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General SSAF FAQ
Why was SSAF introduced?
Before Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) legislation was introduced in 2006, most Australian universities charged student union fees, which provided funding for essential student services and facilities.
For example, Western Sydney University charged a Student Union Fee of $364 per year before the Higher Education Support Amendment (Abolition of Compulsory Upfront Student Union Fees) Bill 2005 was introduced.
After compulsory student union fees were abolished, many universities including Western Sydney University subsidised essential student services with funds that would otherwise be used for teaching and research. In 2011, the University spent over $12 million on student services.
The Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010 was passed on 11 October 2011. This legislation allows universities and other higher education providers to charge students a Student Services and Amenities Fee from 1 January 2012.
This amendment aims to restore funding for essential campus services and facilities.
What can SSAF be spent on?
The fee income will be spent according to the legislation and the Student Services, Amenities, Representation and Advocacy Guidelines.
The legislation identifies the following allowable uses of the fee:
- providing food or drink to students on a campus of the higher education 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 programs of study in which they are enrolled
- advising on matters arising under the higher education provider's rules (however described)
- advocating students' interests in matters arising under the higher education provider's rules (however described)
- giving students information to help them in their orientation
- helping meet the specific needs of overseas students relating to their welfare, accommodation and employment.
What are the WSU SSAF funding priorities?
SSAF funding is allocated in two pots; centrally held SSAF funds which support ongoing student services and amenities and funds for new or enhanced services managed by the Office of the Vice President, People and Advancement. The Office of Student and University Planning provide coordination support.
The funding allocated towards new or enhanced services is split into five categories (or funding priorities).
These priorities have been created from student input received directly, via your elected student representatives and from the results of surveys like the Student Satisfaction Survey. The priorities are in line with the legislated allowable uses of SSAF funds listed below and have been endorsed in principle by your elected student representatives and the University Board of Trustees.
The current funding priorities are:
- The Student Representative Council (SRC)
- Long-term strategic projects – including upgrading recreational facilities and developing multipurpose learning and social spaces on all campuses
- Services and amenities including continued support of:
- Occasional child care on all campuses
- The Student Legal Service (since 2013)
- The Online Careers project (introduced in 2013)
- Safe access to study spaces (introduced in 2013)
- Projects that are aligned to the SSAF Evaluation Metrics :
- Student Reach - Number of Students participating in the program.
- Student Engagement - The average number of interactions per student. An interaction is defined as a standard term per event that is relevant to that particular program.
- Student involvement in program delivery - Number of students involved in the planning and/or delivery of the program. e.g. student facilitators and mentors.
- COVID-19 Response - Support student hardship or services that are directly responding to the impact of the pandemic.
- University Clubs and Societies
How does the University ensure SSAF priorities are supported?
The SSAF Governance Framework outlines the principles for student consultation, specifies the funding allocation approach and provides guidelines for program/project evaluation. The Framework also outlines the Terms of Reference for the SSAF Advisory Group.
What does the SSAF Advisory Group do?
The SSAF Advisory Group provides advice regarding:
- The interpretation of responses from the SSAF Priorities Survey and insights from the student body
- The allocation of SSAF funding to projects in priority areas
- Project performance and evaluation
The SSAF Advisory Group comprises:
- Chief of Staff, Office of Vice President People and Advancement (Chair)
- Manager, Student Representation & Participation (Member)
- Five (5) nominated Student Representative Council (SRC) (Members)
I don't think SSAF funding benefits me
If you feel like the current initiatives being funded by the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) do not benefit you, we want to know what services or amenities would be beneficial to a student in your circumstances. Please talk to the Student Representative Council (SRC) as a first step.
Can you put some of the money towards improving parking issues?
Parking is not an allowable use of the SSAF income. The fee income needs to be spent according to the legislation and the Student Services, Amenities, Representation and Advocacy Guidelines. Please see the allowable uses of SSAF for a full list of what we can spend SSAF funds on.
I want better sporting facilities
After receiving your feedback, SSAF funds have been allocated to several projects involving sporting facilities at University campuses. For example, since 2013 there have been upgrades to multipurpose courts on Kingswood, Bankstown, Hawkesbury and Parramatta campuses. And while not a facility, SSAF continues to support representative sport including teams attending Eastern University and Australian University Games.
If there is a particular recreational facility or sporting equipment you would like considered, please consider submitting a funding proposal or contact the Student Events Team
I'm studying through Western Sydney University Online, do I have to pay SSAF?
Yes. WSU Online students pay SSAF fees. See SSAF fee details (opens in a new window).