 31 December 2020. 

Government special initiatives 

If you’re referred to training under a special government initiative, you may not need to meet certain criteria to be eligible for a Victorian government-subsidised place. 

Specific initiatives include: 


Not eligible for a government-subsidised place? 

If you are ineligible for a government-subsidised place, you may be offered a full-fee place. You can get an estimate of your total course cost by checking the indicative course fees

Fee concessions

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a concession to help reduce the amount of fees you need to pay. 

Concessions on tuition fees are available for government-subsidised training in all courses below diploma level; and for training at any level (including diploma level and above) for Indigenous students. 

Find out if you’re eligible for a fee concession.

Need some assistance?

We’re here to help. If you have any questions about your eligibility for a government-subsidised place or fee concession, contact studentHQ in person or call the team on 1300 794 628 (option 1) and we’ll assist you. 

Ready to apply?

Now that you know if you’re eligible for the Skills First program, why not apply for your course?

How to apply