What is the Student Services & Amenities Fee?
In accordance with the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Act 2011 and the Administration Guidelines 2012 the University of Tasmania (UTAS) determined that a Student Services & Amenities Fee be introduced from Semester 2 2012.
This legislation allows universities and other higher education providers to support services to students through the reintroduction of a compulsory services and amenities fee (removed from 1 July 2006 under different legislation) from 1 January 2012. In addition, the legislation specifies the maximum fee that may be charged to a full time student.
For further information see Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Act 2011, the Higher Education Support Act - Student Services, Amenities, Representation And Advocacy Guidelines and the Higher Education Support Act 2003 Administration Guidelines 2012
What are the funds raised from this fee, allocated to?
The legislation and guidelines behind the fee provides a list of non-academic and non-political services on which universities are permitted to spend the funds. The fee will provide improved services and amenities for all students of the University through increased revenue. In practice, this will mean an increase in the quality and quantity of the services available to you at UTAS.
Universities that charge a SSAF will only be able to spend the funds on the provision of services that fall into one of a limited range of categories and as specified by legislation.
The fees collected cannot be spent on the provision of academic services or be used to support political parties or the election of a person to a Commonwealth, State, Territory Parliament or local Government body. The funds also cannot be used to cover the cost of collecting and administering the SSAF.
For details of the projects that the 2014 SSAF funds will be allocated to, please visit 2014 SSAF.
For details of the projects that the 2013 SSAF funds were allocated to, please see 2013 SSAF.
As a student, can I have a say in what the funds may be allocated to?
UTAS has established a formal and transparent consultation process inviting students and their representative bodies to participate in the process that confirms eligibility, and prioritizes projects for funding. The SSAF Consultation Working Group was established in 2012 to oversee the University’s overall responsibilities and a SSAF Subgroup meets annually to consider submissions from interested parties for funding.
The Working Group and Subgroup consists of University representatives and student representatives nominated by the TUU.
In 2012 both the University and the TUU undertook survey’s to enable students with an opportunity to provide input to the distribution of funds. A full version of the UTAS SSAF 2012 Student Consultation Report can be accessed here (PDF 2.9MB) and the 2012 TUU Report – Student Services and Amenities Fees can be accessed here (PDF 927KB).
Similarly in 2013 and 2014, the University invited broad student input into the distribution of SSAF funds through Student SSAF Surveys. Students were invited to provide feedback on the list of projects submitted to the SSAF Consultation Working Group which helped to inform the final decision making process. Results of the feedback were then reviewed by the Working Group for recommendation to the University's Senior Management Team for endorsement.
A full version of the UTAS SSAF March 2013 Student Consultation Report can be accessed here (PDF 1.5MB) and a full version of the UTAS SSAF February 2014 Student Consultation Report can be accessed here (PDF 3.9MB).
In November 2013 students were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the UTAS initiatives and projects that had received SSAF funding in 2013 and the area considered as the highest priority for SSAF funding at UTAS in 2014. The results of this survey can be accessed here.
Do I have to pay?
For 2014, most UTAS enrolled students will be required to pay a SSAF. The eligibility criteria for SSAF being levied applies to the following students:
- Commonwealth supported students
- Domestic Fee Paying students
- Higher Degree by Research (domestic only)
- Cross-institutional students
- New international fee paying students commencing in 2014 will have a SSAF incorporated into the annual tuition fees and no additional payment is required.
There are a small number of exempted student groups and these include students undertaking enabling programs or senior secondary students enrolling through the Pathway UTAS College program.
All students who are charged the SSAF must pay the fee and by the due date. Students are encouraged to utilise the facilities and amenities that the University is providing for all students as a result of SSAF.
How much do I pay, and when is my SSAF due?
For international tuition fee paying students commencing a new course in 2014, an amount for the provision of student services and amenities has been provided for and incorporated into your annual tuition fees. No additional payment is required.
For all other SSAF criteria students, the total fee payable will depend on what ‘type’ of student group you fit into, and whether you are a full-time (defined as at least 75% enrolment load) or part-time (defined as less than 75% enrolment load) student.
An invoice will be generated twice per year and relates to the enrolment load for that Semester. For the amount of fee that will be payable, and the date you are required to pay this by, please refer to:
Please note: Failure to pay or defer payment of your SAA fee by the due date may result in enrolment penalties. Academic Senate Rule 3 – Admission and Student Progress (par 3.9 Payment of Fees) allows for the imposition of penalties where fees or other monies charged are not paid.
What happens if I donít pay?
Failure to pay or defer payment of your SSA fee by the due date will result in a debarral being placed on your record which will affect your ability to view results or to graduate. Academic Senate Rule 3 – Admission and Student Progress (par 3.9 Payment of Fees) allows for the imposition of penalties where fees or other monies charged are not paid.
How do I pay?
As the amount of SSAF you will be charged is relevant to how many units you enrol in, the invoice for this will not be generated until closer to Census Date each semester. Ensure you access this invoice via eStudentCentre and either pay up front or if eligible defer the fee - by the due date.
The SSA Fee amount due for Semester 1 and 2 will be displayed in your eStudentCentre in early March and again early August each year.
If you are an Australian citizen or permanent humanitarian visa holder, you may choose to pay the fee up front directly to the University, or defer the fee utilising the Government's new loan scheme, SA Help.
Am I eligible for SA-HELP?
SA-HELP is a Government loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay their student services and amenities fee (SSAF). If you do not wish to pay the fee up-front, eligible students can choose to defer all or part of their fee for the relevant semester.
If you use SA-HELP, the amount will be added to your accumulated HELP debt. You can take out a SA-HELP loan even if you do not wish to take out any other HELP loan (such as HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP).
To be eligible for a SA-HELP loan, you need to:
- be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent humanitarian visa;
- be enrolled in a course of study; and
- lodge a Request for SA-HELP assistance by the SSAF due date.
If you are undertaking cross institutional study, you may be charged SSAF by both providers. As SA-HELP is linked to your course of study, you can only access SA-HELP at the provider where you are enrolled in your actual course of study (i.e. your home provider). Incoming cross institutional students are not eligible to defer UTAS SSAF, you must pay this upfront to UTAS by the due date.
To obtain a SA-HELP loan you must complete a Request for SA-HELP assistance form and in doing so provide your tax file number (TFN) or a Certificate of application for a tax file number from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This form can be accessed online by logging on to eStudentCentre and following the instructions at the SA-HELP link under the Fees heading.
Please note: Even if you have already submitted a request for HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP you must also complete the SA-HELP form if you wish to defer your Student Services and Amenities Fee.
For further information on SA-HELP please refer to the Study Assist SA-HELP information for 2014.
When do I have to apply for SA-HELP?
The option to defer your student services and amenities fee (SSAF) is only available on or before the SSAF due date shown on your invoice. If your Request for SA-HELP assistance form is not submitted by the advised due date you will not be entitled to a SA-HELP loan for that study period. Request for SA-HELP assistance forms submitted after the due date will only allow you to defer any SSAF amounts which apply to future enrolment periods.
You will be responsible to pay the SSAF that applies for any course with census dates prior to the date you submit your form. Once your form has been submitted and approved, any unpaid SSAF for subsequent census dates will be deferred to your SA-HELP loan.
Failure to pay or defer the student service and amenities fee by the due date may result in your record being debarred which means you will be prevented from viewing your results or graduating. Academic Senate Rule 3 - Admission and Student Progress (para 3.9 Payment of Fees) allows for the imposition of penalties where fees are not paid
If you use SA-HELP, the amount will be added to your accumulated HELP debt through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). You can take out a SA-HELP loan even if you do not wish to take out any other HELP loan.
What if I donít have a tax file number?
As tax file numbers (TFN) are usually provided within 28 days of application, it is essential that you apply to ensure you have your TFN by the date required by UTas. If you do not have a TFN by that date you will need to arrange for the University to sight a Certificate of application for a TFN with the ATO. Contact the ATO on 13 28 61 for TFN information.
Do I need to re-apply for SA-HELP each year?
You will only be required to apply for SA-HELP assistance once for a course of study. If you change courses or providers, you will need to re-apply for SA-HELP. If you are enrolled at two different providers, you will need to submit a form at each provider where you wish to use a SA-HELP loan to pay the student services and amenities fee.
Can I get a refund on my SSAF if I withdraw?
The answer depends on when you withdraw from your course unit.
If you withdraw prior to the relevant census date for a unit, you will not incur a SA-HELP debt for its load. The University must comply with legislation and is not permitted to remit SA-HELP debts incurred by students once this has been reported to Government following advised census date unless there is evidence of a University error.
If you have any feedback in respect of SSAF or the University process, please contact us.