On 11 October 2011, the Australian Parliament passed legislation allowing universities and other higher education providers to charge a fee for student services and amenities of a non-academic nature. This fee is known as the student services and amenities fee (SSAF).
The fee may be spent by higher education providers on items such as sporting and recreational activities, employment and career advice, childcare, financial advice and food services from 2012.
All student cohorts must pay the SSAF, though in some instances a government funded loan scheme, called SA-HELP, will be available, enabling eligible students to defer payment. Students paying the SA fee up-front must pay by the standard tuition fee payment deadlines.
For the purposes of the services and amenities fee, the academic year is divided into two halves.
- First half of the year includes summer session, first semester and autumn session.
- Second half of the year includes winter session, second semester and spring session.
The following student groups are exempt from paying the SSAF:
- Students enrolled in transnational offshore programs;
- inbound exchange students;
- higher degree research students who submit within January for first semester and July for second semester;
- international higher degree research students who are on an extension of program and are offshore
- all cross-institutional inbound students;
- students enrolled the Bachelor of Studies with concurrent full-time enrolment at a secondary school or secondary college;
- students enrolled in ANU courses through Open Universities Australia (OUA).
Students enrolled in following programs are exempt from paying the SSAF:
- 3050 Bachelor of Studies
- 5132 Graduate Non-award Legal Workshop
- 6303 Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice
- 6828 Graduate Diploma in Military and Defence Studies
- 6829 Graduate Certificate in Military and Defence Studies
- 7828 Master of Military and Defence Studies (Advanced)
- 7829 Master of Military and Defence Studies
- 7835 Master of Environmental Management and Development - Online
The SSAF amount students are required to pay depends on their study load.
- Full-time is equal to 18 units or greater in a half-year period.
- Part-time is equal to less than 18 units in a half-year period.
- $313 for full-time students
- $156.50 for part-time students
Example scenario 1
If Mary enrols in 24 units in first semester 2021 she will be required to pay $156.50. If she then enrols in 24 units in second semester she will be required to pay another $156.50. This totals $313.00 for the year.
Example scenario 2
If Mary enrols in 6 units in summer session 2021 she would be required to pay $78.25 because she is part-time. If she then enrolled in 18 units in first semester 2021 Mary would be required to pay another $78.25 making a total of $156.50 for summer session and semester one combined because she is now full-time.
Example scenario 3
If Mary was to enrol in 6 units in summer session 2021 she would be required to pay $78.25. If she then enrolled in 6 units in first semester 2021 Mary would still be part-time so she wouldn't be required to pay anything further. However, if Mary was to then enrol in autumn session in 6 units she would then be required to pay another $78.25 because she would now be considered to be full-time.
In 2020 the University looked at the past practices of the SSAF and feedback from service providers on previous processes used over the past five years, as well as processes used by other universities of similar standing, size, or location. What we found was:
- past allocations of SSAF showed that for the last few years, whichever allocation process is used, the allocation percentage has been roughly the same to each service provider.
- Significant disruptions to student services and programs supported by SSAF in 2020, including the postponement of some activities to 2021, and how this may be affected by changes to funding.
- feedback from many service providers described the large amount of work and effort that went in to the bidding process, several identifying that this felt like wasted effort when there was little change to the funding levels.
- feedback from many service providers was the bidding process involved negative commentary by other providers on their services or programs which made the process difficult and more onerous.
The 2021 allocation proposal
For 2021 we proposed to allocate the SSAF funding by percentages as a budget envelope to service providers, who are then able to determine how to manage the services and programs they deliver.
The intent of the process is to increase funding certainty, reduce work and administration on providers in developing bid documentation, and allow providers to reallocate funding between services and programs throughout the year to meet the needs of students.
The percentages are based on the percentage allocations in 2019 and 2020 to service providers:
|Service Providers to Receive Funding
|ANU Sports and Recreation
|Student Service Teams (ANU services)
|Research Training (PARSA/Dean HDR)
|Reserved for financial management training for student-run organisations
Priorities for students in 2021
The University released a survey to all students with ten categories of priorities for services and programs in 2021. This information was circulated to service providers to inform the decisions of the priorities for SSAF. The results of the survey are available on the right-hand menu bar (2020 SSAF Survey Report).
The top two priorities for SSAF funding as identified by the student body were 'Student support and advice' and 'Health, welfare and well-being'.
On 23 September 2020 service providers were consulted regarding the survey and the priorities to be presented to students in the survey. All service providers except one responded, and all but one provided constructive feedback on the survey. These responses were incorporated into the final survey.
Consultation with student representative groups
On 7 September 2020 the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Student and University Experience, wrote to all service providers who received SSAF funding in 2020 to propose the percentage funding allocation model and the intention to run a survey and its purpose. All service providers except one responded. All responses to this correspondence that were received were positive and supportive of the approach.
A follow up letter was provided on 1 November 2020 to all service providers advising them of the allocation of SSAF using the percentage model and based on the projected revenue from SSAF. Providers are now asked to develop a budget outline of how they will spend the allocation on programs and services, and how these relate to the priorities identified by the student body. The letter also asked them to identify any SSAF that will not be spent in 2021.
Would you like to comment?
Students can comment on the percentage allocation model for 2021 SSAF funding by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAQs about SSAF
What is SSAF?
The student services and amenities fee is an amount charged to students to support the delivery of student services and enrichment programs on campus and for all students.
How much is the SSAF?
The amount to be charged for SSAF is prescribed by the federal government each year and each university determines how to apply the charge. The 2020 and 2021 charges for ANU can be found on this page.
The amount of SSAF available is unknown until students pay the SSAF each semester. To provide funding allocations the University models student numbers to estimate the amount of SSAF likely to be available and this becomes the allocation amount. This was done as part of the University's budget and planning for 2021.
The anticipated SSAF revenue for 2021 is $4,693,000.
Why is there a survey?
The 2020 SSAF survey was a means of directly contacting all students and letting them express their priorities for their fee - what are your high-level interests.
In 2021 the data gathered from the survey is being used to inform service providers in making decisions about the programs and services to run in 2021. It is the responsibility of the service providers to demonstrate how their budget delivers against your priorities with the programs and services they are offering.
The results of the survey are available on the right-hand menu bar (2020 SSAF Survey Report).
Why didn't the survey just let me give my money to a program?
The purpose of the survey is for students' voices to be heard about the priorities that matter to each student for how they would like to see the money they pay used in 2021.
Many SSAF funded services and programs are 'silent' - you don't realise they are there until you need them. The SSAF model allows funding to areas which cannot be funded through centralised funding due to legislation or education guidelines (such as food, legal advice, media outlets). It also allows the providers who work with students everyday to make decisions about what students need and how to best provide the support and enrichment you are seeking from your providers.
What if I want to say something about the process or the survey?
If you would like to share your views on the survey or the 2021 process you can email the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Student and University Experience at email@example.com.
Why can't the University give the same amount each year for SSAF?
The SSAF is a fee-based system, where the money collected is the money available for allocation. As student numbers rise and fall, so does the amount of SSAF available. This has been seen in past years where the SSAF funding collected has changed from year to year.
In 2021 we know that we will have less students at ANU, which will mean less students contributing to the SSAF, and a smaller funding pool than in the last few years. The proposed approach maintains the percentage allocation - which means that service providers will receive the same portion of funding. Under the proposed model service providers could continue to provide the same services at an appropriate scale, or to reshape their service offering to better meet the needs and priorities of the student body.
This section of FAQs is new for the ANU SSAF website. If you found this page useful, or would like other questions answered, please email firstname.lastname@example.org