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Students’ Union leaving the NUS and impact on TOTUM (NUS) discount cards for staff

The University of Portsmouth Students’ Union is preparing to leave the National Union for Students (NUS) by the end of the year after a vote by students.

The Union is required to hold a referendum on the NUS every 3 years, but also required annually to ask students whether they agree with the results of the last referendum. At their Annual Members Meeting in December 2018, students decided they no longer agreed with the results of the previous referendum, so this triggered a new one.

A referendum for students was held in March 2019 to determine whether or not the Students’ Union would remain affiliated with the NUS. Students campaigned as part of the Yes and No teams during the voting week to ensure a full and balanced argument was presented to students to enable a well-informed vote. Details of the arguments for both sides can be found at,

There were 1439 votes, with 669 students voting to leave the NUS, 615 voting to stay and 155 students who voted “don’t know”. The decision to leave has now been fully ratified by Union trustees.

Finer details around the exit plan are still being finalised with the NUS, but the Union can confirm that they will remain a member of the NUS until December 2019, at which point the Union will be leaving through NUS’ democratic processes.

TOTUM (NUS) cards

In recent years, the University paid for eligible staff to receive free 1-year NUS discount cards – rebranded last year as TOTUM – as the cards generated an income for the Students’ Union to help them deliver a great service to our students. But after this year that income would go to the NUS rather than help support Portsmouth students.

We’re waiting to see whether the Students’ Union will become part of another student discount scheme, which would also benefit staff.

In the meantime, staff can continue to use their TOTUM cards until the expiry date printed on the cards. If your card has a 2019 expiry date, then you can renew it this year as the income will continue to go to the Students’ Union. You can buy a 1-year card for £12, a 2-year card for £22 or a 3-year card for £32.

We’re also continuing to work very hard with our supplier to reinstate the staff discount portal on a new secure platform. Further details will be shared soon.

3 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. This is devastating news for students and staff travelling from the Isle of Wight. The Totum card allows us to travel on the Fast Cat for a hugely significant discount: An adult annual pass is currently £1,780.00, whilst for those of us teaching or studying it is £910.00
    I was told that staff cards are not accepted as proof for educational discount as they are not dated. Hovertravel in the past have accepted letters on headed paper from employees. It might be worth investigating this as part of the transport initiative and perhaps a formal way of application could be agreed upon?

    • Hi Greta,

      I have contacted Estates to look into this. It will still be possible to purchase Totum cards from Totum directly even though the Students’ Union are leaving the NUS. You can also buy a 3-year card from the Union before they leave.

  2. Hi

    Just to be clear I have just tried to renew mine and you can only renew to start a 1/2 or 3 year card within 28 days of your card running out. Mine runs out 03/10/19 and if I renew now cost me £5 and only allows me to get a card with a expiry date of 03/10/19. Hopefully will be able to renew in October. I find this staff benefit far more useful than anything else offered.

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