University of Sydney front-runner for student support and services
13 February 2013
The University of Sydney has topped a National Union of Students league table rating universities on their use of a student fee dedicated to improving campus life and providing student services.
The peak representative body for university students, the National Union of Students (NUS), conducted a national study into the implementation of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).
From the beginning of 2012 students have been charged a deferrable fee to support student services and the quality of student experience on campus.
The NUS survey contains an audit of student services and the results of questions put to student organisation presidents regarding the consultation and negotiation processes around the SSAF and the funding for student-run services.
The University of Sydney (together with the University of Technology, Sydney) received the highest rating of the 22 universities surveyed.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Education, Professor Derrick Armstrong, said that he was very pleased with the report's commendation of the University: "the University is proud of its student organisations and their tradition as student-led providers of the student experience."
"We have together faced some very challenging times in ensuring the continuation of this tradition but the strength of the partnership between us is at the core of our ability to ensure the University of Sydney continues to lead the way in providing the best student experience in Australia."
The report indicated that the outstanding result is due to the University providing well funded student organisations offering a comprehensive range of services; a high level of support for student representatives through staffing and honoraria; a high level of involvement in university decision making processes and a good consultation and negotiation process around the SSAF.
The report found that the University "currently has the most comprehensive and well-funded portfolio of student controlled services in the country."
University of Sydney Union president Astha Rajvanshi told The Australian newspaper that the University worked hard to be inclusive, requiring consensus from six student organisations.
Overall the NUS report expressed concern that the implementation in the first year of the SSAF was a patchwork quilt of funding arrangements and processes and called for greater consultation with students and student representatives regarding SSAF expenditure, and guaranteed minimum funding for student organisations, representation and advocacy.
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