As each semester rolls round, the student body predictably cries out in anguish as the University demands money for “SSAF”. Each time we ask ourselves, “Why should I pay for that? I don’t use anything on campus!”

With the loss of on campus services this semester and potentially for part of semester two, the question was asked again, why are we still paying for this? Well, as it turns out, SSAF funding goes toward a lot more than just on campus facilities! For example, a portion of it enables the TUU to provide services to the student body, free of charge! We did a breakdown of the budget so you can get an idea of where that money is going.

The TUU has a wide range of services, from supporting student financial welfare, student led communications, events and initiatives, all the way to clubs and societies, by helping them to provide value for their members, as well as maintaining and buying equipment.

We support your financial welfare, through programs such as access to a free professional financial counselling service, emergency food parcels, contributions to the Safety Net Grant Scheme (SNGS) and supporting a student run legal advice service. A part of the budget goes towards student-led events and initiatives including Welcome Week events, the creation of safe-spaces and programs relating to mental health and the environment.

The TUU also provides other vital services such as Student Advocates, who provide free and independent advice to students on matters arising from conduct, rules, policies and procedures at the University, as well as in relation to complaints. Although the funding for Advocates is not directly from SSAF fees, Advocates do help support other programs SSAF provides.

And of course there is Student Representation which is a huge part of what we do. Your elected representatives lobby on behalf of students and sit on a number of University committees ensuring the key issues being experienced by students are being brought to the University’s attention. This is also not directly funded by SSAF but of course contributes massively to SSAF funded initiatives run by the TUU.

With the rapid closure of access to UTAS campuses, the TUU realised that we needed to look at what we’re spending your SSAF money on and we’re excited to be announcing new programs over the coming days which will redirect funding to better support students during this time. All of this is made possible thanks to that annoying, seemingly ambiguous fee that seems to go nowhere. Although you might not have used all or any of those services detailed above previously, you might find yourself in a position one day where they could be a lifesaver!