NUS Referendum 2022



As part of the UCASU Elections 2022, we asked you "should UCASU remain affiliated to the National Union of Students UK (NUS) and NUS Charity. This was because on Tuesday 15 February, Union Council voted in favour of holding the referendum during Elections.

Below are the referendum results:

‘Yes’ votes:



‘No’ votes:



‘RON (re-open nominations)’ votes:



‘Abstained’ :




In line with UCASU Constitution, the result of the referendum will be presented to the UCASU Board of Trustees for ratification. 


What is the NUS?

The NUS, or National Union of Students, is a confederation of nearly 600 Students' Unions enabling the democratic and collective representation of students across the UK – it's made up of two organisations; NUS UK and NUS Charity.

NUS says that they aim to promote, defend and extend the rights of students and the interests of Students’ Unions. Most Students' Unions are affiliated to NUS, but some are not and there is no requirement to be a member. To be affiliated, each Students' Union pays an annual membership fee to be a member of NUS and receives benefits in return for doing so.

What is a referendum?

A referendum is a direct vote on a particular proposal or issue.

In our case, a referendum has the ability to set a policy that governs the Students' Union. It provides the electorate, which is YOU as UCA students, the opportunity to vote on a single question with a "Yes" or "No" answer. Any UCA student can put forward a referendum question, however, it must be approved at either UCASU's AGM (Annual General Meeting) or by the Union Council.


There is a minimum requirement for voter turnout for a referendum, for any referendum that UCASU holds the voter turnout must be at least 5% of the student population – this means we need at least 325 students to cast their vote on UCASU's affiliation to NUS.

Click here for more information in our by-laws under 'Regulation 6'.

What does the NUS cost & provide?

How much does UCASU pay to NUS?
£10,475 per year. This is made up of a payment to NUS UK and one to NUS Charity, representing 2% and 0.5%, respectively, of our block grant from the university.

What does NUS UK provide as part of affiliation?

  • Students can access TOTUM student discount cards.
  • Democratic opportunities to direct NUS focus.
  • Involvement with national campaigns.
  • Representation of students at the highest level in the country.
  • Access to expertise in campaigning.

What does NUS Charity provide as part of affiliation?

  • Core support to create and grow strong Students’ Unions.
  • Championing the Value of Students’ Unions.
  • Connection and Curation - actively promoting the value of mutual support for students’ Unions;
  • Support for Students’ Unions in crisis.
We have provided an overview of the service that NUS offers as part of membership and affiliation, to learn more head over to



Tell me more about the "Yes" and "No" Campaigns

The Students' Union has to remain impartial in a referendum; we cannot influence the student body on how to vote. We can provide you with the information required to make your mind up but the influence needs to come from students which is why we're looking to you, our members, to help run the "Yes" and "No" campaigns.

The "Yes" campaign will be run by students who would like UCASU to remain affiliated to NUS UK and NUS Charity.

The "No campaign will be run by students who would like UCASU to leave, or disaffiliate from NUS UK and NUS Charity.

The "Yes" and "No" campaigns will run as opposing campaigns. You and other like-minded students will work together to influence the UCA student body to vote the same way as you. You will be provided support in the form of a campaign workshop and staff help, as well as each team being provided a small budget to support any campaigning outgoings you may incur.

If you're interested in getting behind the NUS Referendum, pop into the Union offices (we have one on each campus!) or email

"Yes" Argument to remaining affiliated to the NUS


Why vote YES to UCASU remaining affiliated to the NUS?

  • 95% of Students' Unions in the UK are affiliated to NUS - leaving could take us out of the national student community
  • UCA students can go to NUS conferences to represent UCA in discussions about the future of the student movement
  • NUS provides advice and support to UCASU
  • NUS discount cards (TOTUM) are available to UCA students and bring a small income to UCASU
  • NUS lobbied for increased hardship funding from Office for Students, UCA students benefited from with this with an additional £71,483 given to the university from the OfS in 2021


"No" Argument to leaving the NUS


Why vote NO and have UCASU leave the NUS?

  • UCASU pays NUS a membership fee of £10,475 per year
  • We could spend the cost of the membership fee on projects that would have a more direct benefit on UCA students
  • As a small Students’ Union, we don’t get the same opportunities to influence NUS as bigger SUs, so our voice can get lost in the movement
  • NUS has had to make huge budget cuts in recent years, and the opportunities they offer us are far reduced than before