In it together

Over the past year many of you may have felt the pinch of the cost-of-living crisis. But despite the increase in the price of food, utilities and travel, you’ve continued to offer kind and generous support to students who need it most – relieving the stress on not only them, but their family as well.

In a survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), half of students reported financial difficulties and 91% said that they were either somewhat or very worried about the rising cost of living. For students from disadvantaged backgrounds, this pressure is likely to be felt even more keenly. Particularly as they often don’t have the safety net of extra financial support from their parents and may be forced to take on additional hours in part-time jobs just to make ends meet.

Alice Aughton in a lecture theatre.

But for students like Alice Aughton, a part-time job simply wouldn’t be possible due to a demanding university schedule. 25-year-old Alice is a mature first-year Midwifery student who can have up to a 40-hour week.

“It would have been almost impossible for me to have a part-time job and also study midwifery because when you’re on a placement it is just like being a full-time midwife,” explained Alice.

“It’s not really safe because if you’re on a labour ward and you’re really tired from working in a pub or stacking shelves all night, then you could make mistakes and put people’s lives at risk.”

Thanks to your support, Alice can use her scholarship to buy important equipment for her course without having to get a part-time job or ask her mum for financial help.

“The scholarship means that I have one less thing to worry about. You don’t want to be thinking about money and worrying about caring for people at the same time.

“You may not realise just how much your generosity can impact someone like me. Without this support, I wouldn’t have been able to afford my rent and travel, which meant I would have needed to take out loans and end up in even more debt when I leave university. Just easing that burden is like a constant sigh of relief.”

For Alice, studying midwifery at Nottingham is a dream come true that you’ve helped to make possible. At one point she wasn’t sure if she would be able to attend university because when she was 18, her dad was diagnosed with motor-neurone disease and Alice paused her university aspirations to help provide care for him. Sadly, a year later, his health declined and he passed away.

“I always knew that I would go into nursing or caring,” Alice told us, “but with my dad passing it set boundaries, as I kept thinking ‘it’s not time yet’. But the longer I waited, the more I discovered a real interest in midwifery.

“I really wanted to come to Nottingham. It was a real ‘shoot for the stars’ opportunity, so when I heard I had been offered a place, I just couldn’t believe it. I felt really lucky, not only to get a space on the course, but to also receive the scholarship as well.”

Naima Begum - third-year Law student

It isn’t just students close to home who are feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis. Third-year Law student Naima Begum is currently studying in Singapore and her scholarship is helping her remain independent while abroad.

“At times my mum will say ‘I want to help you’ because she worries a lot about me being in Singapore. But thanks to the scholarship, I can tell her that I’m fine. So, not only is the scholarship helping me, but it’s helping her deal with the cost-of-living crisis at home as well. I feel more independent, without having to rely on her all the time.”

After seeing the impact of the scholarship, Naima is keen to pay your support forward later in life.

“The scholarship means that people who have aspirations and ambitions to come to university, hoping to reach their goals, have that extra support from someone that doesn’t even know them. It’s an amazing gift and a real vote of confidence.

“Your money has gone to someone who wants to do good and give back to others when I can. I know first-hand what a difference it can make, so I hope that one day I’ll be in a position to help the next generation.”

Scholarship student Naima Begum in Singapore.