So much of what UNE Life is able to provide is thanks to the Student Services & Amenities Fee, or “SSAF”. The SSAF, was introduced in 2012 after the Australian Government passed legislation for collections to occur, to ensure universities were able to provide services and amenities of a non-academic nature, such as sporting, cultural and recreational activities, orientation programs, student led clubs & societies, and more.
As the provider for services and amenities on campus, UNE Life receives a significant portion of SSAF funding (47% in 2023), and this either directly provides, or contributes to, a number of programs and services.
The University charges the SSAF fee in different ways (per 6 credit points for domestic course work) and has established a SSAF consultative committee to determine funding allocations year to year.
You can find out more information on how the University manages the SSAF process here.
Below, is an overall fly-over of how UNE Life receives and uses the SSAF funding we receive. If you would like a more in-depth discussion of how we’re using the fee, or would like to offer feedback throughout the year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
UNE Life receives SSAF funding in arrears. That is to say that we expend the money for the activity, and then provide actuals to the University to be reimbursed for the real cost of conducting that activity.
For example: UNE Life may receive an application for $1200 of Clubs Funding from the underwater basket-weaving society. UNE Life will deposit the full $1200 into the Society’s bank account, however when acquitting that money it becomes clear that the Society used only $1000.
Consequently, $200 is reimbursed to the Clubs program, and only the $1000 is charged to SSAF.
We find this is the most effective way of managing SSAF and maintaining actual costs.
The funding UNE Life receives from SSAF either directly covers or contributes to key student services & amenities. These services are continuously shaped and informed through review processes and feedback, either on specific projects or as part of ongoing measurement such as our Annual Experience Survey.
The graph below provides a comparative breakdown of the allocation of UNE Life SSAF funds, however individual services or areas include:
Some people might see the money being handed over the counter at SportUNE and ask the question: “why do you need SSAF funding when you have commercial income?”
A part of this question is easy – we provide pure student services that attract no income at all. If we continue the example of SportUNE, these services includes UniSport, MBPT, and the staffing associated with this. SSAF is generous to provide funding for us to be able to offer these programs.
Then there is the contribution component.
SportUNE is of course an impressive facility, with hectares of playing fields, fitness facilities, group fitness rooms, a stadium, an AFL oval, the list goes on. We boast some of the most impressive sport participation rates in the country and our facilities are always in use during Trimester. The cost to maintain these facilities across the entire year, however, is real. In fact, if UNE Life were to charge the real cost of membership to maintain these facilities, membership would be closer to $1000 per annum.
Of course, we aim to provide just the opposite and ensure that students are able to access our facilities at a cost that is more aligned with what they can afford.
The contributions that SportUNE receive enable students and student clubs to make use of the facilities throughout the year, at a rate reasonable to them. The same is true across entertainment, food, and beverage services.