Terms of membership

As an NUS member you play a part in everything we do to champion and improve students’ lives. You also have access to unparalleled support, training and advice services – alongside an opportunity to work with us to shape the future of the student movement.  

Here's a little information about what you are joining and some of the core terms of membership. 

Membership explained – NUS and NUS Charity 

By joining NUS as a whole you become a member of two companies that act shoulder to shoulder. These are NUS and NUS Charity. 



NUS focuses on delivering focused high-impact national campaigns and representation. Read more about the benefits and value of NUS membership here.

NUS’ legal name is National Union of Students (UK) and it is a limited company,  

NUS is a Company Limited by Guarantee - its full name is National Union of Students (UK) and its company number is 08015198. NUS was founded in 1922. It is the student voice organisation and by affiliating you become a legal member of this company. To join or leave NUS there is a legal requirement for all students at your institution to vote on affiliation by secret ballot. All affiliations need to be reviewed annually but this is usually done as part of the budget process. Full details can be found here. 


NUS Charity 

NUS Charity focuses on the provision of a strong students’ union for every student, promoting and building the stand-alone value of students’ unions. NUS Charity also undertakes social enterprise activity through its trading subsidiary. This allows us to leverage collective power to curate a dynamic marketplace of products and services. Read more about the benefits and value of NUS Charity membership here.

By joining NUS Charity you become a legal member of the company. The Education Act requirements to hold a referendum don’t apply to membership of NUS Charity, so joining or leaving the NUS Charity can be decided on by your board. 

NUS Charity is a Charitable Company Ltd by Guarantee, its company name is NUS Students’ Unions Charitable Services Ltd. Its company number 07509468 and its charity number is 1140142. Social Enterprise activities are run for the Charity through its trading subsidiary. 


Dual membership 

The vast majority of members are affiliated to both organisations, enjoying the collective value of a national movement for change. It is possible however to affiliate to either one or the other organisation, or to simply join the collective purchasing consortium 

Further details of the legal structure of NUS and NUS Charity can be found in the Articles and Rules.


Membership Contributions 

As part of the reform process, membership contributions, which historically were a 4% levy on block grant funding, are now reduced to just 2.5% of your block grant funding, with 2% applied to NUS and 0.5% to NUS Charity. A minimum membership contribution of £250 and a maximum of £37,500 applies, with the relevant contribution apportioned to each part of NUS. As a dual affiliate to both sides of NUS these are collected as one payment by NUS. 


The majority of NUS’ income is provided through membership contributions, totalling around £2m in 2020/21, but it also receives £1.3m from Endsleigh each year. This means that some things that NUS UK does, which cannot be lawfully funded with your students’ union’s money i.e. a charity’s money, are funded using the Endsleigh funds, e.g. national political campaigning. Endsleigh's money also contributes to NUS UK’s infrastructure costs and its pension fund deficit. 

The contribution for membership of NUS is 2% of block grant funding taking effect on 1 July 2020, with a minimum contribution of £200 and maximum of £30,000. 

NUS Charity 

NUS Charity’s income comes from your membership contributions as well as income generated through trading activities. Membership contributions for NUS Charity are just 0.5% of your block grant funding, capped at £7,500. For dual members, NUS Charity payments are collected together with your NUS contributions by NUS. If you choose to affiliate to just NUS Charity, payments are collected by the Charity and subject to VAT at the prevailing rate. 

You can view your membership contribution here. 

Membership Contribution Support – Covid-19 

We appreciate this is a very testing and stressful time for all our members. 

We know that there is still a great deal of uncertainty as you plan how and when to re-open for students. That's why we'll be doing our very best to ensure you can continue to receive NUS' support during these difficult times. No member of NUS should have to leave due to hardship during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to access your membership contribution 2020-21 and apply for alternative payment schedules and hardship requests. 


Your rights to vote and shape the work we do 

NUS is owned and led by its members. As NUS company members you have the right to participate in our decision making in the following ways:-

  • Both NUS and NUS Charity hold General Meetings to discuss strategy and finance, all members can vote here on a one member one vote basis 

  • Eligibility to stand in various elections to our Boards and committees, plus other rights as company members. See our Articles and Rules for more information.

  • NUS hosts a series of democratic events to set campaigning priorities of the organisation. All NUS members are entitled to send delegates to these events, in most cases proportionate to your student numbers. Read more here.

See our full programme of membership events here.


Information we need from you as a member

Each year we ask members to provide us some basic information about themselves including primary contacts, details of your block grant and student numbers as well as some key documentation. This helps us administer your membership more efficiently. 

You can find out more about what we need and when in our membership timeline.


How to Join 

Your students’ union decides whether to join NUS based on the views of your students. You can read about the benefits and value of membership here.

The application process is simple and involves filling in an online form with some information about your students’ union, plus supplying some supporting info. 

Find out more about joining and fill in your membership form here.

If you want to discuss joining NUS please email and we’ll arrange for a member of the team to speak to you about this. 


Leaving us 

We hope that you don’t want to leave us but if you do, we do need you to do a couple of things. 

To leave NUS you need to hold a disaffiliation vote in which all students at your institution can vote by secret ballot.  

Give written confirmation on headed paper from the lead elected officer of your students’ union, as this is the body that would have passed your affiliation to begin with. This needs to be sent to the Board before 1 July in the year in which you wish to withdraw from membership, this will then take effect on 31 December of that year. You can do this by emailing