Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

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 2018 fee?

Full-yearOne semester only

Dunedin campus$798.00$399.00
Christchurch campus$153.00$  76.50
Wellington campus$124.00$  62.00
Southland campus$134.00$  67.00
Postgraduate students enrolled at Christchurch or Wellington campus$  40.83Pro-rata (see refunds below)
Summer school (up to maximum of $798 when included in a full year of 2018 study)$133.00

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

Yes, this policy comes in from 1 January 2018, and 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 2018 to find out more, and to check your eligibility.

What sort of services does the fee contribute to?

CategoryServices and providers
Advocacy and legal adviceAdvice & support, accommodation information, advocacy. Provided by OUSA Support Centre
Careers support, advice and informationCareers advice, guidance, planning, workshops, and expos.  Provided by University
Childcare servicesChildcare services for students who are parents. Provided by the Otago University Childcare Association
Clubs and societiesClubs and societies on campus.  Provided by OUSA and University
Counselling servicesNon-academic counselling and pastoral care.  Provided by University, Otago Tertiary Chaplaincy Trust, OUSA Student Support Centre
Employment informationInformation and opportunities for volunteering, Student Job Search.  Provided by University and OUSA
Financial support and adviceHardship assistance and advice on financial issues.  Provided by University and OUSA
Health servicesSubsidised general practice health care; Specialist mental health support. Provided by University
MediaStudent media and student social media.  Provided by OUSA
Sports, recreation and cultural activitiesSports, 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 2017 were allocated:


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, then withdraw from the second semester in time to receive a full refund of your 2nd semester tuition fee then 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 upon handing in your University ID card to the Fees Office, based on the following:
By 31 March 201875%
By 30 June 201850%
By 30 September 201825%

You will need to hand your ID card into the Fees Office then they will process your refund.


The following groups of students are exempt.  If you fall into one of these categories you will need to apply to Student Services by emailing

  •  Students enrolled for distance papers only – this exemption is automatically calculated.
  • 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. 
  • Secondary school students studying University papers while also still at school
  • 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. 
  • Exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the Director, Student Services – the Director may authorise a part or full refund in exceptional circumstances.

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. Student services fee online survey – we run an online survey during April each year to seek feedback from current students about their student services priorities.
  2. Student forums – we’ll be holding student forums on each campus in May where we present the results of the online survey, an overview of the University’s priorities, and workshop 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 by emailing or
  4. Student voice from other sources – we also take into account students’ views on student services gathered from the University’s Student Satisfaction Survey, OUSA's Satisfaction Survey, views expressed at OUSA’s Referendum forums, Student representatives views on University Committees and Council.
  5. Regular meetings with student representative groups - we have regular meetings throughout the year with OUSA and Te Roopu Māori.

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?

• with any queries about the fee
• to apply for an exemption
• to have your say about future fees

• to have your say about future fees
• for help resolving fee queries