You might find yourself wondering how UMSU provides all these fantastic services.
Well, it’s got a little something to do with the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

Introduced by the then labor government in 2011, the SSAF ensures funding for student services at tertiary institutions around Australia. It’s basically the reason why your campus has such a vibrant, active community.

UMSU receives only a small portion of the SSAF, but we do huge things with it. Over the coming year, we’ll be adding stamps to the products and events made possible by the allocation of these funds. That way, you know just how important it is.


SSAF and the Student Union: Fact or Fiction?


All of the money goes to the Student Union – FICTION

Fact: The University levies this fee and divides it up between the Union, Melbourne University SportThe Graduate Student AssociationAdvocacyChildcare and University Services. The University ran a consultation process involving students and other stakeholders to assist in determining allocations for 2012 and onwards.

More information on the University process and the breakdown of funding distribution is available here.


Paying the SSAF means that I have paid a Union Membership Fee – FICTION

Fact:  Our services are available to all students. This means things like the Rowdy and Clubs and Societies have become much more accessible – they are open to all enrolled students.


Even though I am paying the SSAF, Clubs and Societies funding has remained the same this year – FICTION

Fact: In 2011 the Student Union budgeted $166,000 to fund its Clubs and Societies support programme – in 2012 that figure increased to over $367,000.

Fact: Since the introduction of the SSAF, we’ve affiliated over 100 new clubs – bringing our total number of affiliated clubs to over 200.


The Student Union sets the amount of the SSAF – FICTION

Fact: The University sets the amount of the SSAF and determines how the funds are to be allocated.
Fact: The maximum amount a higher education institute can charge is limited by Federal Legislation.


I can’t join a Club unless I pay the SSAF – FICTION

Fact: All currently enrolled University Students can join our Clubs & Societies.
Fact: All Student Union services and programmes are open to all enrolled students.


The Union never does anything for me – FICTION

Only if you don’t want it to!

Fact: The Union has a long list of achievements, both on a University level and a larger scale. We’ve lobbied for a common lunch hour, for recorded lectures, concession cards for international and postgraduate students, a reinstatement of the Gender Studies Major and for smaller tute sizes.

We also provide services and activities for all students. These include:


The Student Union is only for Undergrads – FICTION

Fact: All of the Union’s events are accessible to both graduate and undergraduate students, and we have many clubs for postgraduates.
Fact: All Student Union representative positions are open to all students and a significant number of 2014 student representatives are graduate students.
Fact: UMSU is also the sole provider of Advocacy for everyone at the University of Melbourne – be it Undergraduate, Graduate – coursework and Research – or CAPstudents.


The Student Union only does beer and BBQ’s – FICTION

Fact: The Student Union provides a huge range of activities and services, from the Rowden White Library, to microwaves in the Lounge, to Clubs and Societies, to Advocacy and Legal.


The Student Union is not financially accountable – FICTION

Fact: The Student Union is audited yearly by an external organisation, and the results and financial report of the organisation are available to interested students at the Annual General Meeting or from the Secretary.
Fact: The Student Union has a Funding Agreement with the University and is required to comply with this agreement at all time.


I don’t have any say in what the Union is doing – FICTION

Fact: All UMSU Student Council meetings and Committee meetings are open to student attendance and all students are entitled to:
• Move motions allocating funds to events, activities or programmes
• Participate in discussion
• Apply for funding for events or activities
• Run for election to the committees, offices and Student Council

If you have suggestions or ideas for activities that the Student Union should be undertaking, or could be interested in, then we would love to speak with you! Please contact


I have to pay all the money upfront – FICTION

Fact: Most students are eligible to defer payment. Some students will be required to make payment up-front.
Some students are exempt from payment – like international students and full-fee paying students as an amount equivalent to the SSAF will be taken from other fees already paid to the University.

For more information on whether you are required to pay the SSAF, whether you can defer payment and the process for doing this please see the information provided by the University here.


There’s no reason for this fee – FICTION

Fact: While there are a range of views around the reintroduction of a universal student services and amenities fee, universities, student organisations and campus service providers have consistently argued for some mechanism to ensure that student experience is supported through the provision of services, programmes and activities. There is a significant body of research that a strong campus culture assists in enhancing student engagement – a critical component of students’ academic success.

Fact: When the Howard Government introduced Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) in 2006, many Student Unions like UMSU saw drastic cuts in funding. At some universities this meant a significant reduction in the quality of campus life and student experience. The University of Melbourne decided to continue to partially fund student representation and services by redirecting some funds from faculty teaching and learning budgets.

The SSAF was brought in to recognise the importance of campus life and activity to people’s University experience. The importance of offering advocacy and legal services, childcare and other support services; but also the importance of big events, clubs and societies, bands, orientation weeks and everything else in between!

All of this gives students the chance to get involved and make friends, learn new skills, participate in student theatre, and many, many other activities; to make going to University a memorable and enduring experience.


The Union never does anything for students who aren’t at Parkville – FICTION

Fact: The Union has Departments based at the VCA Campus ( the Victorian College of the Department), and Burnley (the Burnley Student Association Department). If you want to know more about what is happening on your campus, or how you can get involved let us know by contacting us at or calling us on 8344 9989.

Fact: The Student Union offers Advocacy and Legal Services to all students regardless of their location.

If you have any other suggestions for services and activities that the Union could be offering at the outer campuses, we’d love to hear them. Please contact us here!

Fact: We offer grants to off-campus groups for activities or initiatives – for more information or to apply – Please email us here.