Prices, fees and loadings


The NSW Government implements the fee arrangements for government-subsidised vocational education and training (VET).

Qualification price

In line with the recommendations of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), the qualification price is the efficient cost of delivering training to a ‘standard' student. A standard student lives in a metropolitan area and is not eligible for a disadvantaged student price loading.

The qualification price is calculated to cover the costs associated with training delivery and assessment, including teaching staff, administration, utilities, course-specific costs and capital costs. It covers both variable and fixed costs.

A fixed qualification price has been set for each qualification on the NSW Skills List.

Student fees

Students and government both contribute towards the full cost of training and assessment through fees and subsidies.

View Smart and Skilled prices, fees and subsidies for students.

The Smart and Skilled Fee Administration Policy provides examples of incidental costs to students over and above the student fee. Typical additional costs to students include optional training equipment that a student chooses and can keep after completing the training or field trips and associated expenses like food and transport. No additional fees are to be charged to students for training delivery or assessment services.


Loadings are a top-up to the subsidy paid to the training provider. They compensate training providers for the typical additional costs associated with providing training to specific categories of students. This is important for meeting equity objectives, as it ensures there is no financial disincentive for training providers to enrol these students.

There are two types of loadings: needs and location.

Loadings for disadvantaged students

A needs loading of 15 per cent of the qualification price is paid to training providers for delivering training to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and to students with disabilities.

A loading of 10 per cent of the qualification price is paid to training providers for delivering training to long-term unemployed students.

Location loadings

Eligibility for the location loading is based on the student's home address for the majority of the time they are training.

The loading provides an additional 10 per cent of the qualification price on top of the subsidy paid to the provider for students in regional locations and 20 per cent for students in remote locations.

Eligibility for a regional or remote loading is based on Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) categories:

  • Regional includes the ARIA category ‘Inner Regional'. Examples include Lithgow, Taree and Yass.
  • Remote includes the ARIA categories ‘Outer Regional', ‘Remote' and ‘Very Remote'. Examples include Broken Hill, Condobolin, Narrabri and Tenterfield.

Approved Smart and Skilled training providers who deliver courses 100 per cent online are not eligible for location loadings applied to those courses.

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Page last updated: 30 March 2021