NUS-USI was established in 1972 under a unique arrangement where both the British and Irish national student unions (National Union of Students (NUS) and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) respectively), jointly organised in Northern Ireland to promote student unity across the sectarian divide.
The original agreement was revised in 2012 and resulted in the current trilateral agreement which was signed by the presidents of NUS, USI and NUS-USI at an event held at Parliament Buildings, Stormont to celebrate 40 years of collaboration between the national unions.
50 years of making change for students....
NUS-USI was set up to promote student unity across the sectarian divide. Established under a unique arrangement where the national unions in the UK (NUS) and Ireland (USI) jointly organised in Northern Ireland. A blueprint for the Good Friday Agreement, 26 years later.
In 2012 the Westminster government raised tuition fees to £9000, and scrapped Educational Maintenance Allowance in England. But the student movement in Northern Ireland came together and fought these proposals. We managed to keep tuition fees low and we kept Educational Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 19 year olds.
NUS-USI played a key role in the movements to bring in marriage equality and decriminalise abortion. NUS-USI has sat on the Love Equality coalition since 2016 which campaigned for same-sex marriage. Successive liberation officers have campaigned for improved abortion access, and in 2018 launched the #TrustUs campaign calling for the decriminalisation of abortion.
Until 2016 postgraduate students in Northern Ireland had no access to any form of student finance to help with the cost of tuition fees or living costs. NUS-USI campaigned for these students to be supported through their education which led to the introduction of a £5500 loan for postgraduate courses. NUS-USI continues to campaign for further support for postgraduate students and in 2021 supported the Fund our Postgrads campaign which called for improved financial support.
- During the Covid-19 pandemic we managed to secure around £40 million from the NI government to support students, including hardship payments, grants and funding for students' unions.