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Student Services Fee

Helping fund your unique Otago experience

Find out about your student services fee - what it is, what it helps to fund, and how you can have your say for the future.

The fees-free policy for first year students also applies to this fee.

What is the student services fee?

It’s a compulsory fee that is charged to help fund a range of support services so that they’re available to all students - like health care, gym and recreation activities, careers advice, internet access on campus for your personal use, campus events, financial advice, advocacy, pastoral care.

How much is the 2019 fee?

Full-year One semester only

Dunedin campus $813.74 $406.87
Christchurch campus $186.33 $93.16
Wellington campus $162.27 $81.13
Southland campus $134.00 $67.00
Postgraduate students enrolled at Christchurch campus
(studying full time, on campus)
$186.33 $93.16
Postgraduate students enrolled at Christchurch campus
(studying part time, on campus)
$40.83 $20.41
Postgraduate students enrolled at Wellington campus $40.83 20.41
Summer school (up to maximum of $813.74 when included in a full year of 2019 study) $135.62

Does the 2018 fees-free policy for first year students apply to this fee?

Yes, if you’re eligible the government will pay your tuition fees and student services fee for your first year of tertiary study. Visit Fees Free at Otago in 2019 to find out more, and to check your eligibility.

What sort of services does the fee contribute to?

Category Services and providers
Advocacy and legal advice Advice and support, accommodation information, advocacy. Provided by OUSA Support Centre
Careers support, advice and information Careers advice, guidance, planning, workshops, and expos.  Provided by University
Clubs and societies Clubs and societies on campus.  Provided by OUSA and University
Counselling services Pastoral counselling and care. Provided by University, Otago Tertiary Chaplaincy Trust, OUSA Student Support Centre
Employment information Information and opportunities for volunteering, Student Job Search.  Provided by University and OUSA
Financial support and advice Hardship assistance and advice on financial issues.  Provided by University and OUSA
Health services Subsidised general practice health care; Specialist mental health support. Provided by University
Media Student media and student social media.  Provided by OUSA
Sports, recreation and cultural activities Sports, fitness and wellbeing activities, recreation events, Internet on campus for personal use. Note: internet for academic purposes is included in tuition fees. Provided by University and OUSA

See how the fees collected in 2019 are allocated:

SSF Pie chart

Can I apply for a refund or exemption of this fee?

There are some limited circumstances where you can receive a refund or exemption. In these cases you then can’t use any of the services that the student services fee helps fund.


  • Students fully withdrawing – if you withdraw from your studies and are entitled to a full refund of your tuition fees (less the $100 tuition refund fee), your student services fee will also be automatically refunded. If you enrol and pay a student services fee for the full year, and then withdraw from the second semester in time to receive a full refund of your second semester tuition fee, you are entitled to a refund of half the fee. This will also be automatically refunded.
  • Doctoral students and students enrolling for the thesis component of a Master’s degree after the beginning of an academic year – if you enrol after the academic year has begun, you'll be charged a pro-rata fee based on the number of quarters or part quarters of the year you’re enrolled in.
  • Doctoral students and students completing the thesis component of a Master’s degree - if you submit your thesis for examination and are not enrolled for any other papers in the academic year, you're entitled to a pro-rata refund of the fee paid.
Date Refund
By 31 March 2019 75%
By 30 June 2019 50%
By 30 September 2019 25%


Most exemptions will be processed automatically to your fee account by Student Finance. Please email exemption enquiries to

The following groups of students are exempt:

  •  Students enrolled for distance papers only – this exemption is automatically calculated by Student Finance.
  • Students enrolled for interest only* and not eligible to sit degree examinations. 
    *Note this is a special category and does not mean the same as studying because you are interested in a particular subject. This exemption is automatically calculated by Student Finance.
  • Staff members – "staff member” means a person who is employed by the University on a half-time or greater basis for 10 months or longer.  If there is any dispute about meeting this definition the Director, Human Resources will decide.  If a staff member is receiving staff study assistance the refund will be automatically returned to the department. Contact:
  • Exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the Director, Student Services – the Director may authorise a part or full refund in exceptional circumstances.
  • Secondary school students studying University papers while also still at school.

Find out more about fee exemptions at Otago.

How is the fee set?

The fee is set by the University Council by November each year. Recommendations to Council take into account information from student surveys & forums, consultation with OUSA, and analysis of current and projected demand for services.

Can I have input into how the fee is set or used in the future?

The University consults with students and also gathers students’ views in a range of ways:

1. Annual Student Satisfaction Survey – this survey includes questions that seek feedback from current students about their priorities as well as satisfaction with the student services provided via the student services fee.
2. Student forums – we’ll be holding student forums on each campus in May led by OUSA. To focus on students’ priorities for the use of this fee.
3. Individual student feedback – we also encourage students to provide individual feedback, either to the University or via OUSA at any time of the year.
4. Student voice from other sources – we also take into account students’ views on student services gathered from OUSA's Satisfaction Survey, views expressed at OUSA’s Referendum forums, Student representatives views on University Committees and Council and feedback received by individual services
5. Regular meetings with student representative groups - we have regular meetings throughout the year with OUSA and Te Roopu Māori.
6. Student Services Fee Advisory Group – consisting of University, OUSA and Student Representatives meets twice yearly to discuss services and priorities and to provide input into planning for the following year.

Feedback from students attending forums in 2018:

confirmed that the range of services provided to students via Health and Recreation Services are the top priority for the majority of students.

Childcare Services were identified as being a very low priority for the majority of students. Based on this feedback the contribution to this service via the Student Services Fee has been removed. Subsidised childcare services are still available while parents are studying via the University’s provider Otago University Childcare Association.

Discussions in the forum held on the Christchurch Campus identified that postgraduate students studying fulltime on campus preferred to pay the same fee as undergraduate students on the campus to enable them to access the same level of services. This has now been put in place.

How can I find out what the fee has been used for in the past?

Each year this information in reported in the University’s Annual Report.

Who can I contact to find out more?

For any queries about the fee:

To have your say about future fees:

To have your say about future fees or for help resolving fee queries: