Understanding tuition fees

Find out how we calculate tuition fees and the additional costs you might need to allow for.

What is the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF)?

The Compulsory Student Services fee (CSSF) is a levy included in the indicative tuition fee. It is displayed as "Student Services Fee" on your invoice.

Please note, the CSSF is not a student union fee. Unitec does not have a student union or student association. (Ed. Collective is a Charitable Trust and contracted by Unitec to provide a range of services for students which are included in those funded by the CSSF).

These fees contribute* to the provision the following student services at Unitec:

Advocacy and legal advice

Student Advocates (EdCollective)
Student Voice: Student Council and Representation (EdCollective); 
Student Complaints Resolution

Careers information, advice and guidance

Student Careers Centre

Counselling services

Counselling Service; Multi-faith Chaplaincy; Student Support Advisers, Pastoral support through Maia Maori Centre and Pacific Centre

Employment information

Student Job Search (EdCollective)

Financial support and advice

Student Hardship Support
Budgeting Advice

Health services

Student Health Service


Student Communications and Student Media (EdCollective)

Childcare services

Unitec Early Learning Centre

Clubs and societies

Sports and Clubs activities (EdCollective); Student initiated events (Student Council)

Sports, recreation and cultural activities

Student Engagement events (EdCollective) e.g Orientation Powhiri; International Food Days, Cultural Festival, Sports and Recreation events and activities during Orientation and throughout the year

Information about these services is available at Unitec - Current Students.

* Note: each year the funding from CSSF is supplemented by additional funding by Unitec. For example, CSSF Revenue in 2016 was projected to be $2,268,840 while expenditure on relevant services as noted above was forecast to be $3,812,091 – 40% more than revenue from CSSF.

How much is the CSSF?

Unitec’s study programmes are made up of individual courses, and tuition fees are calculated based on the courses you take. The advertised fee is an estimate based on a typical programme and includes the CSSF, so the amount you actually pay may be different depending on which courses you choose.

At Unitec the CSSF for 2017 (as for 2016) will be charged at NZ$ 2.64 per credit (current for 2015). For a programme of study made up of 120 credits, the Student Services fee would be approximately NZ$317.

Find out more about the different types of qualification, how long they usually take, and how many courses make up a programme on the Tertiary Qualifications Explained page.

What is the decision making process for the CSSF?

The CSFF is reviewed each year and a report provided to the Student Council to show the ways in which the services funded by the fees have contributed to student outcomes particularly success and retention. In determining the proposed CSFF for each year Unitec considers:

  • The value and impact of the services for students and their achievement.
  • Student feedback about the services from a range of surveys conducted across each year and from feedback to individual service teams.

This information is provided to the Student Council so that they can consult with student representatives and the wider student body to provide feedback on the level of the fees proposed, their priorities for service provision and feedback on how the services should be provided and procured (i.e. who they should be delivered by). Once this feedback is received and considered the fee is then set for the next year.

The consultation process for 2016 is outlined below: (click to expand)



July 2016

A report on service provision for 2015-16 and a proposal for CSSF 2017 is provided to Student Council for consultation.
Student Council engaged with student reps and the wider student body in a consultation process.  This included Focus Groups of Student Representatives and a Facebook Poll.

August 2016

Student Council provided a summary of outcomes from consultation process to Director Pou Aroha Student Support.   A report on the consultation process and outcomes and was provided to Unitec’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) with recommendations arising from this for CSSF 2017.

September 2016

ELT approved final proposal for CSSF 2017 to be taken to Council.

October 2016

Final proposal considered by Unitec Council and CSSF set for 2017.  The CSSF was not increased for 2017.

A copy of the reports and feedback from the consultation process can be accessed below:

How can students be involved in CSSF decisions in 2017?

We haven’t raised the CSSF since 2015.  Unitec proposes a 4% increase in the CSSF for 2018 which would increase the current CSSF by 11c per credit to NZ$ 2.75 per credit for 2018 ($2.64 in 2015 - 2017, $2.54 in 2014).   For a full-time programme of study made up of 120 credits, the Student Services Fee would be approximately NZ $330 GST incl ($317 in 2015-17, $304.80 in 2014).

The rationale for a 4% increase includes:

  • Contributing to addressing the rising costs of service provision and costs of service transformation since 2015, which will be reflected in improvements in the quality of service provision;
  • In 2017 the new Student Experience Group will move into the newly developed Te Puna so student services will be more accessible through co-location and connection with other services such as the Library Learning Commons and Academic Success Services
  • Concern about the impact on students already facing financial hardship will be balanced by a focus for these fees on services to proactively enhance student financial literacy and to prevent and respond to financial hardship including better access to affordable Student Wellness Services

A further priority for 2018 will be the engagement of students in shaping the design and delivery of the services.

The memo to Student Council and information we provided to them about this is attaached below:

Students are actively encouraged to be involved in CSSF decisions by providing feedback through the annual consultation process organised by the Student Council and through their student representatives.

The timeframe for consultation in 2018 is outlined below:



19 June

A report on service provision for 2016 is provided to the Student Council.
A proposal for CSSF amount and expenditure is provided to Student Council for consultation 
Student Council begins planning and implementation of consultation process with student reps/wider student body.


Student Council consultation Process
Unitec Business Intelligence survey of students regarding the fee increase and priorities for expenditure

21 August

Student Council provides summary of outcomes from consultation process to Manager Student Engagement
Unitec Business Intelligence Team provides a report on the outcomes of their survey.

4 September

Report on consultation and recommendations to ELT taking account of consideration of outcomes of consultation process with student reps/wider student body and the intercept survey

18 September 

ELT approves final proposal to be taken to Council (due 25 September)

25 September

Final proposal for Unitec Council provided taking account of consideration of outcomes of consultation process with student reps/wider student body and ELT consideration

9 October

Final Proposal considered by Unitec Council.

You can have your say by:

  • Taking part in the survey organised by the Student Council
  • Participating in a survey your class/programme Student Reps are taking out to classes 
  • Completing an online survey – this will be sent by email to all currently enrolled students

At any time students are welcome and encouraged to provide feedback to service teams if they have concerns, or ideas about how the services might be improved. As part of the changes in Student Services we are designing more accessible and effective ways for students to engage with services including in providing feedback about their quality and accessibility, and being involved in their design and delivery.

For more information or to provide feedback please contact the Student President, or the Manager Student Engagement, Alison Dow.