ANU Sport and Recreation (ANU Sport) is the premier gym for students and staff on-campus, receiving partial funding from the Student Services Amenities Fee (SSAF). The organisation defines itself as being “the heart of fitness and wellbeing at ANU for over 50 years.”

ANU’s SSAF enables the funding of non-academic services by way of student contribution. In 2024, the annual fee is $351.00 for full time students, and $175.00 for part time students, and is required to be paid at the start of each semester. ANU Sport is funded through SSAF. 

Recently, ANU Sport has come under fire for their membership prices despite their substantial SSAF allocation. At the first ANUSA Student Representative Council meeting, a motion was proposed that called on ANU Sport to provide “the cheapest, and therefore most inclusive, membership prices to students.” The motion, however, was not debated.

ANU Sport received 20% of the 2024 SSAF, a total of $1,165,489.08. This has increased from a 17% allocation in 2023, at $961,818. Their allocation will remain at 20% for the next three years in line with the new three year funding model. 

According to an ANU spokesperson, SSAF allocation is “guided by information collected from the student body” after consultation with the student body and the Student Services Council (SSC). They add, “the Student Services Council plays an advisory role on all matters pertaining to the SSAF, its allocation and use across different services provided to the ANU students. The SSC recommends expenditure to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).”

The SSC is made up of SSAF receiving service providers including ANU sport, who play an advisory role in matters relating to SSAF including SSAF allocation. 

However, despite ANU Sport receiving a high proportion of the SSAF, its fees remain significantly higher than its counterparts.

The following table shows a comparison of gym membership prices across similarly placed university or on-campus gyms. These membership fees pertain directly to students enrolled as students in the listed institutions.

Both ANU Sport and University of Canberra Sport membership fees include access to group fitness sessions, and gym access. CIT Fit and Well Fitness Centre provides personal trainers, group fitness classes, and gym access. 

UC Sport student gym memberships are subsidised by the University’s SSAF

Commercial gyms such as Anytime Fitness have weekly fees around $15, depending on membership type and location of the facility. Club Lime gyms located in Braddon charges $17.90, Club lime at Marcus Clarke Street, only a walking distance from ANU campus, charges $14.90, while membership in the Belconnen facility costs around  $27.90. 

ANU Sport’s current number of active memberships is 2361, including 1565 students at a percentage of 66% of all total memberships. The total number of students at ANU currently is 17,380, including 10,252 undergraduate students, and 7,128 postgraduate students. 

An ANU Sport spokesperson provided the following breakdown of their active memberships:

The 2023 SSAF Survey Report shows that the provision of health and welfare services was the most important service to students. Respondents reported they hoped to see better access to health and wellbeing initiatives, which included sport and recreation. However, accessible food services ranked above.

With the ANU found to have some of the lowest low socio-economic student attendance, and the deepening cost of living crisis, students can ask whether ANU Sport’s membership fees are affordable enough to meet their health and wellbeing needs.

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