See how students can access extra financial support for their studies, depending on the course they study

4 min read

To help you understand more about how students fund their studies and university life, our students have been keeping a money diary to show you their typical weekly spend.

Below you'll find a diary from a student in their 3rd year at Portsmouth. Some university students are able to get scholarships or bursaries which give them extra financial support that they don't have to pay back. This money diary will help you see how the NHS Learning Support Fund has helped this student to cover course costs like travelling to their placement.

Course: Dental Hygiene and Therapy

Where do you live? I live in a house share in Southsea with two other students

How do you fund your studies? Student Finance England

Scholarship/bursaries: NHS Learning Support Fund

Annual income

A typical week

Monday – £0 spent

My Mondays are always spent at the University Dental Academy where I am working in the clinic, providing treatment to patients. I usually walk to university or take the free University bus and take a packed lunch with me to save money. So I typically don’t spend any money on Mondays.

Tuesday – £32.59 Spent

Every Tuesday morning, I plan all my meals for the week, and I drive to Aldi to do my weekly food shop as I find Aldi the cheapest supermarket for food. This week I spent £30.84 on my weekly food shop. I take packed lunches with me most days to the clinic and the library. I also eat home cooked dinners most - if not all - days of the week to keep costs down.

Once I finished my food shop, I walked to the University Library and grabbed a cappuccino along the way for £1.75. I spend my Tuesday afternoons between the University Library and attending Lectures across the university campus.

Wednesday – £1.75 Spent

As a University Ambassador I occasionally work at university open days or applicant experience days where I support visitors with tours of the university accommodation and campus. Today was an Applicant Experience Day where I worked from 7.30am-4.00pm earning £9.33 an hour. After 4.00pm I walked to the University Library and grabbed a cappuccino along the way for £1.75.

Thursday – £0 Spent

This morning I had a placement at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth to observe the Trauma clinic on the Maxillofacial ward. I travelled to this placement by train which cost £4.60 return, however I got the cost of the train journey reimbursed by the NHS Learning Support Fund. In the afternoon I attended lectures on campus and had brought a packed lunch with me, so I didn’t spend any money.

Friday – £0 Spent

As well as Mondays, I also work in the Dental Academy clinic every Friday. Again, I usually walk to university or take the free bus and take a packed lunch with me to save money.

Saturday – £49.50 Spent

This Saturday I attended a free Dental Showcase with my course mates at London Excel where dental brands advertise their products, and you get to network with other dental professionals. We got the train there and back which cost £12.50 and before getting the train back to Portsmouth we had dinner together at a restaurant which cost £15. We also went for a few drinks at a London bar which cost me £22.

Sunday – £16.55 Spent

This Sunday I went to my favourite café in Portsmouth, The Parade Tea Rooms. I had breakfast there with my friend which cost £14.80. After that, I walked to the University Library and grabbed a Greggs cappuccino along the way for £1.75.

Total spent across the week: £100.39

Monthly spending

More about me

Before coming to university, what conversations did you have about money?

The NHS Learning Support Fund didn’t exist before I came to university, it was created during my first year of studies. This meant that before starting university I thought that I would only have my maintenance loan to support me financially which didn’t even cover the costs of my rent, let alone other amenities such as food.

So, before I began my university studies, I agreed with my parents that I would receive some parental contribution alongside working a customer assistant job during my winter and summer term breaks.

How do you feel about your finances now you’re here?

In my second and third year, I was able to claim the new NHS Learning Support Fund in addition to my maintenance loan. This meant that I no longer needed my parents to support me with extra contributions.

I am very grateful to have received my NHS learning Support Fund as it means I can focus more on my studies than working part time or asking my parents for more support.

What do you wish you’d known about funding your studies before coming to university?

I wish that I had found out more information on budgeting and general living costs before attending university as I had only ever lived with my parents. So I had no idea about how much it costs to live as a student.