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Student NHS Bursary Guide

Hoping to study a healthcare degree for a future working in the NHS? You might have heard about the NHS Bursary, or how the NHS can fund your degree?

As always, with any form of student finance, it can be tricky to understand. Read on to find out more info on what financial support is available for you.


The NHS Bursary

The NHS Bursary can help you financially when starting a career as a nurse, doctor, dentist or allied health professional. And the good news is, as with all bursaries, you won’t have to pay a penny back!

Do you research and find out everything you can and weigh up your funding options before you start. Think carefully about things, as while a bursary can offer you money that you don’t have to repay, for some students this funding might be lower than the financial support you could receive from other sources.

What Is The NHS Bursary?

Full-time students on a health and social care course in the UK have various bursaries and funding options available to you.

  • A bursary from the NHS
  • A £1,000 grant from the NHS
  • A contribution towards your tuition fees
  • A reduced Maintenance Loan from Student Finance England
  • Extra funding depending on your personal circumstances

How Much NHS Bursary Will You Get?

The amount contributed by the NHS will depend on the type of course you enroll on, and length of your course. We’ve broken everything down in this easy to understand NHS Bursary guide, but we always recommend checking the official information released at Gov.uk Here.

NHS Bursary

NHS Bursaries don’t have to be paid back. They are dependent on where you live while you study, with those living in London can expect to receive slightly more than others around the UK. These bursaries are also means-tested, dependent on your household income. This can be your own income, your parents’ income, or that or your partner, spouse or civil partner

NHS Grant

All eligible full-time NHS students will receive a fixed £1,000 grant, regardless of household income, and you don’t have to pay back either. Part-time students will receive a reduced amount. It’s important to remember, you will only receive a grant if you apply for an NHS bursary.

NHS Tuition Fee Contributions

The NHS will pay a contribution of your tuition fees if you are eligible for an NHS bursary. If tuition fees are higher than the maximum contribution, you will need to either pay the difference or apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance. Click here for more information on Student Finance.

Reduced Maintenance Loan

Eligible NHS students may additionally receive a reduced Maintenance Loan to help with living costs during their time at University. The amount you receive from the Student Loans Company depends on where you live and study. Additionally, if you are in your final year of study it might be lower than you are used to. Remember, unlike the NHS Bursary, you would need to repay the Maintenance Loan. Click here for our guide on Student Maintenance Loans.


Are You Eligible For An NHS Bursary?

The NHS Bursary is available for UK residents, but the amount you may receive will often vary between you and your friends. It’s dependent on things like where you are from, where you will be studying, what you will be studying, whether you have studied before, and how much your parents earn.

Rules are changing all the time, so we always recommend checking with the NHS Business Services Authority for the most accurate info.

Your Course Eligibility

We put together a list of courses that are eligible to receive a NHS Bursary below. But we always recommend checking whether you are being offered a place on an NHS-funding course with your course provider.

Which Academic Year Are You In?

For the most part students will be eligible for an NHS Bursary if they are: continuing undergraduate and graduate-entry medical and dental students who have already received an NHS Bursary in previous academic years, or are medical and dental students in the later stages of their course.

Have You Studied Before?

Even if you have already had public funding for higher education, or you have previously received an NHS bursary and want to change your profession, you may still be eligible for an NHS bursary.

Where Are You From?

To be eligible for an NHS bursary you must have been living in the UK for at least 3 years before the start of your new course.

Are You An EU Student?

EU students in the UK who are registered with the EU Settlement Scheme, and Irish nationals resident in the UK, might be eligible for healthcare funding. Eligibility will be on the same eligibility basis as your student finance application.

Your Household Income If You Are A Dependent Student

As with other student finance options you may have come across, NHS Bursaries are means-tested, and depend on your household income. Students with parents who earn a higher income will receive less funding. Students who come from poorer backgrounds receive more generous funding to help get them through uni. A means tested criteria aims to support individuals that come from less well off backgrounds.

Your Household Income If You Are An Independent Student

If you are an independent student, not living with your parents, your total bursary amount depends on your own income, or the household income including your partner, spouse or civil partner.

What Courses Are Covered By The NHS Bursary?

NHS Bursary funding applies to undergraduates and most graduate students in the following disciplines:

  • Dental Hygiene or Dental Therapy (level 5 or 6 courses)
  • Dietetics
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing (adult, child, mental health, learning disability, joint nursing and social work)
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Operating Department Practitioner (level 5 or 6 courses)
  • Orthoptics
  • Orthotics and Prosthetics
  • Paramedic Science (DipHE and FD courses are not eligible for NHS LSF)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry or Chiropody
  • Radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic)
  • Speech and Language Therapy

How To Apply For An NHS Bursary?

Everyone going to University will likely be applying to some sort of Student Finance authority. Thankfully, applying for your NHS Bursary is fairly straightforward. Simply create

Make sure you sign up early and create a NHS Bursary Account, so you can place your funding application as early as possible. Getting all your paperwork sorted early helps you avoid any possible nightmares. Remember you’ll need to apply every year for a new academic year’s worth of funding. Click Here to Sign Up Now.


How Is The NHS Bursary Paid To You?

NHS Bursaries are paid into your bank account in 12 equal monthly instalments. We really like how this is organised, as spreading payments out like this will really help with your monthly budgeting.

Maintenance Loans are almost always paid in 3 instalments throughout the year at the start of each term.

Tuition Fee contributions are paid directly to your medical or dental school, so once your application has been approved, you don’t have to worry about a thing.


Additional & Alternative Funding for NHS Bursary Students

Students who are eligible for the NHS Bursary may also be able to receive some additional forms of funding. Most will be means-tested, so there’s no guarantee you’ll receive the same amount of funding as your friends.

Student Finance Maintenance Loans

So you have been offered an NHS Bursary, but you still don’t think it’ll cover your living costs? In addition to NHS Bursaries, you might be eligible to take out a Maintenance Loan from the Student Loans Company. The amount you receive from the Student Loans Company depends on where you live and study. Additionally, if you are in your final year of study it might be lower than you are used to.

Your Maintenance Loan may be a reduced amount, but it might just be what you need to get you through your studies. Remember, unlike the NHS Bursary, you would need to repay the Maintenance Loan.

How Do I Apply for a Maintenance Loan?

The simplest way for students to apply in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland is to send in your application online. When you create an account, you can check in on updates as they happen, and get an idea of all details of your maintenance loan.

You will always apply for funding with the Student Finance body from the part of the UK you normally live in back at home, not the part of the UK that you’ll be moving to study in.Click here to find the right Student Finance Organisation for you and information on how to apply.

NHS Learning Support Fund (LSF)

You might be able to receive financial support through the NHS Learning Support Fund (or NHS LSF), which offers eligible students additional support to help them get through uni. Eligible students can get:

  • Training grant of £5,000 per year
  • Parental support of £2,000 per year to help with childcare costs
  • Specialist subject payment of £2,000 per year for students on degrees that struggle to recruit
  • Exceptional Support Fund of up to £3,000 per year for students experiencing financial hardship
  • Travel & accommodation expense support to help with costs of clinical placements that are more than your standard daily travel costs

To find out more about the alternative types of support offered by the NHS LSF, find out more at the NHS Business Services Authority.

How Do I Apply for the NHS Learning Support Fund

Make sure you sign up early and create an NHS BSA account, so you can place your funding application as early as possible. As with any student finance or funding, getting all your paperwork sorted early helps you avoid any possible nightmares.

NHS Social Work Bursary

The Social Work Bursary aims to help with the costs of study and living. Social Work Bursaries are paid at the start of each term 3 times a year, directly into your bank account. And as with all bursaries, the Social Work Bursary is a grant not a loan, meaning you won’t have to pay a penny back.

To be eligible for the Social Work Bursary, applicants must ordinarily live in the UK for at least 3 years, and you will need to be studying an approved social work course. For eligible part-time students, expect to receive less, as you’d receive it on a pro-rata basis.

Undergraduate students who are eligible to apply for a Social Work Bursary, can do so from their 2nd year of study.

  • Basic Bursary Rates (university outside of London): £4,862.50 
  • Basic Bursary Rates (university within London area): £5,262.50

Postgraduate students who are eligible to apply for a Social Work Bursary, can receive funding for both tuition and living costs.

  • Tuition Fee Contribution: up to £4,052 per year
  • Non-Means Tested Bursary Rates (university outside of London): £3,362.50 
  • Non-Means Tested Bursary Rates (university within London area): £3,762.50
  • Means Tested Maintenance Grant Rate (uni outside of London): £2,721
  • Means Tested Maintenance Grant Rate (uni within London area): £4,201

How Do I Apply for the NHS Social Work Bursary?

Make sure you sign up early and create a Social Work Bursary account, so you can place your funding application as early as possible. Who will receive the Social Work Bursary is decided by the Universities, the number of students who can receive a bursary is limited. So get your application in early to give yourself the best chance of qualifying.


Funding for Students in Wales, Northern Ireland & Scotland

If you normally live in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland, and you’re studying a healthcare course, you might be eligible to receive some additional forms of funding to help you get through your degree. To confirm how much you might be able to receive, check directly with the Student Finance authority in the part of the UK that you normally live.


More Advice on Student Finance

We hope you understand a bit more about NHS Bursaries. If you’re looking for more advice and information on Student Finance, check out our Student Finance Guides and our Student Loan Repayments Guide.