Membership Contribution Fee Calculation


Each year we send out our BIG SU Survey which unions are requested to complete. This provides an opportunity for unions to supply their block grant figures.
A 'Block Grant' is the annual funding provided by your institution to fund the work of the Students' Union/Student Council. We use the Block Grant to base our calculations for your Membership Contribution Fee which is typically 2.5% of your Block Grant.
Every year we refresh our data with the information from the completed SU survey which provides us with the majority of block grant information. However, this is not complete. There are unions that do not complete this survey and therefore we sometimes have missing data. If we do not have data from the survey then the block grant figure used for the previous year is used, with the addition of 5% to allow for an inflationary increase.

Every year in May or June, all member unions are emailed with the calculated membership contribution fee. This includes a breakdown of the calculation and requests that unions let us know if the calculation is incorrect (and to supply relevant evidence).

Every year in September we send all member unions the invoice for their membership contribution fee. This is often the point when we receive queries on the calculation.
The calculation will be as follows:
If you choose to affiliate to just NUS Charity, payments are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate. 
It should be noted here that when we state block grant, for the calculation of membership contribution, this is shorthand for effective block grant. The reason for this subtle difference is an attempt to equalize what is included in the block grant figure as each institution includes or excludes different items.


What should you include as part of your Block Grant?


Items that are included in your Block Grant are:

•    Staff where they solely work on student union work regardless of whether they work for the union or parent institution.
•    Any elected officers part-time or full time, regardless of whether they work for the union or parent institution.
•    Any (block) grant funding from the parent institution.

Items which may be excluded are:

•    Where a member receives funds with the intention of them being remitted back to the institution (for example for payment of rent or utilities) the value of these funds would be removed to calculate the effective block grant.
•    If a member receives funds that are specifically for a restricted fund as detailed in accounting SORP, then this figure should be removed to calculate effective block grant.
•    If a member receives funds to help bail the member out of a fine or similar, then the figure should be removed to calculate effective block grant.
•    If a member received funds to help with a building project, capital expenditure or similar investment, then the figure should be removed to calculate effective block grant.

Incorrect Block Grant Figure

We are aware that we may not always use the correct block grant figures due to the methodology that we collect this information and it not being complete. Provided a member can evidence the block grant figure that requires correcting, this will be amended. Evidence can be in the form of:

• Sight of the statutory accounts disclosing the block grant figure, by any of Companies House,
Charity Commission or forwarded accounts

• Copy of a letter from the institution confirming the block grant value and the period for which the
block grant was awarded

• Sight of draft statutory accounts disclosing the block grant figure.

Financial hardship support 


For your peace of mind and planning purposes, below are the options available to members who may be in need of financial support in 2021-22.
You can apply for Hardship, Abatement, or Transition Releif or to set up an Alternative Payment Schedule, up until the 30th June (extended deadline 12 July, 2021) via this form



It may be that this year you will be able to pay your membership fees, but perhaps not as you would normally. It may be possible to adjust your payments to a different pattern instead of how you pay now.
For us to be able to consider this we need to have an understanding of what you will be able to pay and when you’ll be able to pay. For example, you may prefer 10 payments split across the year starting in September, or a payment each term, or something different.


Hardship is another existing scheme that seeks to support members who find themselves unable to pay their membership fees. The principle underpinning hardship is that a students' union could not have reasonably planned for the financial hardship. Obviously, a global pandemic and the potential impact it’s had on a member’s income would fall into this category.
In certain situations, a member may see an increase in membership contribution. This could be for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to) an increase in block grant, new information arising from a review of financial/block grant information, a change in the calculation of membership contribution or an increase in membership contribution agreed by the members of NUS/NUS Charity. 
In such circumstances, it is possible to stagger the increase in membership contribution. This is known as transition relief. The aim of transition relief is to stagger a members’ move from the previous level of membership contribution to the new over a period of time.
A member may apply for transition relief if;  
•    Their membership contribution is 20% or higher than the value of their previous membership contribution. Increases of less than 20% are not eligible for transition relief.  
•    They are an existing member of NUS/NUS Charity. New members are not eligible to apply for transition relief 
•    The member has not previously been in receipt of transition relief in the last two years 
•    The member has been specifically put in a list to not receive transition relief
Value of transition relief 
Transition relief can be applied up to a maximum of three years. The transition relief calculation is based on the principle that the increase is spread evenly over the transition period, with a third of the difference payable each year. It can only be applied to the difference between the old and new membership contribution levels. 
Union A’s membership contribution is £10,000 but following an increase in block grant this increases to £19,000. They would pay 
Year one: £10,000 (original contribution) + £3000 (1/3 of difference) = £13,000 
Year two: £10,000 (original contribution) + £6,000 (2/3 of difference) = £16,000 
Year three: £19,000 (full new membership contribution level) 

Full Hardship and Abatement guidance can be found here.


Apply here before 12 July (extended deadline, usually July 1st).


If you have any questions about your Membership Contribution please email