Following a survey of its members, the Union will be cutting its membership costsLouis Ashworth

The Cambridge Union Society has announced a cut to its membership fees for economically disadvantaged students.

Lifetime access membership is available to students receiving the full maintenance loan from the Student Loans Company (SLC), and the full Newton Trust Bursary, will now cost £99, a cut of £16 on the previous £115 fee.

The cut will benefit students with an annual family income of £25,000 or less, who qualify for the full £3,500 grant from the Cambridge Bursary, as well as the maximum £8,430 SLC loan.

Speaking to Varsity, Cambridge Union president Page Nyame-Satterthwaite said: "The fee drop is one of several initiatives we are implementing to improve the Union membership experience. It is essential that the Union is accessible to all and that we actively ensure this, whilst being a student run membership society.

"A key motivation behind the change was in response to the fee review conducted by Emma and Johari our access officers. The Michaelmas team hope that students feel welcome this Michaelmas at the Union, across all years, including graduates and across Cambridge, ARU, Judge Business School and the BPP Cambridge Law School."

The Union will also be increasing the size of its annual 'Freshers Discount', which will this year be priced at £150 for lifetime membership, £20 less than last year's discounted price of £170.

Once the Union's 'Open Period', during which events are open to everyone, ends on the 11th October, however, the non-access price will revert to the usual £199 fee.

Prospective members from universities outside of Cambridge are also now entitled to partial membership through the Union's new online platform. For a £30 annual subscription, online members will be able to watch the Union's livestreamed debates and speaker events.

High Union membership fees have drawn criticism as an accessibility issue in the past. Successive presidents have suggested in recent years the idea of introducing payment by installments; however, there is no indication that this will be implemented in the short term.

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