What your £20 for a NUS student discount card actually goes to
Walking through a fresher’s fair, a student is often first greeted by the welcoming bright teal sign of the NUS. More formally known as the National Union of Students, the famous brand is commonly known for offering students some of the best discounts in the United Kingdom.
Aside from the massive discounts NUS offers, when a student signs up for the union, they join a group of over seven million students aiming to use their education in order to create a fair and prosperous society.
Nevertheless, 61% of students are unaware of what the NUS does for their university environment. And even so, of the 39% who are “aware” of what the National Union of Students does, 86% thought that the organization was just their NUS Extra Card that allows them to get discounts.
Founded in 1922, as an effort to make peace after the first world war, their mission still remains to promote, defend, and extend student rights allows them to fight discrimination and injustice through democratic representation, campaigning, and targeted action.
Through the help of students across the nation, the NUS is able to bring together the collective interests of their members in order to develop research that influences national policy and take on issues that affect the lives of students now and in the future.
The National Union of Students is a voluntary membership organization consisting of 600 students’ unions. That’s more than 95 percent of all higher student unions in the United Kingdom. When a student pays £20 for their discounted student railway card or the extra 20% off at Boots, they agree to uphold and support the three core values of the NUS: equality, democracy, and collectivism.
The latest elected officers of the NUS focus on pursuing equal opportunities for everyone to fully participate in a society of students to celebrate diversity. The NUS also aims to “[build] open, transparent, and accessible democratic structures that increase performance and strengthen accountability.”
Furthermore, their message strongly resonates with the quote, “unity is our strength” by constantly promoting the idea that students’ unions are more effective when they work with each other on a local, national, and international level.
Students and student unions have long been targeted by the press because we are often at the forefront of politics, leading the way on social issues where the rest of society is falling behind.#NUSZones— Zamzam Ibrahim (@ZamzamMCR) October 25, 2018
Within every student’s union lies a desire to provide wide-ranging research and discussion about the policies of further education, higher education, society, citizenship, union development, and welfare.
Spanning across Great Britain, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Northern Ireland, the NUS also campaigns and defends the rights of highly marginalized and underrepresented groups such as black students, disabled students, LGBTQI+, and women.
Although it may seem like the NUS does nothing but give you 10% off at Pizza Express and lead the funding and mission student unions, their recent movements and parliamentary wins for students are very present for plenty of individuals.
Student’s right to protected student deposits in the private rented sector, exemption from Council Tax, Young Persons Railcard, and Endsleigh Student Insurance are all due to the constant efforts of the NUS.
Less known strides towards a more student-friendly world have been made by the NUS as well. In the past three years, the National Union of Students has managed to help 48,000 international students who were wrongly deported after falsified English language tests were turned in.
The NUS is also the reason why students over the age of 30 are still able to receive student loans.
When founded by Sir Ivison MacAdam, his vision for the future involved providing “hope for tomorrow.” Giving a voice to their seven million members from all walks of life and fighting for a better student environment for the future.
Read all about what the NUS is doing to not file bankruptcy here.