Some of the terminology used at conference and in manifestos can be a little bit confusing and overwhelming if you are newer to the student movement! Here are a few of the terms and acronyms that you might read or hear, explained.

  • ARAF: Anti-Racism and Anti-Fascism, there is a committee and an annual conference where students come together to challenge the rising tide of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and the threat of fascism within the UK
  • Block of 15: 15 members of NEC (below) who are elected at National Conference
  • FE: Further Education. NUS represents more that 4.5 million learners through their students’ union in further education (FE) colleges across the UK.
  • FOSIS: Federation of Student Islamic Societies, a national umbrella organisation aimed at supporting and representing Islamic societies at colleges and universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland
  • Governance review: A review of NUS’ democratic structures, to ensure it is as democratic and effective as possible
  • Guarantors: someone in the UK who agrees to act as a safety net if a renter leaves a debt, it is typically a requirement for most students who wish to rent and some institutions act as guarantors for international and low-income students
  • HE: Higher Education (university level)
  • HEFCE: Higher Education Funding Council of England and Wales
  • Supported the #BursaryOrBust and #SaveOurNHS campaigns with Nursing and medical students, including ensuring they were platformed in demos
  • ► Liberation Campaigns: These are autonomous groups – meaning they are organised by students and officers who self-define into that group. Liberation groups include Black, Disabled, LGBT+, Trans and Women Campaigns. They set their own policy, at their own conferences, which is separate from the policy passed at national conference and by the NEC. Some of these policies are bought to National Conference and, if passed, will be policy the whole of NUS will follow
  • LGBT+: The NUS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans + (LGBT+) campaign exists to represent and extend and defend the rights of LGBT+ students.
  • Nations: As Scotland, Wales and NUS-USI (Union of Students in Ireland) have slightly different education rules and policies to England, there are separate Nations campaigns, and officers, to support work there
  • NSS: National Student Survey, the government have been trying to use this to rate universities and raise fees
  • NUS NEC: The National Executive Committee is similar to a student council. Between meetings of National Conference, NEC oversees the political aspects of the organisation and passes policy
  • NUT: National Union of Teachers
  • Policy: Each year, members of NUS meet at a series of conferences to pass policy on issues affecting students and steering the political direction of the national union for the year ahead
  • PREVENT: Part of the government counter-terrorism strategy, widely discredited as being Islamophobic and reactionary in its theoretical underpinning, putting Muslim communities under the spotlight as suspects and fuelling islamophobia and the rise of far-right groups
  • Sabbatical officer: a full-time officer elected by the members of a students’ union/association/guild
  • Sections: Mature and Part-time students, International students, Parents and Carers, and Postgraduate students have separate sections conferences and campaigns, as well as NEC representation, to ensure their specific needs are being represented
  • TEF: Teaching Excellence Framework, the government plan on ranking universities by using this. This would allow them to increase fees.
  • TUC: Trade Union Congress, The national trade union centre in the UK, representing the vast majority of organized workers
  • UCU: University College Union, the largest further and higher education union in the world
  • UJS: The Union of Jewish Students, represents a constituency of approximately 8,500 Jewish students
  • Zones: FE, HE, Welfare, Union Development and Society and Citizenship have their own ‘zones’ where issues important to students are discussed, along with campaigns and work programmes relevant to that area. The specific officers, as well as the president, must report on their work in that zone at national conference
The NUS USI President; The NUS UK President; The NUS Wales President; The NUS Scotland President