Background to SSAF

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.