Questions and Answers
What is the SSAF?
It is a fee that providers can charge their students for student services and amenities of a non-academic nature, such as sporting and recreational activities, employment and career advice, child care, financial advice and food services. The SSAF amount is indexed annually.
Department of Education and Training - Higher Education Administrative Information for Providers
Who can be charged SSAF?
Any person who is enrolled or seeking to enrol with a provider may be charged a student services and amenities fee regardless of whether the student chooses to use any of those services and amenities. From 2019 the SSAF at UNE applies to student enrolled at UNE - on campus, on-line, Higher Degree Research, International students, non-award and Pathways students.
Can international students be charged a fee?
Yes. The fee currently applies to on campus students and will be extended to online students from Trimester 1, 2020.
Are all students charged the same amount?
The amount can vary per student as it is based on the students study load but SSAF has an annual cap.
Is GST included in the fee?
Are students required to pay the fee even if they do not intend to use any of the services and amenities?
Yes. The fee is payable regardless of whether the student intends to use any of the service and amenities provided.
When do students need to pay the fee?
Invoices are normally available in MyUNE, by the first day of each teaching period being either trimester/semester or research period and is payable on or before the census date of the study period.
Census dates are provided in the UNE Principal Dates
Who is eligible for SA-Help?
Students who are Australian citizens or permanent humanitarian visa holders resident in Australia or eligible New Zealand Citizens.
Further information can also be found online at: www.studyassist.gov.au.
When do students need to lodge their request for SA-Help assistance form?
Students who wish to access Government assistance to defer their Student Services and Amenities Fee through SA‐HELP will need to complete the online form that is part of the enrolment process or the online form available through MyUNE. The form must be submitted on or before the teaching period census date.
Do students need to re-apply for SA-Help each year?
A student is only required to apply for SA‐HELP assistance once for the same course of study.
If a student changes courses or changes providers, the student will need to re‐apply for SA‐HELP.
What can SSAF be used for?
The SSAF can only be spent on the provision of services and amenities that are identified under legislation, these include:
A provider who charges a student services and amenities fee may only spend the fee on the provision or subsidisation of the provision of the following services [HESA section 19-38]:
- providing food or drink to students on a campus of the provider;
- supporting a sporting or other recreational activity by students;
- supporting the administration of a club most of whose members are students;
- caring for children of students;
- providing legal services to students;
- promoting the health or welfare of students;
- helping students secure accommodation;
- helping students obtain employment or advice on careers;
- helping students with their financial affairs;
- helping students obtain insurance against personal accidents;
- supporting debating by students;
- providing libraries and reading rooms, other than those provided for academic purposes for students;
- supporting an artistic activity by students;
- supporting the production and dissemination to students of media whose content is provided by students;
- helping students develop skills for study, by means other than undertaking courses of study in which they are enrolled;
- advising on matters arising under the provider’s rules, however described;
- advocating students’ interests in matters arising under the provider’s rules, however described;
- giving students information to help them in their orientation; and
- helping meet the specific needs of overseas students relating to their welfare, accommodation and employment.
Providers can choose to deliver the services and amenities themselves or contract a third party to deliver the services and amenities on the providers’ behalf.
Will students have a say in how fee revenue is spent?
Yes. Under the Student Services, Amenities, Representation and Advocacy Guidelines (Representation Guidelines), universities are required to have a formal process of consultation with democratically elected student representatives and representatives from major student organisations at the university regarding the specific uses of proceeds from any compulsory student services and amenities fee. These consultations must include:
- publishing identified priorities for proposed fee expenditure and allowing opportunities to comment on those priorities by students and student associations and organisations; and
- meeting with democratically elected student representatives and representatives from major student organisations at the university to consider the priorities for use of fee revenue.
How does the Government monitor expenditure of fee revenue?
Providers are required to certify, on an annual basis, that they charged student services and amenities fees strictly in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003 and the Administration Guidelines made under the Act, including expenditure categories.
Do providers need to publish a schedule of their student services and amenities fee?
Yes. Providers will need to publish a schedule of fees by 1 April if they are charging a fee in the second half of the year and 1 October if they are charging a fee in the first half of the following year.
Can a university carry forward unspent SSAF revenue to forward years?
Yes. Provided that requisite student consultation has taken place and that SSAF revenue is only used for allowable items under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, decisions on the expenditure of SSAF revenue, including the timing of expenditure, are at the discretion of the higher education provider.
What is the process for making a query or complaint?
Any queries or general concerns regarding management of the SSAF can be directed to the UNE Student Support Team by email at: email@example.com. If you wish to make a complaint, please go to the Student Grievance Unit (SGU). The SGU is an independent investigative unit which provides assistance with and the resolution of any student related issues, concerns or complaints submitted by students, staff, residential schools, associated businesses and any entity that undertakes operations on behalf of the University.
How do I have input to the allocation of SSAF?
The best place to start is the UNE SSAF website. This will provide links to relevant legislation, guidelines and supporting material. If you have ideas or thoughts about how the fee is allocated – with the expenditure categories in mind, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org