It's made using the "skatter" plugin. There are some good grass 3D models that can be used to good effect (in fact not too hard to make yourself!), but this plugin works nicely on selected surfaces and in "proxy" mode keeps the polycount down so that only the renderer has to deal with it.
I also agree that students should attempt to do their own work, I also believe in the need for inspiration. Hopefully this may do that?..when I see amazing renders it certainly inspires me to work harder, learn more, to achieve that skill level, I hope that by taking someone's model and transforming it by example may do that for them....maybe not?
Some of the renderers are expensive and are prohibitive for students but some do have student discounts, some are free, whatever they can get their hands on will be a good start to a lengthy learning curve.