Campaign guidance on the HE White Paper is now available

Friday 10-06-2016 - 09:00

Today NUS has released new guidance for students’ unions on how to campaign around the HE White Paper and Higher Education & Research Bill.

The HE White Paper contains plans for the most aggressive reforms to the sector in over a decade. If you haven’t had the opportunity to give it a read already, take a look at our brief summary.  We’ve spent the last few weeks talking to students’ unions, a number of MPs and to the sector about our concerns with the direction of travel for higher education in England.

Today’s guidance will be the first set of guidance with more to follow, that will help you to understand some of the key elements of the White Paper in more detail, articulate why they matter and look at how you can work on taking on the White Paper on the ground in your students’ union. 

The overarching narrative of the White Paper is the market & competition, making students passive consumers, undermining academic partnership and burdening students with a lifetime of debt. Together NUS, students’ unions and the student movement can work together to take apart the White Paper measure by measure, ensuring that students are powerful.

These reforms will have impacts across all four nations and I hope everyone will be able to engage with these campaigns in some way. What is less clear is how each individual nation will be impacted, and so we will be working with the NUS nations officers to develop any specific guidance where it is needed.

The student movement has already won some significant concessions since these proposals originally surfaced in the HE Green Paper last year. One in eight of the responses to the Green Paper were from students’ unions, showing the collective power we have.  With the second reading of the HE Bill looking to be either this month or next, there is no time to lose.

For our next steps we will developing briefings for students’ unions on how to lobby your MP, we will be further consulting on your views and keeping you up to date on the progress of the Bill.

Take a look at the guidance and start planning your campaigning priorities now. If you have any questions, email

Let’s pick up the fight. In unity,



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