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October 1, 2018 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Student Services Levy Set to Slide Up

The Student Services Levy, the mandatory fee which all VUW students pay in addition to tuition, is set to increase by 4.5% next year. The levy, which is currently $756, will rise to $790 next year.
The Student Services Levy funds the University’s health and counselling services, careers advice, clubs and societies fund as well as VUWSA. Since the introduction of Voluntary Student Membership in 2012, VUWSA has had to negotiate for funding from this pool each year (previously, a separate fee was charged for student association membership).
VUW’s current SSL is fairly standard in New Zealand universities. Currently at Otago, students pay $798; at Massey, non-distance students pay $567; at Auckland, students pay $813.
In 2017 a SSL set at $754 resulted in an income of 12.3 million dollars. In addition to other sources of income (the fees for using the student health service, advertising, and other commercial income), 10.9 million dollars was spent directly on services, with the additional money going to use of space, overheads, and third party contracts.
2017 was the first year since 2011 that the SSL made a surplus, with 147,000 dollars left over. However, the fund still has a deficit as a whole.
The Student Services Levy is determined by the Advisory Committee on the Student Service’s Levy, which includes student representation. VUWSA’s President and Welfare VP sit on the committee, as well as a number of other student representatives. VUWSA surveys students representatives to best inform where the money should be spent.
Marlon Drake, VUWSA president, said that surveys had concluded that “Students want better resources and they want to see the money spent on those resources. […] they want an increase with a specific outcome”.
Students mostly appreciate the work that VUWSA does. “I can see a range of valuable activities [by VUWSA] this year,” said Teri O’Neill. “I’ve done a lot of work with UniQ and [VUWSA have been] trying to get a safe space, as well as The Wait is Over. [I’m] pretty happy for extra money to be going to them.”
Drake wants to continue to focus funding towards LGBTQIA+ students. “[The] 4.5% increase is because there are significant issues in our community that need to be addressed. One of those issues is a lack of support for students who identify as LGBTQIA+.”
Other students didn’t find VUWSA’s work very visible. “I think [the SSL] is good value,” said Vadim Poetzl, an international student. “But I haven’t really looked into that.” He didn’t know that the SSL was increasing, but was relatively unperturbed.

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