With top-up fees coming info effect this summer, the NUS has a special treat for its members - NUS discounts, often put forward as a great reason for students' unions to affiliate, will no longer be available. Unless, that is, you pay an extra £10 for an "NUS Extra" card.
The new card includes an ISIC card, the international studenty identity card, which usually costs £7 and is available from STA Travel. A greater range of discounts are available than before, including at Amazon.
Of the £10 charge, £4 is to be given to the local students' union of the member purchasing the card, so they can "provide a better range of resources and services".
The new scheme was trialled last year, before being approved by the NUS conference in April 2006 for nationwide roll-out. The same conference appears to have been dominated by the Respect party, discussing issues of little direct relevance to students.
Although not currently a member of the NUS, ICU is currently gearing up for a referendum in November 2006 to determine if it should rejoin. The last referendum was overwhelmingly in favour of remaining disaffiliated, however with the withdrawal from the University of London it may become necessary to rejoin, for national-level representation.
The additional income from the "extra" card will presumably help the NUS conduct its successful campaigns in Scotland and Wales. According to the NUS list of achievements, the last success in England (aside from supporting the lecturers strike which caused worry for thousands of students), appears to be the passing of the bill which introduced top-up fees by a small majority, rather than a large one.