OUSU celebrated a significant budget increase yesterday, as it secured a 66% funding rise from the University.
The grant will be paid in three increases, with £200,000 per annum awarded immediately from 2014-15, a further £15,000 for 2015-2016 and a final £15,000 awarded for 2016-17 onwards.
This will see the budget increase to £707k from 2016-17 onwards, a significant increase from the £397k awarded in 2012-13. OUSU President Tom Rutland and the rest of the sabbatical officers began negotiations in August 2013, with OUSU lobbying the University to retain the £100k increase secured for 2013-14 and push for a further £165k.
The use of the increased budget has already been decided by OUSU’s Trustee Board. The money will go towards a new manager for OUSU’s Student Advice Service, to allow for a ‘professionalization’ of the service. The service is independent from the University and colleges and is designed to give information and support to students.
The increase will also be used for the expansion of Academic Representation, website improvement and development, the creation of a digital alternative prospectus, permanent funding for the OUSU Community Wards Scheme and feasibility research into proposals to develop OUSU support for student non-sport clubs and societies.
Rutland expressed his hapiness at the increase, saying, “I am delighted to have successfully negotiated a massive increase in OUSU’s funding which will have a major impact on OUSU’s ability to serve and represent Oxford students. When I ran for OUSU President, I spoke about how years of underfunding for OUSU prevented it from being the Student Union that Oxford students deserved. This much needed funding uplift will propel OUSU on its journey from being a surviving student union to a thriving one. I am extremely grateful to previous Presidents, as well as OUSU’s outgoing CEO, Brona O’Toole, for their hard work towards that goal.”
Rutland was also keen to stress that he would continue to work closely with the student body to ensure it delivers reform with a direct impact on students. “OUSU has achieved a lot for students in Oxford, be it the ability to resit Prelims, Sunday opening hours for the Radcliffe Camera or the right for students who suspend study to access University facilities. In the past, it has not been properly able to communicate these wins, as well as the services it offers to students like the Student Advice Service.
“This appointment will allow us to continue to develop our website, and to reach out to students who don’t currently engage with OUSU.”
Aside from grants from the University, OUSU is funded through Oxford Student Services Limited (OSSL), which raised £250k in 2012-2013, accounting for 38% of OUSU’s budget.