Student Services Levy

Your money - your benefits

Each year, universities around New Zealand charge students a Student Services Levy fee, which shows up on your fees receipt.

All the money collected for the student levy can only be used for the benefit of students. It can never be used for academic or administrative costs.

  • Students help decide where the money should be spent. Each year a survey is held to assess priorities from students. This goes towards how money is allocated the following year. See an overview of the latest survey results here
  • The team that puts the recommendation before the Vice-Chancellor is made up of equal numbers of students and UC staff, ensuring students' interests are represented.

Services funded by the Student Services Levy

The Student Services Levy is a compulsory student fee that funds on campus student services including:

  • Subsidised health services including the Health Centre and UCSA Dental
  • Student advocacy and support services
  • Careers, internships and employment services
  • RecCentre membership
  • University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA)
  • Student events, including Orientation
  • Māori student development and support
  • Pacifica/Pasifika student development and support
  • Development of student spaces

For more details:

A message to students about the Students Services Levy

The UCSA and UC work very closely to review all the services funded by the Student Services Levy and to agree on allocations for services provided. We are conscious that this is your money and that we need to ensure you get value for every dollar.

Kim Fowler

UCSA President

Student Services Levy costs

Effective from 1 January 2021, the Student Services Levy is calculated on the number of points of study in an academic year a student is enrolled in, based on $7.31 per academic point. This is capped at a maximum of 150 points of on-campus study per academic year.

15 $109.65
30 $219.30
45 $328.95
60 $438.60
75 $548.25
90 $657.90
105 $767.55
120 $877.20
135 $986.85
150 $1,096.50
165 $1,096.50
180 $1,096.50

 If you are enrolling in a course which commences before 1 January, 2021, SSL will be charged based on:

Full year enrolment (as an equivalent full-time student) $877.20
One semester $438.60
Students studying at UC Centres in Nelson, Rotorua, Tauranga or New Plymouth $175.20

The Student Services Levy policy is available from the UC Policy Library.

The Student Services Levy is automatically added to your tuition invoice at the time of enrolment. See the instructions in Pay your fees. As the Levy is compulsory, it can be paid for through your student loan funding.

2021 SSL Budget Allocation chart

Student Services Levy annual process

The Joint Operations Advisory Board (JOAB) is the primary body for managing the partnership between the UC and the UCSA. It includes equal representation from UC staff and the UCSA. Among its responsibilities, JOAB makes recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor on allocations of funds from the levy and for setting the Levy. It provides a formal forum for UCSA representatives to present the view of the student body to UC about activities wholly or partially funded by the “Student Services Levy”. Students also have representation on the University Council which is responsible for the governance of the University, including oversight of the institution’s policy, degree, financial and capital matters.

Distance Students and the Student Services Levy

UC delivers increasing numbers of courses online via Learn, using quality course materials.   Studying via distance at University is a rewarding experience, and will challenge and inspire students, whilst gaining new skills and knowledge, and is worth all the commitment made.

UC acknowledges that distance students do not have access to the full range of on-campus services funded through the Student Services Levy. Students enrolling on a course with a site code of D, N, R or Y will be charged the Student Services Levy at $1.46 per academic point (which is 20% of the full charge). 

Students outside of New Zealand and enrolled in online courses are exempt from paying the Student Services Levy.

The services readily available to Distance Students and the easiest contact points are:

Student Care provides support, guidance and advice on any matters that may be impacting on your studies or wellbeing. Distance students can contact Student Care by email, phone or Skype (by arrangement). Email:, phone: +64 3 369 3388 or freephone: 0800 VARSITY (827 748).

The Careers, Internships & Employment team are qualified career practitioners and graduate recruitment specialists available to assist students in developing the skills needed to plan and manage their career. They can assist students to make informed course and career decisions and transition successfully into work or further study.

Distance students can arrange a phone or SKYPE consultation with a career consultant by emailing:, phone: +64 3 364 3310 or freephone: 0800 VARSITY (827 748).

The Careers’ website also offers resources and information. Enrolled students can find Career Development Modules on Learn, and jobs and employer information on UC CareerHub.

While UC Health Centre does not offer a full range of services to distance students, you can seek advice. Phone: +64 3 369 4444 or or freephone: 0800 VARSITY (827 748), email:

The UCSA Advocacy & Welfare provides welfare services such as the Hardship Grant and Mickle Fund loan.  Advocacy services for appeals, grievances, special consideration, late discontinuation and disciplinary issues are available. Distance students are able to access our services via phone: + 64 3 364 2652 and email: Attendance at meetings relating to appeals and grievances can be conducted with UCSA team members acting as support people via SKYPE.

The Māori Student Development Team (MDT) provides targeted developmental and support initiatives to Māori students to optimise their personal, social and academic success. MDT’s Kaipoipoi – Māori Student Advisors provide personalised advisor support to all Māori students. Māori distance students can arrange a phone or SKYPE consultation with a Kaipoipoi by emailing: , phone: +64 3 369 3868 or freephone: 0800 VARSITY (827 748)

The Pacific Development Team (PDT) assists Pasifika students to make the most of their UC experience and academic potential. Pasifika students who study by distance have access to a number of Pacific Development Team services including the Pasifika Mentoring programme which offers pastoral care and the PASS programme which offers tutoring. These services may also be available via SKYPE so please enquire. All first-year students who attend UC Pasifika Orientation Day receive a free stationery pack. First-year distance students can receive this via post if requested. Email: or phone: +64 3 369 3554 or freephone: 0800 VARSITY (827 748)

Exemptions from the Student Service Levy

If you are studying at the University of Canterbury via one of the following, you will have a reduction or exemption to the full SSL amount:

  • University partnerships - students enrolling from approved University partnership organisations in designated courses
    • Canterbury Tertiary Alliance (CTA) Staff with an approved CTA form - 50% of levy
    • Reciprocal waivers - as per other institution
  • STAR students - exempt
  • University staff with a University waiver - exempt
  • Incoming reciprocal exchange students - exempt
  • Medical/ Special refund - as per policy
  • Postgraduate thesis suspension - as per policy
  • Approved extramural thesis research (outside of Canterbury) - exempt

Refund policy on Student Service Levy

If you completely withdraw from all your courses within the full tuition fee refund period, the Student Services Levy is refunded in full. More information on course dates can be found here.

If you discontinue your studies after the deadline, the Special Consideration Procedures and Guidelines provides details about Student Service Levy refunds.


How the levy amount is decided

Extensive financial analysis is carried out on the cost of providing student services.

How the levy is spent

JOAB ensures the Levy is spent on meeting student needs. The Joint Operations Advisory Board (JOAB) is asked to inform, advise and make recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor on the best physical, financial and service delivery options.

The JOAB collaborates with the UCSA to determine student needs through a survey here that asks students on their needs. Students are able to advise if they want particular services continued, amended or improved.

More information

For more information see the Student Services Levy Policy or email

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