Study Jargon

Home » Study Jargon

Here are some definitions for study related words. If there are any other words you would like us to clarify, email us in the form below!


For Semester 1 Round offers (to start in February) – everyone must apply through VTAC.

If you are applying for mid-year entry, you can apply directly to the TAFE or University.


When you receive an offer (or a few!) to study at a private college, TAFE or university, first choose which course you want to study.
To pick the course you want to study, you accept the offer.

For example:

Tom applies for two different courses: Electrotechnology Studies and Business Management. A few months later, he receives offers for both courses. Holmesglen TAFE offers Tom a place in the Electrotechnology course, and Box Hill Institute offers him a place in the Business Management course. Now Tom needs to choose which course he wants to do. A few days later, he decides he wants to become an electrician, so he accepts the offer for the course at Holmesglen TAFE.

Census date

All TAFE and universities have Census Dates each semester. After the Census Date, you cannot change your subjects and subject fees will be added to your HECS or FEE-HELP account.

Prior to this date (usually 4 weeks into the semester) you can withdraw from the course, defer or change the subjects you are studying. If you need more information, please ask the Student Centre at your educational institution.

CSP (Commonwealth Supported Place)

CSP means the government pays part of the fees for your course. You will need to pay the rest of the fees.

If the student is not able to pay their share of the course fee up front, then the student may apply for HECS-HELP.

Read more about Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) here.

For more information about HECS-HELP, click here.


If you have not yet accepted your offer into a course, you can defer your study for six months or one year. This is called deferral. This means the course keeps a place for you to study six months or one year later.

If you have enrolled into a course, or you want to take a study break during your course, then you can apply for Leave of Absence. This is similar to the ‘defer’ option. Leave of Absence can also be six months or one year.


When you have accepted your offer, you need to complete the process of selecting the subjects you will study, paying fees if you need to, and registering your details with the institution you are studying at. You cannot attend classes until you have followed these steps. This process is called enrolment.

If you need assistance with any stages of the enrolment process, contact student services, or follow links for enrolment support in the online enrolment guide on the institution’s website.

For example:

Tom accepts the offer to study at Holmesglen TAFE. He gets an email with instructions about how to enrol online. He will need some documents to prove his identity, as well as his Tax File Number and Centrelink Concession Card. He completes an online Language, Literacy and Numeracy assessment and creates a student record. Then he completes the steps for enrolment on-line.

Fee paying place

Fee paying place means the student has to pay full fees for their course. There is no government funding available for this place.


In Victoria, tuition fees are not charged for TAFE courses the government wants to prioritise. This is called Free TAFE.

View courses in the Free TAFE list on this page.

Read who is eligible for Free TAFE on this page.

Government subsidised training place

A government-subsidised place may be available in some courses offered by TAFE and private colleges.

This means the Australian Government will pay part the cost of the course. The student paying the other part of the fees can also apply for VET FEE-HELP if they cannot afford to pay the fees.

Read more about government-subsidised training places.


If a student enrols in a Commonwealth Supported Place and cannot pay their part of the course fee, the student can apply for HECS-HELP. HECS-HELP is a loan from the Australian Government. The loan is repaid when you start working.

For more information about HECS-HELP,  click here.

Offer round

There are different types of offers:

  • Early Offer round (only for non-Year 12 applicants)
  • Round 1 offers (January)
  • Round 2 offers (February)
  • Mid-year offer round (June)

If you did not get an offer for a course in Round 1, there is still a chance you will be offered a place in Round 2, or you can apply again for mid-year entry.The dates for all offer rounds change from year to year. For the latest information about offer rounds, follow this link to the VTAC website page.

RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning )

If you already have experience, qualifications or have completed units of study in a similar area, you may be able to shorten the length of time you study. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

This means that you won’t have to do some subjects in your course as you already have knowledge of that subject.

Read more about RPL.


The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre or VTAC is an office that handles applications for all Victorian Universities, TAFEs and independent tertiary colleges.

On their website, you can search for courses and find information about fees. You can create an account to apply for courses at several different places at once. 
Visit the VTAC website to find out more.

You can also apply directly to individual TAFEs or Universities. 


If you decide the course is not what you wanted or you cannot continue for other reasons, you can withdraw from the course completely.

If you change your mind, you will have to apply again. It’s a good idea to talk to your DLO, teacher or seek career guidance before you withdraw. If you withdraw before Census date, then you may not be charged any subject fees. If you withdraw after Census date, then you may have to pay full fees even though you will not be finishing the course.

[image-caption-hover id=”1″]


Do you have a question?

Or do you want to improve this page?

Send us a message!