An OUSU blunder has cost the Student Union thousands of pounds in lost affiliation fees over the past five years, a Cherwell investigation has revealed.It was only in September of last year that financial officers discovered that OUSU had been using the wrong inflation rate to calculate how much college common rooms should be paying.The lost revenue – calculated to exceed £16,000 – will have served to further worsen the financial situation of the Student Union, which still owes £250,000 to the University.Lewis Iwu, the OUSU President, admitted, “An administrative error has led to common rooms over the past 5 years being undercharged for their affiliation fee. This had been corrected at the start of this year and now the correct amount is being charged.”OUSU Representative of Trinity College commented that the problem might have been caused to the lack of long-term planning. She said, “The fact they have been using the wrong index is indicative of the management of OUSU. This however does not seem to be because of a lack of enthusiasm or competence of individual members of staff or executive, rather not having any planning and the relatively quick turnover of staff. Without any real long-term plan, financial mis-management is inevitable.”A graduate student commented, “I find it hilarious that OUSU bungled this simple calculation for so many years.”Alex Bulfin, JCR President of University College expressed his relief that the problem has been solved. He said, “It’s a shame that this will add further to the perception of some students in the University that OUSU is unprofessional and ineffective. OUSU provides many valuable and vital services to students and common rooms, but events like these only seek to undermine much of the good work the Students’ Union does.”He added, “That said, the problem has now been remedied and the work that the current Executive are conducting into funding at the moment should ensure that OUSU are far better placed financially than they have been hitherto. This is why it is important that OUSU continues to professionalise its operations in the future.”Iwu praised the enthusiasm of OUSU’s accounts staff, “I would like to reiterate that the staff of the Student Union have done the students of Oxford a service through their hard work, commitment and enthusiasm since this Student Union was created.”OUSU is meant to base its annual increase in common room affiliation fees on Retail Price Index from September each year. However, it was found that in the last 5 out of 6 years the figures on common room invoices do not match RPI indices published by the government.Cherwell’s examination of invoices revealed that the percentage increases correspond instead to an increase in the value of a basket of goods bought in 1987. The finance teams had then divided these indices by 100 in order to obtain a percentage used to increase the subscription fees.The figures obtained have been consistently lower than the Retail Price Index, resulting in OUSU undercharging common rooms by thousands of pounds over the past years.