Students still aren’t getting enough say in how their money is spent on university services but their union is hopeful that will improve.
A National Union of Students (NUS) report finds the funding situation at three-quarters of student organisations has improved since the introduction of the student services and amenities fee (SSAF) two years ago.
But less than one in four organisations said they’d recommend their university’s method of consulting on how to spend the money in 2013.
This was a big drop from the previous year.
As well, only four out of the 31 student organisations surveyed said they got more than half the SSAF money their university collected.
NUS president Deanna Taylor said the guidelines around student consultation on how to spend the money were not clear.
Many universities were putting together committees to decide on spending SSAF funds that were stacked with university representatives at the expense of students.
Other concerns were the lack of transparency and clear timetables for consultation.
“We need students to be having a very loud and clear voice in how their money is spent so that we make sure it goes to what they want it spent on and they get the most out of the fee,” she told AAP.
“We just need to keep reminding universities to engage in meaningful consultation and to respect the wishes of student representatives.”
But she was hopeful new guidelines starting in 2014 would improve the situation.
The $273 annual services and amenities fee was instituted in 2012.
It can only be spent on certain campus services, not including political causes, and can be added to a student’s HECS-HELP debt.
The NUS found the most common student-run services funded were student newspapers, advocacy services, sporting and non-sporting clubs, concerts, and university diaries.
The most common services jointly run by students and universities were orientation activities, international student support, welfare, and bookshops.