NUS affiliation: the facts


A vote for St Andrews to join the National Union of Students is due on 14-16 November. Here is a summary of the costs of membership, according to information provided by the Elections Committee:

Total cost of membership

Year Cost
2012/12 no membership fee paid until first full year
2013/14 £9,687.60
2014/15 £19,367.15

Potential revenue from membership

% of St Andrews students purchasing cards Revenue
5% (389 cards) £1,831
10% (778 cards) £3,664
25% (1944 cards) £9,157

(Based on a student body of 7,777 students; each card sold for £12 generates £4.71 in revenue for the Students’ Association.)

Here is a summary of NUS card sales at other British Universities:

University % of total students purchasing cards Cards purchased
Aberdeen 2.8% of 14,000 390
Queen Mary’s 9.3% of 15,000 1392
Lancaster 23.8% of 12,500 2972
Reading 30% of 23,000 6930

Additional services

Additional services are provided by the NUS, included in the affiliation fee. Here is an outline of what they consist of (there are other services available too):


  • 2 days of in-house training for 20 officers and representatives
  • 2 days of in-house activist training for 100 students


  • 2 days of higher education policy consultancy
  • 2 days of union democracy  consultancy
  • 2 days of management consultancy

*Minimum services offered


  • NUS Digital Basic Package: includes simple functions but no commercial services or revenue potential – may be upgraded for £7,000 additional to Affiliation Fee to NUS Digital Full Package, which allows revenue potential from advertising (the Students’ Association is considering alternative methods for generating revenue)


A statement from Freddie Fforde (President of the Students’ Association) raised these points:

  • Despite predicted losses in BESS (the shop at the front of the Union), they are “confident that other trading departments can continue to perform well”
  • BESS will close temporarily at the end of semester one, and will “retain only the permanent members of staff” for the proposed “pop-up [replacement] shop” in the Students’ Association building as part of phase one of the Union redevelopment
  • Catering “will see major disruption”: for the academic year, 2012/13, Beaton’s operations will close for Semester 1, then will be transferred to the Union coffee shop in semester two; however, a “relaunch of the coffee shop and a change of opening hours should […] achieve a combined net surplus of £7,046.00”
  • After another “record year” in the Bars, a net surplus of £252,711 is predicted, though they recognise the “threat of external bar companies being set up”, such as Kinkell Byre setting up its own event bar facilities. They are “looking to re-launch Saturday nights” by using Ice Dragon productions (creators of Sin City) to “remain as financially independent as possible”
  • The Association “continues to maintain the highest ratio of clubs and societies in the UK”
  • They are “predicting better returns in Entertainments this year”, with the “best Freshers line-up [they] have seen in years”, and “it is [their] aim to continue with themed nights and a more diverse programme of events […] to help achieve [their] ambitious target within Entertainments”
  • The Association as a result predicts a “small deficit” of -£8480 for this year

They said that the “wide range of representational and activity-based services” – the “catering, bars and Bess” in particular – “will inevitably be disrupted during the proposed building redevelopment”; the union will therefore “run at a loss” during the redevelopment period (March 2013 – November 2015), “returning to profitability thereafter.”


  1. Expected Revenue?! Based on what? If you look at figures for Scottish Uni’s – in particular the only ancient Uni with figures given, 25% uptake on cards (for which most stores aren’t even in St Andrews and most shops just take student cards anyway) looks wildly optimistic!

    • I think the point is to give a sense of what £9k and £19k in NUS fees might mean to the union, perspective. Though it’d be nice to see a full summary of union finances, not just some arbitrary losses and profits without knowing gross revenue and expenditure too.

      I’m curious about the figures, as last time the NUS issue came up (back in 2009/10 or 10/11) I remember one of the Sabbs saying it was more like £30k per year.

      And what does that Web section even mean?

      • Hi there. The Saint have here summarised the full document that is available on our website here There are introductory remarks to the document which make its purpose clear.

        Will, with regards financial documentation you’ll find that the budget is included in the above link. Further, any member of the Association has the right to request a full breakdown of our figures from the Management Accountant on the middle floor. Simply ask at the General Office or contact me directly if you’ve any further questions.

        Best wishes
        Freddie for contact details


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