What La Trobe Student Union is asking for:
- To receive 50% of the SSAF fee to deliver the services and activities La Trobe students want at the Bundoora campus
- To be consulted on all student services and activities at the Bundoora campus
With complete uncertainty each year, student organisations must put their hands out to their own university’s management to receive Student Services Amenities Fee (SSAF) funding. If there are negotiations, there is a fundamental unequal power balance where universities hold all the cards. At La Trobe, the university has drastically cut the student union budget and services year on year. The university does not consult La Trobe Student Union on the needs of students or where budget should be allocated.
By 2021, La Trobe Student Union was fighting for its own survival when its funding was cut from $2.8 million and twenty staff in 2020, to $275,000 in 2021, and one part time staff member.
Student unions are funded by university management, who allocate the Student Services Amenities Fee (SSAF) to their respective student union(s). Management has full discretion in most states to determine how much to pass on to the student union (the exception is WA where they are required to give the student union at least 50%).