Compulsory student services fees

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Last updated 21 January 2021
Last updated 21 January 2021

Tertiary education institutions (TEIs) and Private training establishments (PTEs) can charge domestic students a compulsory student service fee (CSSF) to help fund the costs of delivering services and facilities that support students and enhance their academic experience.

How these fees are set and used are informed and regulated by the CSSF framework, which intends to:  

  • make sure providers are transparent in setting and administering the fee
  • ensure students are involved in CSSF decision-making
  • set clear limits on what services can be funded through the fee. 

The CSSF framework

Sections 257 and 360 of the Education and Training Act 2020 specify that the Minister of Education may give a written direction on a number of matters relating to CSSFs.

All providers that charge a CSSF to help fund the costs of delivering student services need to comply with all aspects of the Ministerial Direction.

The areas of compliance cover:

  • Student involvement – providers must establish adequate arrangements for CSSF-related decisions to be made jointly or in consultation with students, including:
    • the amount charged (including the amount charged to different categories of students)
    • the services offered and who delivers them
  • Categories of student services – the permitted categories of student services that the CSSF can support
  • Accounting for CSSFs – all CSSF-associated income and expenditure must either be held in a separate bank account, or separately accounted for within existing accounts
  • Annual reporting on CSSFs –TEIs must provide information on CSSFs in their annual reports, and PTEs must provide a written report to their students.
  • Publishing CSSF information online – CSSF information is to be published on a provider’s website clearly and in an accessible location. This information must include the amount charged (including the amounts charged to different categories of students), information that demonstrates the provider has involved students in CSSF decision-making, and information on how students can be involved in future decisions.

We have published a CSSF guide (PDF, 2.1 Mb) to help providers that charge a CSSF to understand and comply with all aspects of the framework. This includes a more detailed breakdown of the Ministerial Direction requirements, including the categories of services, and examples of how to involve students in decision making.

Monitoring and reviewing the CSSF framework

We monitor CSSF practices across the sector, including provider compliance with the Ministerial Direction via annual reporting and provider websites.

The Ministry of Education regularly reviews the CSSF framework to make sure it remains fit for purpose.

CSSFs and Fees Free

CSSFs are included in fees-free tertiary education for eligible learners.

As part of regular fees-free reporting to the TEC, providers are required to attest that they comply with the CSSF Ministerial Direction, which we monitor.

Have a question?

For information or advice on CSSFs, the framework and your obligations, please contact us by email: