Student Services & Amenities Fee (SSAF)

Please note that the University reserves the right to vary student fees at any time during enrolment in line with relevant legislation.

The SSAF was implemented in 2012 following a legislative change allowing Universities to collect a fee, to support the delivery of student services.

The SSAF contributes to the provision of amenities and non-academic services for students. These include: counselling, employment, orientation, career advice, child care, financial advice, health services, food services, sporting and recreational activities, student advocacy and legal services. The SSAF has also allowed the University to increase its funding of Arc, the University's student organisation.

What you pay

SSAF is charged and payable on a Semester basis (excluding the optional Summer term).

Fee per semester


  • Full-time $149
  • Part-time $111.75


  • Full-time $147
  • Part-time $110.25

SA-HELP loan

Eligible students have the option of taking out a loan to pay for the SSAF fee.

Students who are Australian citizens, permanent humanitarian visa holders resident in Australia or New Zealand citizens special category visa holders resident in Australia are eligible for SA-HELP. Eligible UNSW students can apply through myUNSW before the incurral date for the relevant semester.

Here is detailed information on eligibility and applying for SA-HELP

UNSW SSAF in detail

Detailed explanation of the UNSW Student Services Amenities Fee

1. The Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) fee has been established through the Student Services and Amenities Bill 2011. The Bill amends the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

2. From 2016 UNSW has determined that it will charge the Fee to all students with the following exceptions:

    • Students enrolled in cross-institutional, PLuS Alliance or exchange programs studying with UNSW (where UNSW is not the ‘home’ institution). Students on exchange or cross-institutional at another institution where their primary degree is with UNSW (the ‘home’ institution), will still be subject to the SSAF charges.
    • All Defence-funded and non-Commonwealth supported students enrolled in a program at UNSW Canberra/ADFA
    • Students enrolled in 8345 AGSM MBA Hong Kong or 5945 Grad. Dip. Management Hong Kong

Table 1 (below) provides more detail on liability.

4. The fee is levied on eligible students by the University as a contribution towards services and amenities for the whole student population. Unless explicitly exempted, all students are expected to contribute towards amenities and services. There is no provision to exempt students on the grounds of study or attendance mode (e.g. online or distance delivery; teaching hospital attendance), or that they might not personally use the services and amenities provided.

5. The SSAF maximum rate is published annually by The Department of Education & Training. Institutions can choose to charge up to that rate. The guidelines state that a student defined as part-time cannot be charged more than 75% of the maximum fee.

6. The fee is charged and payable on a semester basis, for Semesters 1 and 2 only. Enrolments in Summer Term do not incur a SSAF charge. Students are charged based on enrolled study load each semester, and can incur either a full time charge with a full-time equivalent (FTE) load of .375 or more, or subsequently a part time charge with an FTE load of less than .375; where .5 is considered the standard full time EFT load.

7. The fee will be calculated at the same time as other fees and charges and will be included on fee invoices.

8. All students who submit a request to defer the SSAF via SA-HELP (see Rule 10.) will receive a Commonwealth Assistance Notice in line with legislative requirements within 28 days of the Incurral Date.

9. The incurral dates are 31 March (Semester 1) and 31 August (Semester 2).

10. Domestic students, in Commonwealth-supported programs and Research Training Scheme programs, can elect to pay part of the full semester fee upfront to the University or to apply for a Commonwealth loan (SA-HELP) for the remainder or full value of the fee – i.e. to defer their liability. Students seeking to defer part or all of their semester fee are required to apply for a SA-HELP loan prior to the Incurral Date in each semester.

11. Eligible students who have elected to defer their SSAF are still eligible to pay part or all of the liability up to the Incurral Date (31 March or 31 August). After the Incurral Date has passed students can no longer make a SSAF payment to the University for that Semester and must arrange payment to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) directly.

12. Students who successfully apply for withdrawal from their enrolment without financial penalty after the SSAF Incurral Date (31 March or 31 August) will not have their SSAF refunded or remitted.

Table 1 - Students' SSAF liability

Program / CareerFee / Funding TypeSSAF Liable? Comments
UndergraduateCommonwealth Supported YesIncludes Undergraduate Commonwealth supported students at UNSW Canberra
PostgraduateCommonwealth Supported Yes 
ResearchResearch Training Scheme Yes 
UndergraduateEnabling Programs (including UPP)Yes 
Non-AwardExcluding Cross-InstitutionalYesCross-Institutional students where UNSW is the home institution are not exempt. 
UndergraduateInternational Fee-payingYes 
PostgraduateInternational Fee-payingYes 
PostgraduatePostgraduate Domestic Fee-payingYes 
UndergraduateUndergraduate Fee-payingYes 
Unless specified above, all students at UNSW Canberra are exempt from the SSAF charges.

Student Services amenities fees and expenditure

Summary of income and expenditure.

In 2015 UNSW plans to contribute $13.4 million of expenditure towards the provision of student services captured by the SSAF legislation. The University is expected to receive $8,000,000 in SSAF income.

Below is a summary of expenditure, identified against the SSAF allowable categories of expenditure.

Summary of ExpenditureTotal Costs
Advocating students' interests in matters arising under the higher education provider's rules - contribution to Arc services$3,372,000
Supporting a sporting or other recreational activity by students:
- Sports services contribution to Arc$552,000
- Maintenance of Lifestyle Centre$459,700
- Maintenance of sports fields$428,800
Helping students secure accommodation$63,600
Helping students obtain employment or advice on careers$1,883,300
Advising on matters arising under the higher education provider’s rules$911,500
Helping meet the specific needs of overseas students relating to their wellbeing, accommodation and employment$1,577,000
Promoting the health or wellbeing of students$2,252,700
Helping students develop skills for study, by means other than undertaking courses of study in which they are enrolled$1,296,900
Supporting a sporting or other recreational activity by students$305,650
Giving students information to help them in their orientation and enrolment$305,600

Student Consultation

The University is committed to consultation with student representatives about the provision of student services and met regularly in 2012, '13 and '14 with Arc, elected student representatives and student members of University Council, focusing on SSAF.

This consultation will continue in 2015 and four meetings will be scheduled.

The dates are to be determined. You can provide your feedback to the Arc student representatives via the Arc website or to the student members of University Council via email: