CUSU faces substantial NUS fee increase

Image credit: Khushali Dodhia

CUSU’s affiliation fee to the National Union of Students has been increased from £250 to £5,675 in 2016-17.

Notes attached to CUSU's agenda of its upcoming meeting reveal the staggering 2200% increase, which is being implemented due to a reinterpretation of CUSU’s “block grant”, a sum usually paid in termly installments.

At the time of CUSU’s NUS affiliation referendum last May, students were informed that fees would be the smaller sum.

The cost of affiliation could rise even further in 2017-18, to around £9,500, according to the notes.

Although the rise was initially disputed by CUSU’s General Manager, the Trustee board has provisionally agreed to pay the fee for this academic year.

CUSU council has the power to decide whether to remain affiliated, to disaffiliate, or to put the question of affiliation to members.

However, the agenda says that “given that students voted recently to remain affiliated to the NUS, Council members should be aware of the implications of any vote without full consultation with members.”

It continued, “CUSU Council, and, by extension, the student body do not have enough information about next year’s affiliation fee to make an informed decision on our affiliation to the NUS before National Conference on 25th-27th April 2017.”

CUSU has also resolved to “revisit and debate [its] affiliation to the NUS at or before the setting of the CUSU budget for 2017-18 in Lent, after the National Conference in April.”

Speaking to Varsity about the fee hike, CUSU President Amatey Doku commented: “CUSU does not get a ‘block grant’ in a conventional sense like other Universities and we also receive affiliation fees from Colleges. That has meant that for years we have expressed our incompatibility with the way the NUS sets its funds, since our funding arrangements are so different to other Universities.”

He added, “I am fully confident that we will be able to negotiate a deal and use our influence and delegates to challenge the fee and provide Council with a firm agreement on the fees set for next year. Council will then have the option, after national conference, to approve continued affiliation, reject it, or take it to referendum.”

The Cambridge Student has contacted CUSU for comment.

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