Free TAFE for Priority Courses

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

These priority courses lead to occupations that are needed most by employers in the Victorian economy.

Free TAFE for Priority Courses available at Swinburne in 2019

Students who are 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 following courses at Swinburne in 2019:

Non-apprenticeship courses

Apprenticeship pathway courses

Eligibility

If you’re eligible, the Free TAFE for Priority Courses initiative will cover the tuition fees for the duration of your course. You’ll still need to pay for other fees, such as graduation fees and materials fees.

Any Australian citizen or permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen is eligible to do Free TAFE for Priority Courses in Victoria if they meet the following criteria:

Under 20 or upskilling

  • aged under 20 (regardless of any other qualifications they might hold); or
  • 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; or
  • 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.

Further information

For more information about fees visit our fees page.

Eligible students can access this initiative only once, even if you do not complete your priority course. So you need to consider your training choice carefully.

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.

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.

If you are eligible for a Government subsidy (Skills First), then the Government will also pay your tuition fees for the Free TAFE for Priority Courses. It starts 1 January 2019.

Who is eligible for Free TAFE for Priority Courses?

Any Australian citizen or permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen is eligible to do Free TAFE for Priority Courses in Victoria if they meet the following criteria:

Under 20 or upskilling

  • aged under 20 (regardless of any other qualifications they might hold); or
  • 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; or
  • 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.

Other information

Eligible students can access this initiative only once, even if you do not complete your priority course. So you need to consider your training choice carefully.

Asylum Seekers who are eligible under Skills First might also be eligible to apply for this program.

Visit our fees page for more information, or talk to us if you are unsure.

Does it cover all my fees?

If you are eligible, Free TAFE for Priority Courses pays the tuition fees for your whole course.

You’ll still need to pay for other fees, such as graduation fees and materials fees.

When does Free TAFE for Priority Courses start?

Free TAFE for Priority Courses will start on 1 January 2019.

Swinburne may take applications for Free TAFE for Priority Courses that commence in 2019, during 2018.

Which courses are included in the list of Free TAFE priority courses?

The priority course list includes 30 non-apprenticeship courses and 18 courses that provide pathways to apprenticeships (also known as ‘pre-apprenticeships’). For the full list visit the Victorian Government site.

The priority courses lead to occupations in industries where there are likely to be more jobs. Some of them lead to work in important areas like preventing family violence, rolling out the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Victoria and delivering our major infrastructure projects.

The priority non-apprenticeship courses available at Swinburne are:

The apprenticeship pathway courses available at Swinburne are:

Will places for the Free TAFE courses be capped?

There are no current plans to cap Free TAFE courses.  

How many priority courses can I do for free?

Free TAFE for Priority Courses will pay your tuition fees for one course.

Once you have enrolled in a Free TAFE course, you can’t get a Free TAFE place again, even if you don’t finish your first course.

You need to make a careful choice about which course you undertake, so talk to us if you are unsure.

Can I do a course that’s not on the Free TAFE for Priority Courses List?

Only the courses on the Free TAFE course 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 those eligible for subsidy, studying some courses to secure a loan to cover the cost 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. 

In addition, the VET Student Loan program allows those eligible, studying relevant courses to secure a loan to cover the upfront cost of tuition fees.

 

If I study 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.

I’m an interstate student. Will I still need to be physically present in Victoria to be eligible?

Yes, the same conditions will apply. You will need be physically present in Victoria while completing your studies.

I started a course in 2018 that’s on the Free TAFE list for 2019, will my units in 2019 be free?

This would be counted as continuing your original enrolment, not a new commencement in 2019, so you would not be eligible for Free TAFE.

Can I apply for a Certificate IV if I’ve completed a Diploma or higher prior to 2019?

You may still be eligible. We recommend talking to our staff to discuss your options.

Please contact us so we can give you advice based on your scenario.

Can I withdraw from a Free TAFE course in 2018 and re-enrol in 2019 to get the zero fee?

If you are currently training and 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 withdrawing and restarting could mean you become ineligible.
 
If you’ve already enrolled in 2018 into a course on the Free TAFE list, you can withdraw and re-enrol into the same course, however the fee waiver will only apply to the unfinished portion of your course. 
 
Remember, you can only access a Free TAFE place for one priority course, even if you don't finish it, so it's important to make a careful choice.
 
We strongly recommend talking to our staff first before withdrawing. Visit us at Student HQ, the Swinburne Hub or our Skills and Job Centre at Eastland so we can give you advice based on your scenario.

If I'm enrolled in a course on the Free TAFE for Priority Courses list now, will I get a refund?

No. Free TAFE for Priority Courses only applies to eligible students who enrol in a priority course that commences after 1 January 2019.

Should I withdraw and start again next year, when Free TAFE for Priority Courses comes 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 withdrawing and restarting could mean you become ineligible.

If you are thinking of withdrawing for any reason, talk to our staff at Student HQ, visit the Swinburne Hub or our Skills and Job Centre at Eastland

If my Free TAFE course starts in 2019 and goes for 2 years, will my fees in 2020 remain free?

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. 

Can I apply for authorised leave of absence in 2018 and return to a Free TAFE place in 2019?

If you're enrolled into a course on the Free TAFE course list in 2018 and come back from authorised leave of absence in 2019, this would be counted as continuing your original enrolment and not a new commencement in 2019.

This means you would not be eligible for Free TAFE. 

How will Free TAFE for Priority Courses affect my eligibility for government-subsidised training?

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.

Where can I find out more?

Contact the Training and TAFE line on 131 823 or visit the Victorian Government site.