The President of the National Union of Students (NUS) has revealed that the group, affiliated with 600 student unions and associations across the country, is facing severe financial adversities.
One of the national voices for students across the UK in higher and further education, the NUS has revealed through a letter from its National President, Shakira Martin and the Acting Chief Executive, Peter Robertson, that is facing bankruptcy.
The letter, sent to the 600 student unions and associations under the institution, was first released on the Guido Fawkes website.
It outlined that the NUS was unable to cover a projected £3m deficit from its current funds in the past year.
It comes with a warning to the members of the group that they could face structural reforms as well as possible spending cuts.
Members of the NUS, which represent seven million students across the UK, have been told that the organisation may need to mortgage its headquarters, reduce staff and impose restrictions on its current activities to remain solvent.
According to the Guardian, a spokesperson from the NUS confirmed that the NUS is currently “taking measures to address a number of governance-related challenges” at a summit later this month.
“Alongside structural problems we are facing competitors in student discounts, trading support and policy and strategic support.” – NUS spokesman.
Alongside structural problems we are facing competitors in student discounts, trading support and policy and strategic support
– NUS Spokesperson
In the letter, Martin and Robertson stated: “It’s important that we respond to this competition collectively and collaboratively as a movement, if we are to continue to protect the interests of students and students’ unions.”
They added that although they received advice on how to maintain the solvency of the institution, the measures planned by the NUS ” will free up some cash but it will not address the underlying governance issues”.
An official statement to the Guardian by the NUS stated that its senior staff and executive team have “agreed that we [NUS] need to deliver fundamental corporate, democratic and financial reform by summer 2019”.
“This means there will be a range of proposals brought to a strategic conversation meeting in November 2018 for consideration and refinement with the help of our members, and subsequently to national conference 2019 to be voted on by our members.”
When asked for a statement, the President of the University of Warwick’s Students’ Union, Liam Jackson told The Boar that “Now more than ever, it is vital that students retain a collective voice on the national stage. There are already plans in place to reverse the current financial course of NUS, and the SU will be actively contributing to this process over the coming months to ensure Warwick students get the best deal.
He added that “It is in the clear strategic and financial interests of Warwick SU to remain a member of the organisation, without whom we would lose access to invaluable campaigning resources and vital support in the areas of welfare and liberation”.
“This is an opportunity for real, positive change for NUS in the areas of democracy, transparency and accountability, and we will be a part of that discussion to represent Warwick students’ interests”.