TAFE and VET funding options explained

If you’ve decided that TAFE or VET is the best option for you after leaving high school, but you’re confused about the fees or just worried about whether you can afford it. There are options for you to investigate.


Subsidised Training

You may have come across the term “subsidised training”. This means that either the Australian Government or a specific State Government has put money towards certain courses to reduce their costs for students.

You do need to meet some eligibility requirements to access subsidised training, which can vary from state to state. Take a look at the general requirements below:


  • Australian or NZ Citizen
  • 15 years or older
  • Not at school
  • Living or working in NSW, OR;
  • A registered apprentice or trainee


  • Australian or NZ Citizen
  • 15 years or older
  • Not at school or college
  • Living or working in ACT


  • Australian or NZ Citizen
  • 15 years or older
  • Not at school
  • Not hold any Certificate III or higher qualifications


  • Australian or NZ Citizen
  • Under 20, OR;
  • If over 20, enrolling in a course with a higher level qualification than any you have previously studied, OR;
  • You are unemployed or a retrenched worker


  • Australian or NZ Citizen
  • 16 years or over and not at school, OR;
  • If you are still at school, you must be training through the Training Guarantee for SACE Students (TGSS)


  • Australian or NZ Citizen
  • WA resident
  • Not at school


  • Australian or NZ Citizen
  • 15 years or older
  • NT resident
  • Not at school


  • Australian or NZ Citizen
  • Of working age (16)
  • Tasmanian resident
  • Not at school

Subsidised courses could mean either their fees are reduced so you’ll have to pay a smaller amount, or in some cases the courses may be completely free.

Not every course is subsidised, and those that are differ between states depending on the current level of funding from the government. Most states will have a list of subsidised courses that are decided based on whether those skills are currently in demand. This means that the list of subsidised courses can change from year to year.

You can use the following resources to find subsidised courses for each state:

If you search for a course on the MySkills website, it will also tell you whether the course is subsidised or not.


VET Student Loans 

VET Student Loans (VSLs) are another way to help with the costs of your course. To be eligible for a VSL, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolling in a Diploma or Advanced Diploma (foundation and certificate level studies are ineligible)
  • Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Have finished year 12 or equivalent
  • Have a Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Have a USI

These loans work in a similar way to FEE-HELP loans for universities. The government will cover some or all of the cost of your course, which you don’t have to repay until you start earning a certain amount.

Only some courses are eligible for VSLs. Searching for a course on the MySkills website will tell you whether the course you’re interested in is eligible.

There is a limit to how much you can borrow under VSLs, called the “loan cap”. The loan cap amount is different depending on the course you study. Some providers may offer courses that cost more than the loan cap. In these cases, you will need to pay the difference between the course cost and the loan cap.

For example, you might want to study a Diploma of Business. The loan cap for this course in 2019 is $5,171. The place you want to study the course has a fee of $6,000. Therefore you will need to pay the $829 difference directly to the course provider.

To apply for a VSL, you need to fill out an electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form for VET Student Loans (eCAF), and submit it before the course provider’s census date.

You can find more information on VET Student Loans, including on how to apply, here.


Some course providers will reduce the cost of your course if you meet certain criteria. These can be things such as:

  • You receive Centrelink benefits
  • You or your family has a low income
  • You come from a rural or regional area
  • You have experienced family or domestic violence
  • You live in social or public housing

Whether or not you can receive a concession will depend on the course you are studying and the course provider. You are usually asked to provide relevant information upon enrolling, so that the course provider can automatically determine whether you are eligible for a concession.

Once you’ve decided on a course, contact the providers directly to find out if you’d be eligible for any concessions and how to go about applying.



Just like university study, there are plenty of scholarships available out there for VET as well. Take a look at our Scholarships Database to find some that might be right for you.

Many course providers also list any relevant scholarships on their website.


Don’t give up

If you’ve explored all the funding options and you’re still not sure if you’re eligible for any help, contact training providers directly. They could suggest other options that might suit you or offer you a payment plan that’s manageable.

Once you’ve got your funding sorted, it’s time to apply – find out the simple steps to applying in our blog.

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