Parkville Station

UMSU 2017 budget by the numbers

The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) approved its budget for 2017 at a meeting of the Students’ Council on Wednesday, 7th December 2016.

Read Parkville Station’s summary of the key points of the budget.

This page shows every dollar in the Students’ Council budget: where it comes from, and what it’s going to be used for. Simply tap along the line to see the breakdown.

Select a category to see the breakdown

VCESS Summer School (VCESS)

  • Income: $133k
  • Expenditure: $121k

The VCE Summer School (VCESS) is a volunteer programme run, since 1971, by the Student Union in January, aimed ‘to help high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds gain a head start’ on their VCE. Although it receives a modest grant directly from UMSU, the programme is largely self-funding — in 2017, the budgeted difference between its income and and expenditure is about $12k.

More information on VCESS.

Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

  • Income: $5.9M

The Student Services and Amenities Fee is a compulsory fee that the University of Melbourne charges all local students (an an equivalent amount of money is set aside from international students’ fees). The money is divided up between various organisations on campus, and the SSAF is the lion’s share of UMSU’s income.

Prior to 2017, UMSU received one block of SSAF to fund its general operations, and a smaller allocation that was specifically set aside to run the Advocacy Service. Parkville Station understand that, for 2017 and going forward, UMSU will receive just one grant, to divide up how it wants.

Although the SSAF is a generous pot of money, it comes with specific rules, set out in the law about how it can be spent.


  • Amount: $40k

The contingency line, as one would expect, exists to pay for unforeseen circumstances. It’s up on last year, presumably as the organisation faces some challenges relating to the future of Union House and the future of its shared services provider, MUSUL Services.

This is not the only contingency line in the budget (it’s just the “whole of organisation” contingency budget), and some departments and divisions have set aside their own contingency lines.

Whole of Union

  • Amount (at large): $80k
  • Amount (for campuses without UMSU presence): $10k

The Whole of Union line is unallocated money that the Students’ Council will allocate over the course of the year to pay for events, campaigns and activities as they come up. This year sees a more generous allocation than usual, and there’s actually even more money hidden away, with the new Campaigns line ($30k) presumably able to fund some of the snap campaigns that would otherwise be funded from Whole of Union.

This year, $10k from this line has been set aside specifically to fund events for students at campuses other than Parkville, VCA (Southbank) and Burnley.

Student officer honoraria

  • Amount (full time rate): $22.5k
  • Amount (joint rate): $13.5k
  • Amount (total): $516k

This is the amount paid to elected student officebearers for doing their jobs (or not doing them, if your a cynic). (It doesn’t include the honoraria paid to directors of volunteer programmes, or honoraria paid to speakers at events.) In 2017, that will be $22,500 for officebearers with a portfolio to themselves (e.g., President), as well as to each of the four Media Officers. For officebearers sharing and office (e.g., Welfare is split between two people), each will be paid 0.6 times the full time rate: that is, $13.5k for the year.

Whole of UMSU administration

  • Expenditure: $397k

This category includes miscellaneous expenses for running the organisation: most notably, salaries for whole of organisation support staff, insurance, legal compliance fees and other miscellaneous expenses.

National Union of Students

  • Expenditure (affiliation fees): $30k
  • Expenditure (National Conference registration fees): $7k
  • Expenditure (total): $37k

This line represents amounts paid to the National Union of Students, which is the peak representative body for Australian undergraduate students.

Activities Department

  • Income: $85k
  • Expenditure: $145k
  • Net allocation: $60k

This is the money spent by the union’s Activities Department, which runs events such as Oktoberfest and Trivia Nights. (It doesn’t cover the cost of the Tuesday Beers, Bands and BBQs — we follow UMSU’s decision to classify that under “Arts and Entertainment » Entertainment”.) Although Activities is one of the more expensive departments — soaking up an impressive $145k — this year it has a mandate to offset some of its costs by generating $85k in income, likely mainly from ticket sales and sponsorship.

More info on the Activities Department website.

Clubs and Societies Department

  • Expenditure: $322k

This line is funding for the clubs and societies department, including UMSU’s grants to its affiliated clubs and societies. Parkville Station understands that this year, $260k will be allocated to those grants.

More info on the Clubs Department website.

UMSU International — International Students Department

  • Income: $90k
  • Expenditure: $351k

UMSU International represents international students studying at the University of Melbourne. Budget-wise, it’s a bit special (a legacy of its former, separate existance from UMSU): UMSU’s Constitution requires that its budget be set “consistent with the proportion allocated [to UMSU International] in the 2012 budget”. The expenditure depicted here also includes the cost associated with a staff member to support UMSU International.

More info on the Clubs Department website.

Media Department

  • Expenditure: $140k

The Media Department, which publishes Farrago and runs Radio Fodder, sees a big increase this year (last year, it was allocated $100k). We understand the increase to be driven by purchasing equipment for making videos, as well as the decision (which we thought would be controversial, but seems to have passed unremarked) to pay honoraria to the Radio Fodder IT Manager and the Web IT Officer.

Note: all figures taken from the UMSU 2017 budget, but figures have in some cases been rounded or approximated and may not add up entirely.

Note: individual committees will approve their own sub-budgets. These sub-budgets will determine how money in a particular portfolio (e.g., the Queer Department) will be spent, and are not reflected in the graphics above. We will, however, keep you up to date as Committees approve them.

Click here to read more from Parkville Station newspaper.