Smart and Skilled introduces new fee arrangements


The NSW Government has introduced new fee arrangements for government-subsidised vocational education and training (VET).

Implemented on 1 January 2015 with Smart and Skilled, they are based on advice from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) and consultation with industry and the community.

New pricing arrangements

Each government-subsidised qualification has a fixed qualification price, a government subsidy and a student fee.

The qualification price represents the efficient cost of training and is the price paid to training providers for course delivery and assessment. The price consists of a government subsidy and a student fee.

The student fee is the amount paid by the student towards the qualification price. Approved Smart and Skilled training providers must charge the set student fee for the qualification that is applicable to the student. Because the fee is fixed, it is the same regardless of which training provider is chosen by the student. Students can enrol with the provider that best meets their needs, and don't have to take into account any difference in price between training providers.

The government subsidy is the difference between the qualification price and the student fee.

How much do students pay?

Eligible Smart and Skilled students contribute, on average, between 10 and 45 per cent of the course cost.

Instead of annual or semester-by-semester fees, Smart and Skilled student fees are for the whole qualification. They take into account the benefit students gain from their training, with the student contribution being generally less for lower-level courses. For example, the student fee for foundation skills courses is only an average 10 per cent of the cost of the qualification.

The exact fee a student pays depends largely on their eligibility. Students can check their eligibility for Smart and Skilled training in the Eligibility Checker. They can then get an estimate of the fee for their preferred course in the Course Finder.

What about disadvantaged students?

If you are eligible to do a Smart and Skilled subsidised course, you may also qualify for fee exemptions or concessions.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and students with disabilities (and their eligible dependants) are exempt from fees for any Smart and Skilled courses for which they are eligible.

Concession fees are available for courses from Foundation Skills to Certificate IV. Students who qualify for concession fees are those in receipt of a specified Australian Government benefit or allowance at the time of their enrolment and eligible dependants of Australian Government welfare benefit recipients.

The NSW Government contributes more towards the cost of training for students who receive a fee exemption or concession for Smart and Skilled training.

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Fees for apprentices and trainees

Under the NSW Government fee-free apprenticeship initiative, NSW apprentices that commence their training on or after 1 July 2018 may be eligible for fee free training. For more information, go to For eligible apprentices there will be no requirement to pay the fee.

For employers of new-entrant trainees undertaking a traineeship qualification on the NSW Skills List, the student fee will not be more than $1,000.

Recognition of prior learning and credit transfer

Where eligible Smart and Skilled students are granted recognition of prior learning or credit transfer for one or more units of competency, the qualification price is adjusted and a new reduced student fee is determined. For more information, view Recognising your existing skills under Smart and Skilled.

Loans for student fees

Students enrolled in Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications may be eligible for VET Student Loans to cover the student fee. Students repay these loans only when they reach a defined income level.

Only certain training providers are approved to offer VET Student Loans. View Student Loans for higher-level courses.

More information

For more information about Smart and Skilled fees, go to the How much will your course cost? page or to the Training Services NSW website.

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Page last updated: 22 January 2020