The NUS: Student Discount, or No Student Discount. That is the question.

This discount card may be ‘icing on the cake’ compared to the more important issue of national representation, but it is certainly very nice.

Today was the NUS Referendum debate – where the two campaign teams were debating to decide on what was the best thing for SUSU. We had an honoured guest today – Mr Aaron Porter, the current President of the NUS, and the leader of the student protests 3 weeks ago.

Much of the debate today, as well as online over the past few days, has circled around cost – how much SUSU will have to pay, if it’s worth it, and whether we will lose, or save money.
The question is whether this NUS affiliation will actually be a ‘cost’. Interestingly Aaron Porter today said that a lot of Universities in the NUS are actually making a substantial annual profit from being part of the NUS.

The YES campaign poster

Let’s be frank – the NUS affiliation cost is approx £50k. The estimated saving costs from bulk-buying are estimated at about £45k. This means that initially, there is about a £5k loss.

Now we can go ahead and accuse the NUS of being liars, fraudsters and theives, or we could take a slight step back and look at the simple fact – it is not in the long-term interest of the NUS to lie about these figures. This is a saving they have estimated that we’ll make on products that are currently being sold here in Southampton. If they lied, then as soon as we affiliated we’d find out that actually we weren’t making savings, and disaffiliate the following year because of the amount of money we’re losing.

So treating the bulk-buying savings as true, which it is fair to say they are – the only real issues are restrictions, representation, and discounts. There are little, if no restrictions to being part of the NUS. There are only benefits that come from being part of a national union that has a say on national issues.

The last is discounts. When Union Council voted to have a referendum on NUS membership last month, council members were adamant that the campaign should be about more than just discounts. A noble intention, perhaps, that’s not how things have ended up – with the main campaign point of the YES team being “Real discounts with an NUS extra card”.

No if we choose to ignore the perceived ‘reality’ of these discounts and look at we’re being offered – a card that costs £11, that will save us far more if we use it regularly. It can be used to save on booking train tickets, buying books online, and shopping all around the world. Not just your average discount card.

Now this discount card may be ‘icing on the cake’ compared to the arguably more important issue of national representation, but it is certainly very nice, and this is what the YES team have chosen to publicize the most.

Vote YES if you want national representation, with discounts on top. It’s a no brainer.

You can vote in the NUS Referendum at