Frequently Asked Questions

Student Services Levy (SSL)

What’s changed and why?
Currently at UC the Student Services Levy (SSL) is a flat fee charged on an annual basis with a wide range of exemptions. From 1 January 2020, the way the SSL is calculated will change to a points-based system.

UC has undertaken a comprehensive review of the SSL in conjunction with the UCSA with a view to simplifying and addressing inequities within the current system and ensuring ongoing financial sustainability and delivery of services.

What is the methodology for calculating the student services levy?
From 1 January 2020 the way the SSL is calculated will change to a points-based system. This means the amount you pay towards the SSL will reflect the number of points you are studying in an academic year. The fee will be set at $7.25 per academic point. There is a maximum charge or cap at the equivalent of 150 points in an academic year.

Why has the methodology for calculating the student services levy changed?
Feedback across a number of years from a wide range of students identified inequities in the current system. Additionally, the current system is unnecessarily and increasingly complicated, especially for those groups of students who have to spend time applying for rebates. 

The new points-based system is simpler and more transparent for everyone. No matter what you’re studying or how long it takes you to complete your degree – whether it’s three years or five years, for example – the SSL you pay is based on the number of points you study over that period of time. And if you’re a part-time or distance student, you won’t have to spend time applying for rebates.

Who was consulted?
The review was undertaken by the Joint Operations Advisory Board (JOAB), which has equal representation of UC and UCSA representatives. In addition, student advisory groups including the UCSA’s International, Postgraduate and Equity & Wellbeing advisory groups were consulted as part of this process.

Why was this methodology chosen?
A number of options and scenarios were considered when reviewing the methodology. The points-based methodology was chosen to ensure funding can be maintained for existing services and student needs can be met in the future.

Wider feedback indicates student services funded by the SSL are well utilised. In response to increasing demand for more student support, additional resources will be made available for counselling and wellbeing services and international student support in 2020.

The points-based levy aligns with the Tertiary Education Commission’s Fees Free carryover which also works on a points-based system, and has already been successfully implemented at other universities in Aotearoa New Zealand.

I’m taking more than 150 points this year, how much will I have to pay?
The SSL has been capped at 150 points, therefore you will not pay any more than $1,087.50 no matter how many points above 150 you enrol for in one academic year.

I’m taking a summer school paper, what will I be charged for the student services levy?
If you start your summer school paper in 2019 you will be charged according to the current 2019 SSL model (a flat fee charged on an annual basis). If you start your summer school paper on or after 1 January 2020 you will be charged under the new points-based system. The fee will be set at $7.25 per academic point.

I’ve been studying at UC for more than five years, will I still have to pay the student services levy?
Yes, the lifetime cap of five years’ worth of Levy currently in place is disestablished under the points-based system. This is line with other NZ Universities, where students continue to pay their fair share after 5 years of study. All students will pay the Student Services Levy based on the number of points you are enrolled in for the academic year.

What does the Student Services Levy pay for?
The SSL is a compulsory student fee that tertiary institutions charge to help fund the cost of delivering services and facilities not covered by tuition fees, which support you and enhance your academic experience. These include:

  • Subsidised health services including the Health Centre and UCSA Dental
  • Student support and advocacy services
  • Careers, internships and employment services
  • RecCentre membership (UC is one of only two universities in Aotearoa New Zealand to include RecCentre membership in the SSL)
  • UCSA advocacy and welfare services
  • Student club funding and support
  • Student events, including Orientation
  • Māori student development and support
  • Pasifika student development and support
  • The development of student spaces – for example the Undercroft, Postgrad Living Room, heat and eat facilities.

I don’t use the services funded by the student services levy – why should I pay?
The SSL is not a fee for service, it is a fee for access. There are a number of services funded by the SSL that you can access while studying at UC such as healthcare, counselling, the RecCentre or advocacy support – these services are either fully or partially subsidised. 

You are encouraged to make the most of these services, which will support you to achieve your personal and academic goals while studying. Without the SSL, these student services would be prohibitively expensive to access.

How is the Student Services Levy calculated for distance students?
As distance students don’t have access to the full range of on-campus services funded through the SSL, distance students will only pay 20% of the per point rate ($1.45). Distance is defined as enrolments on courses with site codes D (Distance), N (Nelson), R (Rotorua), or Y (New Plymouth). 

Who decides how the SSL money is spent?
Students help decide where the money should be spent. We conduct a regular student survey to gauge priorities and satisfaction with services funded by the SSL. UC and the UCSA work closely together to review all the services and facilities funded by the SSL and to agree on what services are offered and who delivers them. We are conscious that this is your money and that we need to ensure you get value for every dollar.

Where do I go for more information?
For more information about the new points-based SSL system and what it means for you, visit www.canterbury.ac.nz/get-started/fees/student-services-levy/ or contact enrol@canterbury.ac.nz