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NHS Student Bursary [England] – updated for 2017

The NHS bursary has changed for new students starting a health-related degree, such as nursing and midwifery, from August 2017 onwards.

New students will now pay tuition fees in the same way as students not studying a health-related subject. However, it’s not all bad news, as you might be able to get support through the Learning Support Fund (LSF).

If you are a current student you’ll continue to be eligible to receive the bursary for the duration of your course.  You’re classified as a 'current student' or 'continuing student' if you have received an NHS bursary for your current course in the past, or if you’re applying for a subsequent year. Support for medicine and dentistry courses also remains the same.

NHS bursary — pre-2017

The bursary previously covered tuition fees, as well as support towards day-to-day living costs, for students studying a pre-registration course in nursing, midwifery or related health field:

This bursary did not need to be paid back. 

How do changes affect new students? 

First of all, you are classified as a ‘new student’ if you're beginning a course in one of the fields affected: 

  • for the first time on 1 August 2017 or afterwards.
  • on 1 August 2017 or later, having withdrawn from or abandoned a previous higher education course in the 2016-17 academic year or an earlier academic year.
  • on 1 August 2017 or later, as a full time student, having transferred from a previous part-time course or full-time distance-learning course, which started before 1 August 2017.

If you're a new student, you will now need to apply for student finance as you would if you were studying a non-healthcare related subject. See how you should apply for this – including information about repayments and other funding – in our finance guides for students in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Deferred students

If you applied to a course that began in the 2016-17 year, but you deferred to September 2017, you will be affected by these changes to the NHS Bursary.

However if you started a course in the 2016-17 year, and then had to defer for a significant reason (e.g. maternity leave or illness), you will continue under the old system. 

Part-time students

As part of transitional arrangements in place for funding, there will be maintenance bursaries available to students beginning a part-time course in 2017-18. 

However, the number of these will be capped and only available at a small number of universities. You'll also need to satisfy particular criteria. Students who receive one of these capped places can apply for a tuition fee loan, too.

Learn more about these capped places and how to apply on the NHSBSA site.

Students studying their second degree

If you already have a degree but plan to pursue a second degree in nursing, midwifery or another health-related subject, you’ll have access to student loans through the student loans system. You won’t be eligible for any grants or bursaries based on choosing a health-related course.

Learning Support Fund

In light of these changes to the NHS bursary, the Learning Support Fund has been set up to help students with costs incurred from the compulsory clinical placements that are a part of nursing, midwifery and other health courses.

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    Will there be any additional funding available?

    In light of these changes to the NHS bursary, the Learning Support Fund has been set up to help students with costs incurred from the compulsory clinical placements that are a part of nursing, midwifery and other health courses.

    Some funding will be available to those students with child dependants; in cases of severe financial hardship; and where excess travel and extra accommodation expenses have been incurred as part of placements through the Learning Support Fund (LSF). 

    Students must meet the following criteria to apply:

    • usually live in England
    • be studying on an eligible programme at a university in England
    • be eligible for tuition fees and maintenance loans through the Student Loan Company

    Check your eligibility on the NHSBSA website

    There are also some Dental Therapy and Dental Hygiene courses where students may be eligible to apply for LSF. You must have started you course on or after 1 August 2017 and already be getting student finance. Sounds like you? Speak to your university in the first instance.

    Find out more about the LSF and how to apply on the NHSBSA website. If you’re feeling confused, they have a useful flowchart to help you determine whether you can get support.

    Is there any other funding or grants available? 

    There may be a number of grants available to help you with living costs while studying, based on individual factors, for example, if you have dependants, or a disability. Plus, you don't need to pay these back! Our finance guides for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have more information about these.

    You should also check directly with universities to learn about specific funding (such as scholarships, bursaries, fee waivers) they offer to their students.

    I'm a current student and already receive the bursary, what happens next? 

    You still need to re-apply online to the NHSBSA for your NHS bursary each year, providing all necessary supporting evidence. 

    The NHSBSA will email you to let you know when you can start applying, as well as the deadline to get your application in by. 

    You can apply using your existing Bursary Online Support System (BOSS) account.

    Get more information for current students on the NHSBSA site, including how to apply, additional funding and application windows.

    Find out more about the Learning Support Fund.

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