#YestoNUS: How NUS is winning for students

Wednesday 11-05-2016 - 14:44

NUS has been around for 94 years. In that time we’ve done a great deal to ensure we’re improving the lives of the students we represent. Here’s a snapshot of some of our most noteworthy wins for students.

During her closing remarks at this year’s National Conference, NUS President 2015-16 Megan Dunn listed some of NUS’ achievements in the years she has been involved:

“We scrapped unfair apprenticeships loans and raised the minimum wage. Saved £28 million of the national scholarship programme. Ensured £350 million of the student opportunity fund stayed put. Put lad culture and zero tolerance on the agenda in institutions all over the country so Vice Chancellors and college principals have to stand up and actually do something about it.

“We’ve kept £30 million in the Education budget. Won £10m for Part Time and Adult Education in Wales. Set up the amazing National Society of Apprentices. Fought against and called out unpaid internships.

“Exposed and eliminated hidden course costs in institutions across the country. Guaranteed a place at university for every care leaver in Scotland. Saved student governors in colleges. Got student parents £41 million back in their pockets. Convinced every single Northern Irish MP to vote against scrapping maintenance grants. Ensured student parents had £41 million put back in their pockets. And got £100 million put into student bursaries in colleges.”

Here are just some of NUS’ other wins over the years…

What are NUS’ wins over the past five to ten years?

  • 2016 – Court finds 48,000 international students were wrongly deported by the Home Office using a flawed English language test, based on expert legal opinion NUS provided.
  • 2016 NUS campaigned with FOSIS, Al-Qalam and 1st Ethical for government to introduce a Sharia-compliant loan system, and they have now announced its introduction the White Paper
  • 2016 We organised between SUs, universities and the higher education sector to respond to the Green Paper consultation on the importance and current excellence of students’ unions, leading to initial plans to overhaul students’ unions reduced to 3 paragraphs in the White Paper
  • 2015 – Establishment of a Lad Culture/harassment taskforce by Universities UK (UUK) at request of government, following NUS campaign work;
  • 2015 – NUS got the taught postgraduate loan cap removed with the #capsoff campaign, so those over 30 can now access postgraduate loans
  • 2015 – Competitions and Markets Authority publishes guidance on students and consumer law following NUS pressure;
  • 2014 – After an NUS complaint, the Office for Fair Trading rules that universities cannot use academic sanctions to recover non-academic debt;
  • 2014 – Government introduced taught postgraduate loans for people aged 30 and under thanks to NUS work with a coalition of partners (inc Centre Forum)
  • 2013 – NUS secured £5m from HEFCE for sustainability projects in SUs across England;
  • 2013 – NUS turned government cuts to National Scholarship Programme into over £50m more into students’ pockets, supporting students’ unions to take advantage of a little known rule change to turn pointless fee waivers into cash bursaries;
  • 2007 – Secured establishment of Tenancy Deposit Schemes in England, protecting student deposits in the private rented sector;

What are NUS' other historical wins that still have an impact today?

  • 1992 – Secured exemption from Council Tax for all full-time students
  • 1974 – Negotiated with British Rail to create the Student Railcard (now known as the 16-25 Railcard or ‘Young Persons Railcard’) which has meant discounted travel for millions over the decades
  • 1967 – NUS evidence convinces the Latey Committee to recommend reducing age of majority from 21 to 18 – meaning young people between 18 and 21 became legal adults from 1971
  • 1965 – We founded Endsleigh Insurance to ensure students could access insurance products (previously insurance companies did not provide products to students);

Are you running a 'Yes to NUS' campaign at your campus or college? You can find all of the resources and practical information you'll need in one handy place on NUS Connect here

If you’re looking for a tailored benefit statement for your SU, simply email our Membership team on


Features, Union Development, Yes to NUS

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