National Union of Students


Press Release   •   Feb 20, 2012 00:01 GMT

The National Union of Students (NUS) today (Monday) launched a new campaign initiative to kick start grassroots actions to get more money into students’ pockets by tackling hidden course costs.

The launch forms part of NUS’ wider ‘Come Clean’ campaign to ensure rights and protections for students, and which incorporates a week of action (Monday 12- Friday 16 March), national student walkout (Wednesday 14 March) and lobby of Parliament (Wednesday 18 April).

NUS is calling on universities and colleges to commit to full transparency on all course costs prior to application, pressing vice chancellors to urgently commit to absorbing essential costs within tuition fees and to offer means tested support for non-essentials.

The initiative is being launched as new research undertaken by NUS on the hidden costs of studying, published today, shows almost a third (31 per cent) of students’ unions reported their universities as covering no additional costs such as printing, studio fees, field trips, travel to work placements and course books.

Just 23 per cent of students unions reported that their institution included printing costs in their tuition fee; 26 per cent included travel to study placements, 17 per cent included CRB checks and just 14 per cent covered ‘bench fees’*.

Liam Burns, NUS President said:

“Whether lab coats, field trips, printing or materials, students across the country are facing significant hidden costs attached to studying. It cannot be fair that academic success is dictated by how much disposable cash you have."

"We're calling on universities and colleges to urgently commit to absorb essential costs, offer means tested support for non-essentials, and provide complete transparency on all costs pre-application."

“The effects of mounting hidden costs puts students under additional financial pressure, leading to all sorts of issues – from having to work even more hours, sacrificing study time, spiralling into debt, and in the worst cases dropping out."

"We're pressing the Government to come clean and admit that their reforms have delivered nothing extra for students, and with a national walkout, week of action and lobby of Parliament to come, our voices will be heard loud and clear."

NUS (National Union of Students) is a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions.

We are a confederation of 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through our member students' unions, we represent the interests of more than seven million students.