Smart and Skilled information

Eligibility and evidence requirements for government subsidised training

The NSW Government reform 'Smart and Skilled' changes the way courses are funded and will subsidise eligible students to study courses on the NSW Skills List.

To enrol in a TAFE course you will need to:

See if you are eligible for a NSW Government funded course. You could be if:

  • you are older than 15
  • live and work in NSW
  • are an Australian citizen, permanent resident, humanitarian visa holder, or New Zealand citizen
  • Don't have a qualification higher than a Certificate III, or, if you do, you want to try out an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Regardless of your Smart and Skilled eligibility, we can help you choose to train with TAFE NSW and find a course for you. 

Smart and Skilled scholarship for fee free study

TAFE Western is encouraging all local people between the ages of 15-30 who are eligible for a Government concession and meet Smart and Skilled eligibility to take advantage of these scholarships when they enrol in Certificate I to Certificate IV NSW Skills List courses. The NSW Government is offering ‘Fee-Free Scholarships’ for eligible learners to study fee free under Smart and Skilled, with priority given to young people living in (or on the waiting list for) social housing.

If you are aged between 15 and 30 and meet the eligibility criteria, a Smart and Skilled Fee-Free Scholarship means you may be exempt from paying a course fee. There are 50,000 scholarships available in the 2015/16 financial year.

Find out more about our Fee-Free Scholarships.

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Exemptions and concessions

When you enrol with Western Institute you need to pay the student fee. If you enrol in a government subsidised course you may qualify for a fee exemption or concession.

Aboriginal Students:

Aboriginal Students who meet the general criteria for a Government subsidised training place will be exempt from the student fee.

Find more information on the Smart and Skilled website.

Students with a disability:

From 2016, Students who live or work in NSW who receive a disability support pension, or have a disability and are a client of a Teacher Consultant for students with a disability, will be exempt from fees for any Smart and Skilled training they undertake.  Call Jenelle Copeland for more information on 02 6338 2590.

Eligible students who are dependents of Disability Support Pension recipients will also be exempt from fees for any Smart and Skilled training they undertake.

Proof of disability eligibility:

If you are seeking a fee exemption or concession on the basis of disability when you enrol, we will ask for evidence that you meet the disability eligibility criteria.  This can be documentation for a Disability Support Pension or a written statement from an appropriate specialist or support professional.

If you're the dependent of a disability pension recipient, when you enrol we will ask for evidence that Centrelink accepts you as a dependent.

To understand more fully how Smart and Skilled may impact on students with a disability call Jenelle Copeland on 02 6338 2590. 

Fee concessions:

If you are eligible for government-subsidised training you may be eligible for a fee Concession. Please see the list below for applicable Commonwealth benefits or allowances:
• Age Pension
• Austudy including Veterans Children Education Scheme
• Carer Payment
• Disability Support Pension
• Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment
• Family Tax Benefit Part A (maximum rate)
• Farm Household Allowance
• Newstart Allowance
• Parenting Payment (Single)
• Sickness Allowance
• Special Benefit
• Veteran’s Affairs Pensions
• Verteran’s Children Education Scheme
• Widow Pension including Widow B Pension
• Widow Allowance
• Wife Pension
• Youth Allowance.

Please note:
• Claims for exemption or concession must be made at the time you enrol for the course. It is not possible to change the type of fee you pay after you have commenced training.

Students who are recognised as the dependant child/spouse/partner of a recipient of an eligible benefit or allowance may also be eligible for the concession fee. To find out if you are eligible for a full-fee exemption or concession fee, contact your college before enrolling. Your college can also advise you about what documentation you will need to bring with you to enrol.

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Concession and exemption application forms

If you are applying for a fee exemption or concession fee, you need to complete a Concession or Exemption application form and return it with appropriate documentation to your Western Institute TAFE college:
TAFE NSW Concession Fee application form
TAFE NSW Fee Exemption application form


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Unique Student Identifier (USI)

Get your unique student number - a USI. You can register for your USI here. We can help you do that!


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Recognition of prior learning

At TAFE Western we recognise that you may have skills and knowledge gained through work, life experiences and previous learning which are relevant to your course.We offer Recognition for Prior Leaning (RPL) which may reduce the amount of TAFE study required to obtain a qualification. You can find out more by talking to the teacher/s offering the course that interests you. Contact details for teachers are available in the "locations" section of each Course Description. See if your skills and experience can help you get Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


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 Credit transfer

Credit transfer is the credit given towards a qualification for a unit of competency from a nationally accredited course that you have completed through formal vocation education and training.

Where you are granted a credit transfer for one or more units of competency, the qualification price is adjusted and a new student fee is determined. You can find out more by speaking with your teacher.


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Fee information

Fees will be dependent on whether the course is eligible for Government subsidy (i.e. if it is on the Skills List) and then whether you are individually eligible based on your specific circumstances. The Smart and Skilled website contains more information on eligibility criteria.

You can find out what fee you might need to pay and your eligibility to access government subsidised training by visiting the Smart and Skilled website and using the fee calculator.

Fees for repeat attempts at units of competency

The fee you pay, or the fee exemption, or Smart and Skilled Fee-Free Scholarship you receive, only covers your first attempt at your course, or the first attempt at any unit of competency within your course.  

A separate fee will be charged for any second or further attempt to successfully achieve a unit of competency and as this fee will be determined on your specific circumstances and training needs, this fee would not be known at time of enrolment.

If you would like to repeat a unit of competency you should discuss this with your head teacher as soon as possible.

Issuing additional testamurs

You can request a free replacement academic transcript at any of our Customer Service Centres. You can apply for a replacement testamur at your college of enrolment, by completing the TAFE NSW Application Form for a Replacement Testamur/Confirmation of Award and paying the $75 fee. The $75 fee is charged for lost, damaged or stolen Testamur/Confirmation of Award (COA).

Incidental fees for qualifications

You may be expected to pay for additional materials required for your course over and above the student fee. Talk to your head teacher for more information. You will be issued with a receipt on payment at your local college.

Fee refunds; including withdrawal without penalty

See the TAFE NSW refunds and withdrawals information.

Recovery of outstanding fees

When you enrol with Western Institute you need to pay the student fee. If you enrol in a government subsidised course you may qualify for a fee exemption or concession.

Only when your enrolment is complete and you have paid the applicable fee will you be entitled to attend class, sit for examinations, receive educational awards, use amenities, access services (including travel concessions and childcare places) or receive an active TAFEcard (which provides access to library resources).


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Deferring, transferring or withdrawing students

You are able to defer your Subsidised Training in an Approved Qualification for up to 12 months from the date of receipt of a notice being given in writing to TAFE Western. You can also transfer or withdraw from a course.

We are committed to assisting you to continue your training where possible, and can advise you of the Fee implications of deferring your training. If you defer your training and do not recommence training within the 12 month period you will be required to recommence the eligibility process. Come and talk to us for information to help support you in your learning.


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You can find VET FEE-HELP information here


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Student support services

You can find more information about student support services including; Aboriginal support services, disability support services and learner support here. We want to see you complete your qualification, don't hesitate to ask for help.


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Consumer protection information

TAFE NSW has a reputation as a safe, progressive and dynamic place to study. TAFE NSW aims to provide an environment to support quality vocational education and training to benefit individuals, industry, business and the wider community.

As a TAFE NSW Student you have the right to:

  • expect that the education and training will be consistent with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) regulations and Smart and Skilled Contract requirements
  • be informed about personal information that is collected about you and the right to review and correct that information
  • access to TAFE NSW feedback and complaints handling process.

With rights come responsibilities and as a student in TAFE NSW your responsibilities include:

  • providing accurate and complete information to TAFE NSW
  • behaving in a responsible and ethical manner

A copy of the Smart and Skilled Consumer Protection Strategy is available here.

The Consumer Protection Officer at your Institute is there to assist you. TAFE Western’s Consumer Protection officer is the Director of Customer Service and Facilities. To access support services you can complete an online Consumer Feedback form.

If issues cannot be resolved at the Institute, you can seek assistance or review from an independent organisation including NSW State Training Services on 1300 772 104.

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