Guidance on complying with requirements for the Compulsory Student Services Fee

9 October 2014

In 2013 the Ministry of Education (MoE) completed a review of compliance with the compulsory student services fees (CSSF) framework. This review led to some changes to the Ministerial Direction and the TEC issuing guidance to tertiary education organisations (TEOs) on best practice compliance with the Direction.

The Ministerial Direction (PDF, 34 Kb), has two key aspects:

  1. a reporting requirement; and
  2. a decision-making requirement.

Compliance with the Direction: areas for improvement

This year, the MoE has again reviewed compliance with the Direction to test whether the amended Ministerial Direction and guidance had been effective in improving compliance. The review found that compliance with the Ministerial Direction has improved since last year. However, there are still areas where further improvement is necessary:

  • TEOs need to ensure that they are complying with the requirement to report the CSSF levy per Equivalent Full Time Student (EFTS). 
  • TEOs must note how they are complying with the accounting requirement in their reporting. 
  • Private Training Establishments (PTEs) that wish to charge a CSSF levy must provide a written copy of the report that they send to students to the MoE.

All TEOs also need to ensure that they are complying with the requirement to make decisions about CSSF jointly, or in consultation with students.

Interactions with student body in decision-making processes

It is recommended that providers review their decision-making processes to ensure they are following principles of best practice in this area. A key aspect of decision making in this area is the interactions with the student body who are the final users of the TEO’s services.

Ways to increase the student voice in decision-making include:

  • Establishing a committee with student representation that has advisory or decision-making powers over how levies are set, what services should be delivered and how these services should be purchased. 
  • Making information available to students on how the levies are being used and how these services are performing against set objectives. 
  • Seeking regular feedback from students on the quality of services.

Example of good practice in complying with reporting requirements

View a copy of one TEO’s annual report, which demonstrates good practice in complying with all the reporting requirements of the Direction (PDF, 654 Kb).

Future review of the CSSF framework

The TEC and the MoE will continue to monitor compliance with the requirements of the Direction to test the effectiveness of the guidance issued. The Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment has also agreed to conduct a comprehensive review of the CSSF framework in 2015.

  • Last changed: 9 October 2014