The National Union of Students has admitted it is in ‘financial difficulty’, with a projected deficit of £3 million.
The organisation, which represents students from around 600 different universities, has signalled that it will likely be cutting staff and services that it provides in an effort to ‘remain solvent’.
In a leaked email to its members, NUS admitted it is ‘projected to post a significant debt this year without enough resource to cover the loss’.
NUS added that ‘we are taking urgent action to stabilise our position… [and] it looks likely to include a combination of borrowing against the building we own, making cuts to staff and turning off some of the activity we deliver’.
The email, from NUS President Shakira Martin and Acting Chief Executive Peter Robertson, cited ‘structural problems [and] competitors in student discounts, trading support, and policy and strategic support’ as reasons behind their financial crisis.
The news comes following a rebrand of NUS’ discount card over the summer, from NUS Extra to Totum.
The email, sent to all student unions represented by the organisation, detailed a three-point plan to address many of the problems they are facing; ‘getting to safety’ (involving ‘immediate measures… to become financially viable in six months’), ‘radical reforms to our corporate and democratic structures’ and ‘[delivering] a clear strategy and a new way of working’.
The National Union of Students have been contacted for comment.
Tom Harwood, a former NUS presidential candidate and vocal critic of the group, said: “This extraordinary revelation is the natural consequence of an organisation that carries no favour with those it purports to represent.
“The NUS is learning the hard way that alienating itself from most students means most students will look elsewhere for student discounts.
“If the NUS wants to save itself it should worry less about UK foreign policy and clapping, and worry more about enhancing the student experience.”
This isn’t the first time NUS has faced financial difficulty, posting losses of £700,000 back in 2005.