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Anyone can get an NUS card student discount when you’re not a student with this simple trick. Without a doubt, the best money saving hack I’ve written about.

** UPDATE 17/8/18 – It now looks like all online providers have been removed from the NUS/Totum application and it’s highly unlikely that they will return. If there are any new tricks I’ll update the article below.**

In the meantime, if you do have an NUS or Totum card then here’s my pick of the best deals

The best student discounts, offers and deals

One of the first posts I wrote for the blog explained how I managed to get an NUS card, even though I wasn’t actually studying at a university or college. Well, a lot of people won’t have seen that post, so it’s time to revisit it.

What is an NUS Extra card?

If you’ve ever been a student, you’ll know that your ID often doubled up as an NUS (National Union of Students) card and gave you discounts in shops, cinemas and more.

A good few years ago NUS started charging students to get an NUS Extra card, which as the name suggests, gives even more discounts. They also now come with an ISIC (International Student Identity Card), giving student prices overseas and on travel.

It’s a great way to save – and now even “non-students” can get their hands on one for around £25.

How to get an NUS student discount card when you’re not a student

Instead of enrolling at a college or university, you can sign up for an online learning course. There are a number of different course providers which have an agreement with NUS to provide the cards to their students.

These courses cover everything from baking to business and usually last a year. When I discovered this trick in 2013 I’d bought a Photoshop course. It was something I wanted to do and the NUS card was an unexpected bonus. But in subsequent years I’ve bought random courses such as bookkeeping and Microsoft Excel in order to get my card.

Which online courses make you eligible for an NUS card?

** UPDATE 17/8/18 – It now looks like all online providers have been removed from the NUS/Totum application and it’s highly unlikely that they will return. If there are any new tricks I’ll update the article below.**

There are a few linked to NUS including those provided by New Skills Academy, and NCC.

Going direct to these companies to buy a course can be very expensive. Fortunately they are all often for sale at discounted prices on sites like Groupon. I’ll list some course options below.

New Skills Academy definitely still appears on the NUS Card application form. Though the NCC website states you are eligible I can’t see NCC listed, so it’s probabaly best to avoid it for now. Sadly the likes of Ecareers, Shaw Academy, Of Course and Digital Sea Ltd no longer have the NUS partnership.

Pay for a discounted online learning course from New Skills Academy or another provider

If you’re looking for a course you want to take and willing to pay for it, then the trick is to buy your course cut-price from a deals site like Groupon or Wowcher.

The cheapest paid course I can find is £12 – not bad as long as you aren’t bothered about the actual course content, though you might have to pay closer to £19 if this isn’t available.

If you want to take advantage of the course you might need to spend nearer to £20 or £30 – though there’s probably something for everyone.

** UPDATE 17/8/18 – It now looks like all online providers have been removed from the NUS/Totum application and it’s highly unlikely that they will return. If there are any new tricks I’ll update the article below.**

Cheapest course I can find (26/7/18):

  • Groupon – Blogging or blogging from New Skills Academy (£12)

Other courses to check out

  • Groupon – Various from New Skills Academy
  • LivingSocial – Various from New Skills Academy
  • Wowcher – Various from New Skills Academy

Have a hunt around to see if there’s anything that takes your fancy. When you do click through, do make sure the course is being offered by one of the providers listed above as some deals sites mix the search results with courses by other companies.

Also, as we saw with Ecareers, Shaw Academy and Of Course it’s possible some providers will get dropped by NUS – so there is a risk. I check this page from time to time (last update 2/8/18) to ensure the provider is listed on the NUS website, but to be doubly sure you can check yourself in the application process, which you can do before you purchase the course.

If you buy a course from one of the deals sites you’ll need to activate the course before you can get the . The instructions on how to do this will be listed when you purchase it.

How to apply for your NUS card

Once you’ve signed up to your course, you can simply apply for an NUS Extra card on the NUS website.  You don’t need to contact the course provider at all about this.

Here’s how to apply for your NUS Card:

  • Step 1: Go to 
  • Step 2: Enter your email address
  • Step 3: Type in the course provider as your place of study. This should auto-populate the box after three characters. Once it appears hit continue.
  • Step 4: Enter the start date and end date. With most of these courses it will be just for 12 months. You then need to choose the course level (“Professional/Vocational” should be ok for most), and finally the course discipline. There are enough options here for you to find one close to your chosen course.
  • Step 5: Here you pick the length of NUS card you are buying and any add-ons (more on these later)
  • Step 6: Next upload a photo of yourself (this will be displayed on the card).
  • Step 7: Enter your personal details. You may be asked for a student number or password. You should be able to find this in the account you’ve set up for your online course.
  • Step 8: You pay! It’s £12 for a one year course, and £1.50 for delivery.

Top-ups to add to your NUS Card

There are a couple of options to add before you checkout.

You can choose to make a charitable donation, or you can add an annual Gourmet Society card (similar to Tastecard). This costs £7 for one year or £15 for three, making it the cheapest way to get one. Though it’s worth checking out other deals before committing.

>> Read more about dining cards in my guide.

Can you really get an NUS card if you’re not a student?

Yes. And it’s completely legitimate. I found this trick because I’d signed up tfora photoshop course in 2013, and I’ve renewed it a further three times so far.

How much money can I save?

Potentially a huge amount.

Of course, it depends on what you buy. There are still thousands of ways to save. Plenty of high street shops will give a 10% discount, including Co-op, Superdrug and Office. Add on the discounts you can get at cinemas, theatres, galleries and thousands of shops and you should easily make your £13.50 back. Anything after that is a massive bonus.

Unfortunately, some student discounts (eg Young Persons Railcard), require a student ID, while some websites only accept a UniDays membership, which you do need to be at University to get. Recently we saw Apple move to UniDays, and in 2017 Spotify also moved over. Hopefully there won’t be more!

Best NUS card discounts

You can search the NUS website to see where you can use it, though many small businesses won’t be listed there so ask in-store or look for signs. For example I save a few quid at my hairdressers, and also £15 on tickets to see Crystal Palace.

However, there are a few which I think are particularly special:

Apple student discount

If you’re going to buy an iMac, iPad or Macbook then having an NUS card means you can get the Education Discount. It’s worth up to 10% off, and if you buy in August and September you can usually get some free Beats headphones thrown in! To use online you click through from the NUS website.

>> More on saving at Apple with a student discount
Cinema student discounts

Most cinemas will have a discount for students, but the best is Odeon which offers an extra 25% off student prices Monday to Thursday.

>> Learn more about how you can combine this saving with other cinema discounts

Amazon Prime student discount

Students get six-months free Amazon Prime, then pay just £39 a year for three years. A fantastic deal.

>> More on getting Amazon Student

STA Travel student flights

We’ve used our ISICs which now come as standard on one-year NUS cards to get huge discounts on flights. This year though I’ve noticed a few additional restrictions. Virgin and British Airways have added an age limit of around 30 or 32 years old. I don’t know about other airlines, but it’s ruled me out! However if you can get these, the savings can be massive.

>> Look for flights at STA Travel

Spotify student discount

Spotify Premium normally costs £9.99. Students can get it for just £5 a month! Apple Music has a similar deal. ** UPDATE July 2017- it looks like Spotify is now be off the cards unless you are at a university and have a MyUniDays account. I’ll keep looking to find a workaround **

My old video on the topic – it’s a little out of date now!

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