Release type: Media Release


300,000 additional Fee-Free TAFE places to help with cost of living pressures


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training

An additional 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places are being made available from 2024 to 2026, providing cost of living support for Australians choosing to study in priority skills need areas. 

Fee-Free TAFE continues to change lives, address skill shortages and help students by removing financial barriers.

Almost 300,000 students were enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE to 30 September last year, smashing the initial 2023 target of 180,000 enrolments.

Having completed a nationally recognised TAFE qualification at Thursday Island’s TAFE campus, Torres Strait Islander man, Rucia Elu now has job-ready skills and the flexibility to work on construction sites across Australia.

“I now feel comfortable on any job site because I know what’s expected of me, what to do and what is and isn’t safe practice,” Rucia said.

“This course gave me what I was looking for. It taught me the basic knowledge that I needed to work on any job site and the confidence to do it well.”

“The fact that the course is fee-free is a bonus, particularly for mob who have previously been unemployed or are looking to be job-ready quickly.”

Students like Rucia from regional and remote areas made up 36 per cent of Fee-Free TAFE enrolments in 2023.

Fee-Free TAFE has been ‘utterly life-changing’ for Keenan Sneddon, who now has a bright future ahead of him while studying at TAFE Queensland.

“Without my TAFE studies, I would be lost; with no employment prospects and no idea about my future.” says Keenan.

Unemployed since leaving high school in Year 10 and diagnosed with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism, Fee-Free TAFE unlocked opportunities for Keenan to complete high school without incurring debt for his studies.

“Thanks to Fee-Free TAFE, I now have career opportunities as well as the skills to support my young daughter - who has autism - to be properly cared for.”

The additional 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places, available between 2024 and 2026, have been made possible through a Commonwealth investment of $414.1 million, in collaboration with State and Territory Governments.

Fee-Free TAFE provides tuition-free courses to students wanting to train, retrain or upskill in priority areas.

Eligible students can study for an accredited diploma, certificate, or short course without incurring a cost for the tuition fees.

More information on Fee-Free TAFE is available at

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP:

“By removing financial barriers to study, Fee-Free TAFE is giving Australians the best opportunity to secure a stable, well-paid job, by providing training places in areas of high demand and skills need.

“After smashing our Fee-Free TAFE targets in 2023 with almost 300,000 enrolments as at September 30, I’m delighted we’re rolling out an additional 300,000 places from 2024.

“This investment continues our commitment to put TAFE at the centre of the VET system.”