How we’re funded

SUPRA is funded by your Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). SUPRA, along with other student organisations and services at Usyd, requests funding each year, and the University decides how the funds will be allocated.

What is SSAF?

Nearly all tertiary education students in Australia pay SSAF. The fee was introduced by the Australian Parliament in 2011 through the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Act 2011.

SSAF is intended to support non-academic services and activities that make a meaningful difference to your experience during your studies.

I paid SSAF – what happens with my money?

The legislation limits SSAF spending to certain types of services and activities. These can include:

  • social activities
  • sports
  • advocacy services
  • legal help
  • migration advice
  • student representation
  • food and drink services
  • employment and career advice
  • childcare
  • creative activities.

SSAF ensures that you have students representing you

SUPRA has fought hard to ensure that postgraduate students are represented at the University of Sydney. We have fought to be included in decision-making processes, and now have places on many University boards and committees that influence University policies. We also campaign, protest, and write letters to the University to push for students’ interests.

SSAF gives you access to services

SUPRA provides free professional services (legal, migration and casework) for all postgrads that need assistance. Around 3,000 students access our professional services each year. Our casework and legal teams help students with many issues, such as:

  • renting
  • academic appeals
  • Show Good Cause
  • intellectual property
  • allegations of academic integrity breaches
  • family law
  • migration law
  • enrolment
  • problems with supervisors
  • car/bicycle accidents
  • employment law
  • domestic violence.

SUPRA is funded exclusively by SSAF. How is that money used?

Student elections for your representatives

Every year you get the opportunity to make your voice heard, by voting or even running in SUPRA elections. 12 of SUPRA’s 34 elected councillors receive a stipend that enables them to prioritise work for SUPRA, such as: lobbying the University or government on your behalf; organising forums for postgrads; organising social events like Wine & Cheese, fitness classes, and Free Lunch; and operating our social media pages to keep you informed.

These student councillors represent you to the University and the public. They advocate on your behalf to ensure your rights are protected and that students are at the centre of decision making at the University. They also lobby the government and other stakeholders.

If you would like your student leaders to advocate for you on a systemic matter, you can email them, or attend a SUPRA Council meeting to discuss issues affecting postgraduate students.

SUPRA employs staff to support you

We provide one-on-one independent support when you need it. Our caseworkers can assist with all sorts of university-related problems; our Legal Service can advise on most legal matters – from intellectual property to family law.

SUPRA holds social events throughout the year

Events such as Wine & Cheese, fitness classes, and Free Lunch. While the University campuses were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to hold events online and keep students up-to-date with issues that affected them.

SUPRA keeps you informed and connected

We have up-to-date information on our website; a regular newsletter, Grad Post, to keep you informed about important news and events; and social media pages like WeChat, Facebook and Instagram.

I’ve never used SUPRA’s services or attended any of your events – why do I have to pay SSAF?

Your SSAF money is spread across a range of student organisations and services. You could be accessing services that are financed by SSAF money without even realising it.

Every student at the University benefits from the collective resources provided by SSAF, even if you never need to use a service. For example,

  • SUPRA led the campaign for a student rights-based code of conduct which is now the new Student Charter 2020.
  • SUPRA, along with the SRC, represented students to ensure that late submission penalties were standardised across faculties. Some students were being penalised at a rate of 20% per day for a late submission – SUPRA advocated for this to be brought down to 5% per day, making it consistent across the University.
  • Have you ever needed a simple extension? SUPRA, alongside the SRC, fought for and won the introduction of simple extensions.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, SUPRA continued to advocate for student needs. Our successes included:

  • fee reductions for some courses that moved online as a result of COVID-19
  • 5-week student accommodation relief
  • research period for HDR students extended.

You also benefit from organisations like SUPRA by knowing that you have a safety net, should you ever need support, and you help ensure your peers have support when they need it. For example, you may never need legal assistance from SUPRA, but one of your friends might be confidentially accessing our services for support to escape family violence. As a student community, we ensure that this safety net is there for everyone.

How was SSAF shared between services and organisations in 2024?

The University estimates that total SSAF funds for 2024 were $22,264,756.

The SSAF was allocated:

University of Sydney Union (USU)$8,504,772
Sydney University Sport & Fitness (SUSF)$6,846,172
Students' Representative Council (SRC)$2,901,249
Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA)$2,927,820
Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Life)$449,868
Student Support Services (Careers Centre)$400,305
Faculty of Engineering$40,000
Faculty of Science$70,237
Sydney Law School $39,320
University Library$62,077
Sydney Business School$22,936
Data from

For further information, and to find out about SSAF exemptions:

Updated February 2023.

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