COVID-19 Advice for the JCU Community - Last updated: 8 June 2022, 12pm (AEST)

Current Students Fees & Financial Support Brought to you by your SSA Fee

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Brought to you by your SSA Fee

In 2021, the Vice Chancellor approved expenditure of $3,842,403 for student fees through the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). Download the 2021 SSAF Expenditure Plan.

Below are some examples of how your Student Services and Amenities Fee has been used.

In 2021, SSAF fees contributed specifically to the provision of advocacy services for students on a broad range of academic and welfare matters and representation funding for members of the JCU Student Association to sit on various panels and committees, to ensure the student voice is heard in institutional decision making.

In 2021, the SSAF-funded Student Wellbeing Counsellor position within the Student Equity and Wellbeing Service increased the University's capacity to provide timely and professional mental health and wellbeing care for students. This role is critical, providing students with support and services to help them remain engaged with, and successfully complete, their studies.

The 2021 SSAF allocation also enabled JCU Health to continue to offer bulk billing to ensure no out of pocket expenses for students on the Townsville campus.

JCU is committed to enhancing your access, participation and success through a ‘whole-of-institution’ approach to widening participation, learning, teaching and the student experience, including appropriate facilities and access to learning technologies.

The SSAF allocation continues to include funding for key support service personnel such as Student Welfare Officers, Academic Language and Learning Advisors, and a Career Development Learning Officer to support those of you who are studying on campus, in remote study centres and externally.

In 2021, SSAF funds were allocated to two Learning Advisor positions - English as an Additional Language (EAL) and Mathematics and Literacy. Learning Advisors provide timely support and advice to domestic, international, EAL, internal, external, pathways undergraduate and postgraduate students to ensure a positive transition to University and to support academic success. During 2021, they conducted 1494 individual student consultations, providing academic support for student-facing programs and activities including Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) and the Peer Advice Desk; self-access online resources (they updated and designed e-resources for students to access through the Learning Centre web page); orientation short courses and workshops (maths refresher, basic statistics, academic writing, keys to success, English for academic purposes and critical reading); and one-on-one consultations with students (face-to-face and online).

SSAF funding is always made available to both the JCU Student Association and to other JCU student groups and bodies for a range of orientation, induction and student belonging events across the academic year. For example:

  • The Student Life Team host a comprehensive JCU Orientation and Transition Program on the Townsville and Cairns campuses through a five-week schedule of preparatory courses, inductions, information sessions, course introductions, social events, drop-in sessions, special interest group activities and pre-census retention activities. During prolonged periods of COVID-19 isolation, a number of events moved online to support student wellbeing and engagement. A number of new events (eg. Live(Stream)@Lunch and Wellbeing Wednesday) and resources (eg. Mindful Breathing and Tips for Managing Your Money in Difficult Times) were developed in collaboration with JCU stakeholders.
  • In 2021, 1,740 students attended Orientation with another 4,620 participating in other events throughout the year. In SP1, Orientation was also delivered online allowing students from Townsville, Cairns, Mount Isa, Mackay and external to participate in the same Orientation program for the first time in JCU history.
  • The team designed and delivered 34 extra-curricular events including Student Success Week, Harmony Day, National Student Volunteer Week, Live@Lunch, Enviro Week @ JCU, RUOK? Day, Exam Plan and Power Up Week, and provided online resources such as GetReady4Uni and their online Orientation Program. The website received 24,487 unique visitors in 2021.

This program was again SSAF funded in 2021. Library Infohelp Rovers can help you to develop study skills and guide you through a range of services, for example, LibGuides and search skills, helping with IT issues, basic software support, connecting to the JCU Eduroam wireless network, printing and photocopying issues, use of online JCU services such as LearnJCU and finding information on the JCU website, helping with referencing and the like.

In 2021, the Infohelp Rovers dealt with 677 individual enquiries, including setting up mobile devices (Wi-Fi, printing), assistance with 3D printing and assistance with student-focussed activities such as Orientation tasks. They helped provide to students a smooth transition into the University’s digital environment and opportunities to build practical digital technology skills that can be used in the workforce with peer support.

In 2021, proposed projects including refurbishments to student spaces in the libraries at Townsville and Cairns campuses and Cairns room A2.001B did not progress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SSAF funding was reallocated for 2022.

Past SSAF-funded projects include the creation of multi-purpose student spaces at Mount Isa and Mackay campuses and furniture upgrades to Townsville and Cairns libraries. SSAF funding also contributed to the establishment of the Indigenous Education and Research Centre (IERC) at the Cairns Campus.

Thanks to SSAF funding, the following support services have been made available to students over the years.

Off-Campus Students

The Student Life Team were able to develop resources for Off-Campus Students including a dedicated website and Off-Campus Information Guide.

HDR Students

SSAF funding was again used in 2021 to support Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students in delivering supportive group activities, such as seminar days, research student conferences, cohort activities for off campus research candidates, disciplinary-relevant career workshops and social events.

The Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Ambassador Program at JCU provides peer-to-peer welcome support that aims to make commencing students’ transition to a HDR degree, to JCU and town (Townsville or Cairns) as smooth as possible. This program is coordinated by the Graduate Research School (GRS) and run by 10 casually employed HDR candidates. The Ambassadors also benefit as the Program offers casual employment opportunities to enhance their skills in leadership, communication, problem-solving and connection with like-minded potential students.

In 2021, COVID-19 restrictions presented challenges, however the HDR Ambassadors adapted the Program for remote candidates, enthusiastically meeting them and sharing their positive university experience. There were 165 new candidates, 57 of whom used the Ambassador service.

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students

SSAF funding contributed to a range of activities being delivered or supported by the Indigenous Education and Research Centre (IERC) in 2021, including Welcome and Orientation events, Health and Wellbeing Program and workshops.

SSAF funds were used to purchase healthy snacks, kitchen supplies, study resources and small items of furniture.

The activities supported by SSAF built connections between students, staff and community, provided a welcoming and supportive environment for Indigenous students, healthy food choices and a sense of inclusion for external students.

International Students

The International Student Support Team continued to hold Free Lunch Fridays three times every semester on both Cairns and Townsville campuses in 2021, and additional SSAF funding was allocated to support International students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At each event the Team provided activities (traditional music and dancing, traditional arts and crafts) that encouraged student interaction and thus provided opportunity for students to develop friendships and make connections. Other Student Groups/Associations (Latin America SA, South Asia SA, Indonesian SA, Chinese SA, African Student Group, PNG SA) were engaged to help deliver activities and provide food.

Although attendance was reduced in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, each event attracted approximately 100 students. Student feedback, both verbal and via the International Students Townsville/Cairns Facebook groups, was very positive with many students sharing photos and commentary about their experience.

Students located at Thursday Island, Mackay and Mount Isa

The Study Centre Academic Skills Bootcamp project continued into 2021, delivering a series of interactive workshops and activities assisting students with their information needs, the finding and evaluation of information, effective reading, essay planning and writing, and referencing and learning skills.

The Thursday Island visit did not go ahead in 2021, however the face-to-face visits and workshops at Mackay and Mount Isa were especially appreciated by students and staff during this COVID-19 time.

  • Maintaining a healthy and active life is made easier and more affordable with support provided through SSAF. Recreational and cultural activities, together with a range of supporting services and amenities, are also provided across campus with this SSAF allocation. Find out more at the JCU Student Association.
  • Sports Facilities on Townsville and Cairns campuses are supported by SSAF through an annual allocation towards field maintenance and improvements, contributions to water rates and for cleaning common area bathrooms in gym and football ovals. This provides ongoing availability of sports facilities which are clean and well maintained.
  • The annual Inter-College Music Competition, held in SP2 2021, included students who resided at JCU Halls of Residence, The John Flynn College and Saints Catholic College. The Competition included sections for Band, Instrumental, Choir, Dance and Theatre. Adjudicators from the wider Townsville community volunteered their time and this event was an excellent opportunity for residents to participate in an event together, providing a sense of community and building leadership skills in those students who assisted in coordinating the event.

The JCU Student Association held a number of activities during 2021 where free food was provided courtesy of SSAF, particularly during O Week and Exam Periods, on both Townsville and Cairns campuses. Free tea and coffee was provided in kitchenettes on both campuses throughout the academic year.

Clubs and societies play an active role in the University community by providing students the opportunity to meet people with common interests and to pursue those interests. The JCU Student Association offers funding from SSAF for financial and administrative support to these organisations and students interested in forming their own.

Contact the JCU Student Association to find out more.

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