What is the JCR Levy?
JCR stands for ‘Junior Common Room’. It is the community of undergraduate students within University College, but it is separate from the college. The college as a whole is made up of undergraduates, postgraduates, staff and senior members. All undergraduates are automatically ‘opted-in’ to be a member of the JCR.
To run the student experience delivered during your time studying here, all colleges will charge a JCR levy. For University College (Castle), this is £60 per year of study, it is paid at the start of your time at Castle and covers your entire degree. Therefore if you are on a 3 year course you will pay £180 at the start of your degree, if you are on a 4 year course, you will pay £240 at the start of your degree). For this fee, the JCR provides a huge amount for you to take advantage of, details are available in the JCR handbook.
The levy enables us to run and manage the JCR financially. Without the levy carefully set at its current cost, it would not be possible to run the vast range of societies, activities and services that we provide. Examples of what is on offer include sports teams, musical and drama societies, formal dinners, events, jobs, JCR lounge, newsletter, outreach projects, social areas, welfare supplies & resources and positions of responsibility.
We appreciate that £180, on top of all other necessary expenditures, at the start of your university experience may be a hefty financial burden. We are keen to ensure that financial pressures do not prevent incoming undergraduates from enjoying all of the wonderful services on offer in the JCR. As such, should you anticipate that you will be unable to pay the full Levy amount upon your arrival to Durham, we encourage you to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss instalment schemes.
What Happens if you ‘Opt-Out’?
If you decide to ‘Opt-Out’ of the JCR and therefore do not pay your levy, you will lose access to the following:
– Signing up to any Castle formal dinner and receiving subsidised ticket fees
– Attending JCR meetings and voting in JCR elections
– Doing paid work on the Undercroft Bar, Security, Toastie Bar or Tech Committee.
– Using welfare supplies and resources
– Attending any college event, including Ladies Night, Halfway Hall, June Ball, Castle Day, Arts Week, Hounds and any other Castle only event in the Undercroft Bar (in some cases you may be allowed in with lowest priority and with increased fees)
– Using the JCR lounge and Moatside gym and Erg room
– Joining any Castle club or society, including all sports, drama and musical groups.
– Volunteering with CCA (Castle Community Action) or any other Castle outreach division
– Joining any college committee, such as Ents, June Ball and Environment.
– Running for Freshers Rep, Executive Committee, Welfare Officer or any other position within the JCR
– Being a member of the Castle Facebook page and receiving weekly JCR emails
– Purchasing college clothing
– Accessing the academic mentor system and the college parent mentor and support scheme
– Attending any JCR careers or alumni event.
Our opinion is that the collegiate system is the heart and soul of Durham – and without JCR membership your time here will be severely limited. Becoming a member of the JCR is not like buying a service: we are a community that you can become an active part of, where you can express your views and realise your potential both within college and throughout the wider university. We do accept that £60 per year is a significant amount of money. It is however necessary to run the JCR’s activities – in fact, it would be insufficient if we did not get additional financial support from the university. If you require financial assistance, please contact us.
We hope that you will opt into JCR membership. We again stress that the entirety of college life revolves around the JCR – the university’s most vibrant community. If you have any questions or issues you would like to raise, feel free to contact us – email@example.com.