YUSU’s affiliation fees to the National Union of Student (NUS) have increased by £5000 in one financial year. For the 2014-15 financial year, the membership fee was £42,000. This increased in the 2015-16 financial year to £47,000.
The increase is due to the way in which the NUS calculates the contributions paid by student unions. The formula for membership contributions is based on complex system which charges YUSU and other student’s unions between 4 and 7 per cent based on the grant income given to student’s unions from universities and student numbers registered at the institution in question. The price per student varies depending on whether the student is an undergraduate or postgraduate, with 10p being charged per undergraduate and 4p per postgraduate study full time. YUSU is charged slightly less for part-time students of 4p per undergraduate and 2p for postgraduates.
Based on this affiliation formula, due to the increase in student numbers and central grant provided by the University over the past year, YUSU were charged more for affiliation with the NUS.
This figure does not reflex the net cost benefit to YUSU. According to figures supplied by YUSU for the financial year 2014/5 YUSU actually received more back from the NUS in the form of rebates, sales of NUS Extra cards and trade discounts than it paid in affiliation fees. The total amount reimbursed to YUSU was £58,540, making a net gain from the NUS of £11,000 for YUSU.
However, this net gain is not always guaranteed, and sometimes YUSU actually pay more for the NUS than they receive back. It is also unclear whether conference costs are factored into this figure as well. Indeed, part of the 2014/5 net gain was made up of nearly £22,000 in sales of NUS Extra cards to York students as well as a retrospective rebate of £10,000. This means that without such strong sales and such a high rebate – a mechanism designed to reimburse members who have overpaid in the past – YUSU could end up paying more for membership.