Every year the Student Finance Centre asks students what they thought of our service and what we could improve on. Below are the comments we received and our response.



easier to access

signs in lobby of the building

Have longer opening hours

Longer opening Hours, Better phone services, Online FAQs

Increasing access

A post box for dropping off forms when your not open

I think that the university should have an outreach support where you can approach someone on the process of forms

Accessibility of the Nuffield Centre presents certain challenges. In order to address these there is signage throughout the Building on all floors.

The MyPort Information Hub located in the reception of the building provides first level support in person and via email. Complex enquiries are then forwarded on to Centre staff.

The MyPort digital hub is a knowledge base which can provide answers to the questions students may have. At present there is no platform for an FAQ presence online.

Part of the application process involves checking the form with the student present which is why we do not provide a post box.

Bigger space to see more students

Maybe provide more private area when student visits you as the may not feel comfortable to discuss their circumstances while people can hear them nearby.

More closed off area, as personal data and cases are being discussed 'in the open'. (see 'further comments'). Very importantly, to listen to someone's case first, before declining them. I was interrupted and told if I was not a UK citizen, there was no possible funding for me at this point. After insisting, I was given a form, which eventually granted me funding.

More colours, plants, make it cosier. Should help students feel more at ease especially if they are stressed and worried.

More privacy when speaking to advisors

Have separate areas for separate issues

Actually, for those seeking help but are conscious and/or embarassed, your location is conveniently concealed.

Finance is a very delicate subject for many, and so is personal data. A more closed-off area would help assist keeping data private and making students more comfortable in discussing why they are there. I felt uncomfortable discussing everything in the waiting area. Everything else was very good. Fast, straight forward, and directly told which forms had to be included with the application.

Space continues to be an issue and we try to make the best of the space we have.

Private areas are available on request and a sign advises students of this when they arrive. The Duty Desk acts as a “triage” service and reduces the need for appointments however, students can also request these if they would prefer.

Action – Make sign clearer and ensure staff are offering private spaces to students.

Some cases are complex and may need further exploration once application forms are received. Staff will always do their best to provide the correct advice and training is regularly provided.

The environment is currently being updated as a result of the recent re-brand (replacing noticeboards etc) and wall displays are being reviewed. A radio has been provided to make the space more relaxed.

Action – Look at additions to the waiting area to make the space more welcoming.

I don't know if you already do, but it would be great to have an online application. (12 further comments relation to online applications were received)

We may need clear information or a video showing applicants how to fill out the form

Quite a lot of paper is used with providing all the bank details, would be good if it could be emailed instead.

clearer applications

Make it easier to apply online as opposed to having to print and scan the form. The service is working well in my view.

The time to review hardship forms

Maybe retain a copy of info so don't have to fill out a completely new form every time you are requesting for hardship

Maybe more simple instructions on form

Poor application management not really helpful at all

The Application form is currently available online and all evidence can be submitted by email. Due to the complexities involved in the application process there is currently no online application form. This may change in the future with the introduction of the SITS Fund Manager system which the University is introducing to go live in 2020.

The application form is reviewed annually and updated to make it as clear as possible for all applicants. Detailed instructions including screenshots are provided and staff will also help students to complete forms if needed.

Due to the changing nature of student financial situations, new evidence is required at each annual application. Any reviews which take place in year do not require a second application and copies of the forms are retained for six years.

Only thing I would suggest is more advertising or monthly newsletters sent to student emails

Increase student knowledge of it's availability, since hearing about it I have told several others struggling financially and none of them knew of this assistance.

By advertising more and letting students there are more helps for their needs. (29 Further emails regarding advertising)

Have events to make students aware of the service.


Posting on Instagram, maybe a workshop or two across term?

More online communication

Digital marketing campaign

An Event that shows

more information online and how the services exactly work

Make it easier to find the pages e.g. hardship fund page was really hard to find

Easier online communication?

Be more active on social media

maybe advertise to social media

Advertise the Student Finance Centre more and the different types of services it offers eg. emergency loans, help with Student Finance Application etc. Maybe set up a website for the student finance centre - the MyPort page about 'Money' is bad - it's dull and often it doesn't cover some of the questions students want to ask. By setting up a website that can be accessed from the Myport page, you can set up a queries section where students can email any small queries they have without having to come in.

Students to be told in advance when they can and cannot apply in the course of the academic year. Deadlines published.

The Student Finance Centre currently publicises it’s services via the following means:

MyPort Digital Hub


Freshers Fair

Department Inductions

Student Notebook and welcome pack


Leaflets (available around campus)

Social Media (Facebook and Twitter)

Events around Campus

Repeated feedback from students tells us that emails do not work as they already receive too many.

We have run a high number of events around campus including roadshows, information fairs, budgeting sessions, drop-in surgery at the SU Advice Centre and National Student Money Week. These events have been very poorly attended and are currently under review as a result.

Student engagement remains challenging an word of mouth remains the most effective way of informing students about our service.

Maybe consider including basic bills like water, gas and electricity.

be more effect in chasing up cases

Staff training, change the policies so that each case may be accessed on its merits not by a iron feast and blanket decisions.

Try harder to help. My application has been declined for the third time and I am now expected to make £160 stretch across rent, food and clothes which is impossible. You can do better.

(no student ID given)

Provide the opportunity for students with severe financial difficulties to receive an emergency loan immediately while their application for a support fund is being looked at (as it can take several weeks for a student to receive any financial support).

Sort out students who actually need this fund for actual reasons that are beyond their control, for example myself.

By making students more aware and providing additional help if applications are rejected

Interviewing of applicants

By interviewing students who apply for support funds to ascertain the genuineness or otherwise of their applications.

yes by properly listing to student and if some one is providing evidence and its a genuine case then it should be the first priority.

Increase funding amount

more choices of support funds

Give more funds to students in need

more bursaries, funds and grants possibly?

More options for financial help for EU students as UK students get a lot of support that they meaninglessly spend.

Give a breakdown of the outcome of decisions

Give advice about other sources of funding if the application is declined.

Does not help students with genuine problems

maxed out overdraft, still rent and bills to pay. only £212 offered. not happy

I found the reward given was no were near what was required, even before I've gotten it I'm already back in financial difficulty. There should be more communication with various departments in regards to fieldtrip and how much funding will be needed. Amounts rewarded should be more representative and equal I.e. the amount rewarded to two separate people shouldn't be less than the amount rewarded to one.

(Student posted this in March following payment of remainder of shortfall - £908. Two weeks later received £300 NS. Nilled early June.)

Doesn’t help students who actually need it, useless.

I’m very disappointed because my tutors told me that you guys can help but I have exhausted all options and will end up homeless.

(no student ID given)

If you can't offer student financial help, then point them in the right direction and stop trying to get rid of them.

(no student ID given)

It's absolutely ridiculous that I have been denied the fund when I have explained to you that I need this money to have a place to live in this first year. I wouldn't have to come to you if student finance weren't so shit. I need this money, I have been denied it for no good reason. You're supposed to be here to help students. I know people who have applied for this hardship fund and they have been given it, but when I come to you with a reason of which is out of my hands and could seriously affect my studying and life you haven't supported me. This fund is for people who are in my current financial state. I feel let down.

(no student ID given)

Applications to all funds are processed following Nationally agreed guidelines approved by NASMA. Set figures are used for general living costs (food, bills etc) with certain regional variations in place.

Standard assessments are carried out to ascertain if there is a shortfall between income and expenditure for the academic year and any awards are paid to the student within two weeks of receipt of a completed application. Emergency loans can be made if the student requires immediate help.

Application timescales are very tight with deadlines given of Thursday receipt, processed by following Tuesday, to go on schedule Wednesday with payment on following Wednesday.

In cases of extreme hardship, non-standard awards can be made even if there is no shortfall evident.

Unfortunately, due to budget restrictions, we are unable to completely solve the financial issues of every student and some may be unhappy with the outcome of their application.

Action – review fund outcome emails and communication to students.

Sometimes given conflicting information. Email response is fairly slow

Be a little quicker in response.

update sent to student account

Improve time of response

By being for efficient and fast

Maybe just give a time frame from applying to hearing

Answer emails a bit more regularly

Student entitlement made known

By including repayment dates in the email

Some of the staff should know how to talk to students

Speak more casual and make the student feel more comfortable about their situation

Nicer staff, that help more.

Send emails to students asking if they are financially stable

Meeting students

Less technical language would make the service feel more approachable

Maybe more staff for extremely busy times.

More employees at beginning of the uni year

Slower waiting times would be ideal, but not necessary

a faster payment than 2 weeks would have been better.

help filling out form

Giving a thorough explanation of the student support finance application

More information about process, I didnt know how long it would take.

Let more students know about the deadlines for the hardship fund, maybe inform tutors.


I visited you twice, on the first visit there was a lady there who said you did not deal with student finance and I would have to call them myself. Struggling with money I tried again and had no success, then I spoke to the tuition team and said student finance did help, so on second visit I spoke to another lady who was an excellent help and sorted out my student finance. Some of the best advice I could have possibly got and spent real time with me, hats off to her. The only reason I will vote your service as excellent, because one of your employees sent me straight away telling me you couldn’t help me(no student ID provided)

Student Feedback is taken very seriously and staff in the centre work very hard to put the student’s needs first. However, it is understood that when dealing with financial difficulty, emotions can run high and we cannot always provide all the support the student needs to ease their situation.

Application timescales are very tight with deadlines given of Thursday receipt, processed by following Tuesday, to go on schedule Wednesday. Payment emails go out on the Friday informing students of the payment which they will receive the following Wednesday.

General email enquiries are responded to within 24 hours of receipt and the MyPort team are now dealing with these in the first instance.

17/18 was a challenging year in terms of staffing. The introduction of the MyPort Hub meant the Centre had a reduction in staff and there was also a high level of sickness absence. Staff workload levels will continue to be monitored and fed up the management chain.

Action – seek feedback from staff on ways to improve service and communication.

Action – investigate further Customer Care training.

Action – review fund outcome emails and communication to students.

Official phone app that could help organise and manage payments, track loans etc.

talks on how to budget, etc

help the students towards understanding their finical problems better

The Centre offers support via events across campus. Budgeting talks have been offered over the years however, attendance has been poor and student feedback has indicated they would prefer to speak to an adviser in person.

Action – explore possible budgeting phone apps to support students

I thought the service was excellent from start to finish. I was greeted within seconds, then I saw Laura Robbie, she talked me through everything in detail and put my mind at ease. Very helpful !

(no student ID given)

I am so grateful for the help I have received and couldn't have focused on my course without it

I have used the help of student finance throughout my academic years at the university of Portsmouth and I don't think I would still be here if it wasn't for the kind help offered to me in times when circumstances were hard. So once again and always will be very grateful for the tremendous job you do. Thank you.

the whole process was straight forward and i got a reply very fast during a difficult time thank you

Excellent Cervice couldn’t have done it to my final year due to medical conditions if it wasn’t because of Student Finance Hardship Support.

Without the university support fund, I would not be able to continue on with my studies. All staff were so helpful and very approachable.

I greatly appreciate the help I received from the staff and am extremely satisfied with the outcome.

I would like to thank you for the prompt and friendly help. Laura Robbie was exceptional in helping me out.

Student finance centre is an amazing service which is so vital for struggling students like myself, so I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you so much for all the time and help you've provided me throughout my time at the University of Portsmouth. I would not have done my placement year and managed to finish my degree without the finacial help from the centre. Thank you.

Your intervention has been very timely for me and I am most grateful.

I think the service is excellent its friendly and your able to book meeting for more private meeting, always managed to sort out all my issues quickly and effectively.

Great service, was in an emergency and the student finance service came through to help me out very well. Thank you

I have found your service incredibly helpful. Everyone in your team, even if they weren't dealing with me personally were patient, kind and helpful. I am extremely grateful for such a service.

It’s because of your help I strive and fullfiling my academic life. Without your help it’s impossible to finish it. Thank you

The service and staff are excellent and always try to help as much as they possibly can.

No just wish student finance centre a great return to your efforts, please continue doing what you do because I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for student finance centre. Thank you

Thank you for helping my stress levels decrease and helping me feel like I can breathe a little and concentrate on passing my course.

The staff were friendly and thorough and made the application process very straightforward.

I spoke with a lady called Laura Robbie and I just wanted to say I found her extremely approachable and empathic. She was a great help!

(no student ID provided)

I appreciate your effort at cushioning the effect of incident that happened to me.

thank you so much for all of your help and making me a lot calmer and less stressed about money issues

I am very pleased with the service and how efficient the staff are. I will like to say thank you to all the staff especially Paula Bailey, James Quinn and the Manager. I got help when I absolutely needed it.

(no student ID provided)

Excellent caring staff who stopped my nightmare with advice and solutions

Laura Robbie has been incredibly supportive and helpful


The hardship fund has kept me in education and allowed me to complete my BSC

I wish to greatly thank whoever reviewed my financial situation and was able to offer this support. It will really affect my life positively at university since I won’t have to constantly worry about funds so much.

Great help, instructions on application were clear and simple to follow, ensured that you provided everything you needed with expert guidance notes

Excellent service, very helpful and most of all non-judgemental, which is hugely important.

Excellent service, very helpful and kind. Felt very comfortable.

So approachable and I've never asked for help before and was really nervous but they were so relaxed and methodical.

I found your services accessible, friendly, supportive and effective throughout my stay in Portsmouth university and I am about to complete the journey of my studies, Without your support it was impossible to complete my studies so keep up the good service you have as always and help the needy students get the best of your help and support. Thank you very much for everything that you did for me.

I love my uni and student finance service staffs

Thank you for your support - it has been invaluable to me in allowing me to continue my degree!