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Financial wellbeing for students

With the cost of living rising, many students, who were already struggling to meet their day to day living expenses, are now struggling to cover the essentials.

You may have already taken steps to maximise your income, but below is some additional information on making sure you are claiming everything you can to make your student finance go further.

Claiming the correct benefits

Even as a student you may be entitled to benefits if you have children or a health condition. If you fall into one of these categories and have not already claimed, it is worth checking your eligibility.

Even if you have already claimed, don’t assume the amount you are receiving is correct. In recent benefits drop in for students, the RCN Welfare Service found that nearly 40 per cent of students on benefits had been incorrectly assessed, leading to an underpayment of benefits by as much as £4000 per academic year.

If you receive a Special Support Loan or Grant in addition to your loan, this will not normally be deducted from your benefit.

If you suspect that your student income has been incorrectly assessed, then contact the Welfare Service on They will need to see copies of your annual student funding. The type of evidence will depend on where you are studying and a copy of your Universal Credit calculation from your UC journal if you have one.

Students who are eligible for Universal Credit can also qualify for additional support such as free school meals, free health care and school uniform allowances.

Student Hardship Payments

If you are struggling financially you can look into support from your universities hardship fund. Not all universities are very good at advertising their hardship funds to student nurses, so be persistent. Get the support of your personal tutor or placement supervisor and explain to them the impact the financial hardship it is having on your course. Get them to write a supporting statement to send in with your application.

In England there is also the NHS Exceptional Support Fund for those in Financial Hardship, it tends to run out before the end of the academic year, so get your application in early if you know you are going to struggle.

You can have a look at our Student Money Guide for more information on what support is available across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Manage Your Utility Costs

Managing utility costs is increasingly important as energy costs soar. You can do this by installing energy saving light bulbs around your home, getting a smart meter installed, turning your lights off when you aren’t using them and reducing the temperature on your boiler. For more tips, have a look at our article here on managing energy costs. The Money Saving Expert website is also great place to go to ensure that you’re getting a good value energy deal.

Save money on textbooks using the RCN library and archive service

The RCN library service has a large range of recourses available for members. There is also an RCN Library service website, which allows you to see what is available, make reservations and download electronic copies. The library has the main course textbooks for nursing, as well as a tool named ‘Browzine’ which allows you to access journals and articles online as part of your membership. An example is that you can view copies of the British Nursing Journal dating back over 10 years.

Make sure you are not paying tax on your earnings

Most students will not earn over the basic rate personal allowance, so should not be paying Tax. If you are working and have paid tax in a financial year you can arrange a refund. Visit the GOV.UK website to learn more about claiming a refund. 

Use RCNXTRA for discounts

RCNXtra has discounts on tech, shopping including supermarkets. This is an online platform included in your membership and can save you money on items you have already budgeted for.

Ensure that you have all student discount apps and platforms that you can, such as Unidays, Student Beans and more to save money in all ways possible.

TV license

If you meet all the criteria below you do not need tv license to watch BBC iplayer at university:

  • You're watching on a device that is functioning on its own battery power, without being plugged into the mains (e.g. a laptop or phone)
  • Your parents have a TV license
  • Your parents' home address is your main address i.e. it's where you live when you're not living at university.
Student money guide

Student money guide

for nursing students

Group of student nurses in class sat at their desk

Student funding and Universal Credit

Guidance on how student funding may affect your Universal Credit calculation across the four countries of the UK.

Financial Wellbeing

Advice, support, and resources to help you feel more in control of your finances

Welfare Service

Get expert support and advice on benefits, tax credits, debt, and housing.

Careers Service

Get help with writing your CV, preparing for interviews, planning your career and more.