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The NHS bursary and other funding for health courses

The NHS bursary originally funded students on healthcare degrees across the UK, but reforms led to a patchwork of financial support in different nations. Our guide shows the current financial support for a career in nursing, or as an Allied Health Professional, doctor or dentist in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

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The NHS bursary and related funding: general information

Where you live. Generally, the funding you can apply for depends on the UK country where you 'ordinarily live.' There are some exceptions, covered in detail below. For more on residency, see Are you eligible for student finance.

EU students (for courses starting in 2019–20). Currently EU students who already live in the UK may be eligible for an NHS bursary or other healthcare funding on the same basis as UK students. Undergraduate EU students from outside the UK may be able to apply for a tuition fee loan – contact the student finance body in the nation where you intend to study. For details, see our page: Are you eligible for student finance. Variations to this are given below.

Course eligibility. Check whether you are being offered an NHS-funded or eligible place with your course provider.

Household income. 'Means tested' finance (whether an NHS bursary, student loan, or supplementary grant) will depend on your household income. 'Household' means your parents, if you are a dependent student, or your partner or spouse (if applicable) for independent students. If you prefer not to give your household income, you may still be eligible for non-means tested support (if available).

Student finance. Even if an NHS bursary is offered, you may also need a maintenance loan. This may be 'reduced' – capped at a fixed amount. The amount available in your final year will be lower.

Supplementary grants. You may be eligible for extra help if you are a parent, support someone who depends on you financially, or are disabled. This normally applies whether you have NHS bursary funding, or a maintenance loan (student finance). You won't have to repay this money, unless you are overpaid.

  • Dependents Allowance (means-tested) is for students who financially support another adult or child. The amount will be based on any income your dependent has. Childcare Allowance (means-tested) helps towards childcare costs for children in registered or approved childcare (not with a relative). Up to 85% of the cost may be paid, up to a set limit. You cannot get financial support if you get childcare funding from any other source, or your child is eligible for a free early education place. Parents' Learning Allowance (non means-tested). If you are eligible for the dependents allowance for a child, you may get a Parents' Learning Allowance.
  • Disabled Students Allowance (needs-assessed). If you have a long-term physical or mental health condition, learning difference (like Dyslexia) or physical disability, you may get funds for additional support. The amount is based on your needs, not your income.

You can find out more about these grants on our page Other Financial Support for University Students. If you are on a funded course, where you apply for these grants may differ, as might the amount of financial support available.

Travel expenses for clinical practice placements. NHS- or government-funded places usually allow students to claim travel expenses for clinical placements, where these are over and above the normal cost of travel to university. This may include accommodation, if approved, up to a daily limit.

  • Students on Nursing, Midwifery or Allied Health Professional courses in England apply for travel expenses from the Learning Support Fund (see below).
  • Medical or dental students on clinical placements in non- NHS bursary funded years can apply for a Travel Grant. Note, in NHS bursary funded years, this changes to Practice Placement Expenses, claimed via the NHS.
  • Students who receive Disabled Students Allowances can only apply for the refund of travel costs not met by their DSA support.

Changes in your circumstances. Update your funder about any change in your personal circumstances to avoid overpayments, as you'll be required to repay these.

Medical Students

The NHS bursary and funding in England

England: Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professional course funding

If you live in England and study in England

An NHS bursary is no longer available for students on nursing, midwifery or Allied Health Professional courses. Instead, apply to Student Finance England for loans to cover your tuition fees and living costs. How much you can apply for will depend on your household income. As courses are likely to be longer than 30 weeks and 3 days, you may be eligible for a long course loan for extra living cost support.

Graduates can apply for undergraduate student finance, if studying full-time on an eligible course lasting two years or more (not distance learning). This includes loans for their tuition fees.

Students on eligible healthcare courses get extra financial support from the NHS Learning Support Fund. This is in addition to the normal supplementary grants available through student finance (covered above). The Learning Support Fund includes Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses, Child Dependents Allowance and an Exceptional Support Fund. These are covered in detail below.

In England, eligible courses include the following.

  • Dietetics
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Operating Department Practitioner
  • Orthoptics
  • Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry/Chiropody
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic)
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Dental Hygiene or Dental Therapy courses.

Note, paramedics are not covered by the above list. At the time of the 2017 NHS bursary review, paramedic training wasn't funded by an NHS bursary but instead through a variety of alternative education and funding options. This means that undergraduate paramedics in England can apply for student finance, but won't be eligible for the Learning Support Fund; and graduates are unable to access student finance for undergraduate paramedic degrees. There is no immediate plan to change this. Some Ambulance Services currently take on student paramedics directly; such funded places are highly competitive. Paramedics are becoming a degree-entry profession, so from September 2021 the only routes into the profession will be via a degree, or a degree-level apprenticeship. For more on these, see our section on Healthcare degree apprenticeships.

Applying for student finance

Application deadlines are as for student finance in England; see Tuition fee loans and financial support if you come from England.

If you live in England but want to study elsewhere in the UK

English-resident students who wish to study nursing, midwifery or an Allied Health Professional course elsewhere in the UK can apply to Student Finance England for a student loan. The Complete University Guide subject tables can help you with choosing a university.

If you study in Wales, you can access the NHS Wales bursary so long as you commit to working for NHS Wales for two years after the end of your course. Note, the list of Allied Health Professional courses funded in Wales differs from that listed above (for example, Paramedics are included). In Northern Ireland, places are reserved for students who have lived in Northern Ireland for three years prior to the start of their course. Some Allied Health Professional courses accept students from elsewhere in the UK but cannot offer additional funding.

England: Medical or Dental degree funding

Medicine and dentistry students from England can study anywhere in the UK, and still be eligible for an NHS bursary from England for part of their course. Dentistry students who study in Scotland may be eligible to apply for Scotland's Dental Student Support Grant.

  • Undergraduates can apply for an NHS bursary from the fifth year of study on a five- or six-year course. Before then, apply to Student Finance England each year for a student loan for your tuition fees and living costs.
  • Graduates can apply for an NHS bursary from the second year of a three- or four-year accelerated degree. In the first year, students must self-fund some of the tuition fee (in 2019–20, the first £3,465). They may apply for a tuition fee loan towards the remaining tuition fees: up to £5,785 in the first year, and £5,535 in subsequent years when the first £3,715 of their tuition is paid as part of the NHS bursary. They may also apply for a maintenance loan from their first year – although in NHS bursary-funded years this will be capped at the reduced level shown below.
  • Graduates on a standard undergraduate medical or dental course may be eligible for an NHS bursary from year five of study. For the previous years, students aren't normally eligible for any tuition fee loans, but can apply for a maintenance loan and any associated allowances.

NHS bursary funding for Medical and Dental students in England

In NHS bursary-funded years, you may receive the following: payment of your tuition fees, a means-tested bursary, and a non-means tested grant.

  • Tuition fees. In eligible years, undergraduate tuition fees are paid by the NHS. If university tuition fees are higher than the standard level, you'll need to pay the difference or apply for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England. For graduate students on an accelerated course, the NHS will pay the first £3,715 of tuition (or £3,925 if studying in Northern Ireland). Students can apply to Student Finance England for a loan to cover the difference.
  • Bursary (means-tested). In 2019–20, students living in London could get up to £3,191; outside London, up to £2,643; or living in their parental home, £2,207. What you can get will reduce for household incomes above £24,279. These amounts are for the standard academic year; additional weeks are awarded at £108 (London), £84 (outside London) and £56 (living with your parents) per week.
  • Grant (non-means tested). £1,000 per year.

Additional help. As well the supplementary grants and travel expenses listed at the top of this page, NHS bursary students can also apply for the following.

  • NHS Hardship Grant for Medical and Dental Students. £100–£3,000 may be awarded to students eligible for a means-tested bursary, who are facing financial hardship. Students will need to show how they have been managing their finances, and must have applied for all possible financial support, including student loans and university hardship funds.

Maintenance Loan. In NHS bursary-funded years, you can apply for a reduced loan to supplement your income. In 2019–20, £3,354 (London), £2,389 (outside London) and £1,793 (home). For students studying abroad for part of their course, £2,389.

Please refer to the NHS Business Services Authority for detailed guidance.

Applying for an NHS bursary from England

Apply only for the years you are eligible to receive an NHS bursary. Applications open from March and close two months before courses begin. Go to the NHS Business Services Authority website, where you create an account on the Bursary Online Support System (BOSS) system. You'll need photographic ID; after submitting your application, an email will inform you if other supporting evidence is required. The Complete University Guide subject tables can help you with choosing a university.

Doctor On Ward With Patient

The NHS bursary and funding in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Nursing or Midwifery course funding

If you live in Northern Ireland and study in Northern Ireland

Rather than the NHS bursary, Northern Ireland has 'commissioned places' on nursing or midwifery first degree courses. These are reserved for Northern Ireland-resident undergraduates, or those from the EU. Students from England, Scotland or Wales are not eligible for a commissioned place, unless they have lived in Northern Ireland for three consecutive years prior to the start of the course. Recent years have seen an increase in the number of commissioned places available.

What financial support do Nursing and Midwifery students get in Northern Ireland?

  • Tuition fees. These are paid by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland.
  • Bursary (non-means tested). The 'personal element' of the bursary is not means-tested. In recent years this has been £5,165 per year. There is also a dependents' element (see Dependents Allowances at the top of this page), some of which may be means-tested.

Additional help. As well the grants listed at the top of this page, you can apply for the following financial support.

Maintenance loan. Students on a commissioned place are not eligible for a maintenance loan.

Applying for a commissioned Nursing or Midwifery place

Apply to the university for a commissioned place; if you are accepted, your university will link you with the Bursary Administration Unit. You'll be sent an application pack two weeks before the start of your course, depending on whether it has a September or February intake.

If you live in Northern Ireland but want to study elsewhere in the UK

Students from Northern Ireland studying elsewhere in the UK can apply for a student loan from Student Finance Northern Ireland. If you study in Wales and commit to working for NHS Wales for two years after your course, you can access the NHS Wales bursary. If you study in England, you may be eligible for support from the Learning Support Fund. The Complete University Guide subject tables can help you with choosing a university.

Northern Ireland: Allied Health Professional course funding

If you live in Northern Ireland and study in Northern Ireland

Students on an eligible Allied Health Professional first degree in Northern Ireland can get support from the Department of Health (DoH). Students from England, Scotland or Wales aren't eligible for these 'commissioned places' unless they have been resident in Northern Ireland for three consecutive years.

Approved courses include:

  • Dietetics
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Radiography
  • Speech and Language Therapy.

What financial support do Allied Health Professional students get in Northern Ireland?

  • Tuition fees. These are paid by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland.
  • Bursary (means tested). The DoH bursary is based on your household income. In recent years this has been up to £1,920 if living at home with parents (plus £55 per extra week over the standard academic course length). Students in lodgings are eligible for £2,355 (plus £84 per extra week).

Maintenance loan (non-means tested).  You may apply for a reduced amount of maintenance loan; in 2019–20, £1,780 for students living at home, or £2,370 for students in lodgings.

Applying for financial support on a commissioned Allied Health Professional place

Apply to Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI), who administer the bursaries for the Department of Health. Contact them for further information on the level of bursaries available.

If you live in Northern Ireland but want to study elsewhere in the UK

Students from Northern Ireland studying elsewhere in the UK can apply for a student loan from SFNI. If you study in Wales, you can access the NHS Wales bursary so long as you commit to working for NHS Wales for two years after the end of your course. If you study in England, you may be eligible for support from the Learning Support Fund. The Complete University Guide subject tables can help you with choosing a university.

Northern Ireland: Medical or Dental degree funding

Instead of an NHS bursary, Northern Ireland's Department of Health (DoH) funds part of the course for medical or dental students. This applies for degree courses anywhere in the UK. Dentistry students who study in Scotland may be eligible to apply for Scotland's Dental Student Support Grant.  Students studying in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) should apply for student finance, including a student contribution fee loan for each year of their course.

  • Students on a first degree apply to Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI) for student finance for the first years of their course. A DoH bursary is normally paid from year five of your studies. If you choose to complete an Intercalated degree (where you suspend your main course for a year to complete a second qualification), the funding for that year will depend on which year you do this, and the level of Intercalated degree.
  • Graduates starting a second primary degree in medicine or dentistry are not eligible for a DoH bursary, but can apply for student finance – i.e. a means-tested maintenance loan and supplementary grants for travel or dependents. Students will need to self-fund their tuition fees (or student contribution fee in the Republic of Ireland) for the duration of their course.

Department of Health bursary for Medical and Dental students in Northern Ireland

  • Tuition fees. In a bursary-funded year, tuition fees are paid by the Department of Health.
  • Bursary (means-tested). In 2019–20, students can get up to £1,920 if living at home, or up to £2,355 if living in lodgings – reducing for households with an income above £24,770.

Additional help. Students can also apply for the supplementary grants and travel expenses listed at the top of this page.

Maintenance Loan (non-means tested). In a bursary-funded year, you can also apply for a reduced amount of maintenance loan. In 2019–20, £1,780 for students living with parents, £2,370 for students in lodgings, and £3,330 for those in London. The amount is lower for final-year students.

Applying for a DoH bursary from Northern Ireland

Applications for funding are all made to SFNI for all years. They administrate the DoH bursary. The Complete University Guide subject tables can help you with choosing a university.

Speech Therapist And Boy

The NHS bursary and funding in Scotland

Scotland: Nursing or Midwifery course funding

If you live in Scotland and study in Scotland

Rather than the NHS Bursary, Scottish-resident students studying nursing or midwifery full-time at a Scottish university are eligible for the Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary scheme (NMSB). This is administrated by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). Eligible courses include degree, honours and masters' level study leading to registration as a nurse or midwife. Graduates may also be eligible for the NMSB, unless their previous course was in nursing or midwifery. The funding is not for top-up qualifications.

What financial support do Nursing and Midwifery students get in Scotland?

  • Tuition fees. The Scottish Government Health Directorate (SGHD) pays tuition fees for Scottish students on pre-registration courses. Graduates may need to check with SAAS whether their fees will be covered.
  • Bursary (non-means tested). In 2019–20 the annual personal allowance is £8,100, due to increase to £10,000 by 2020. This funding covers the whole (52 weeks). If you are taking an honours degree, you will get 75% of the bursary in your fourth year.
  • In addition, in your first year there is a £60 Initial Expenses Allowance.

Additional help. Scotland differs slightly in the way supplementary grants are handled. You can still claim Dependents Allowances for a partner, spouse or child who is financially dependent on you (assessed on their income). There is also a Single Parent Allowance and Childcare Allowance. For Travel Expenses, the bursary includes £5 for daily travel; placement expenses in excess of this may be claimed. You're expected to use the cheapest public transport. If travel costs are over £35 per day you may use temporary accommodation, with the approval of your university. Disabled Students Allowance is payable via SAAS. The Nursing and Midwifery Discretionary Fund is available for students in severe financial hardship. This is applied for via your university. From 2019–20, this is also available to students from the rest of the UK who aren't supported by the Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary.

Maintenance loan. Students are not eligible for a maintenance loan.

Applying for financial support on a Nursing or Midwifery course in Scotland

Applications are made via SAAS. Apply for the NMSB bursary online in spring each year (no later than June). Some additional support funds may require annual evidence of your eligibility. The Complete University Guide subject tables can help you with choosing a university.

If you live in Scotland but want to study elsewhere in the UK

If you wish to study nursing elsewhere in the UK, you can apply to SAAS for student finance, including a tuition fee loan. If you study in Wales, you can also consider the NHS Wales bursary if you are willing to work for NHS Wales on two years after graduation. If you study in England, you may be eligible for extra financial help from the Learning Support Fund. In Northern Ireland, nursing and midwifery places are reserved for students resident in Northern Ireland or the EU.

Scotland: Allied Health Professional course funding

If you live in Scotland and study in Scotland

There is no NHS bursary for Allied Health Professional students from Scotland. However if you already have a degree, you may be able to apply for student finance (i.e. a student loan).

  • Undergraduates are eligible for the normal student finance. Apply to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid, and for a maintenance loan for living costs.
  • Graduates following a full undergraduate AHP course in Scotland can apply for undergraduate funding in year one and two. After this you are eligible for a means-tested maintenance loan and grants only; you would need to pay your tuition fees. Graduates on accelerated courses have to self-fund their tuition fees.

Eligible AHP courses include:

  • Diagnostic Imaging (degree only)
  • Dietetics, or Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Orthoptics
  • Paramedics
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry (chiropody)
  • Orthotics, Prosthetics, or Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Radiography, or Radiography and Oncology
  • Speech and Language Therapy, or Speech and Language Pathology
  • Therapeutic or Diagnostic Radiography.

What other financial support do Allied Health Professional students get in Scotland?

  • Travel. AHP students can claim towards the cost of travel to clinical practice placements taken in Scotland, but only for amounts above their normal travel to and from university. Students should use public transport; car mileage is paid only in exceptional circumstances. If travel is likely to cost more than £30 per day, local accommodation may be arranged. Receipts must be submitted for all expenses.

If you live in Scotland but want to study elsewhere in the UK

Scottish undergraduates taking a first Allied Health Professional degree elsewhere in the UK can apply to SAAS for a tuition fee loan, maintenance loan and living-cost grants if applicable. Graduates can only apply for a means-tested living cost loan and grants: you will need to self-fund your tuition fees.

If you study in Wales, you can access the NHS Wales bursary so long as you commit to working for NHS Wales for two years after the end of your course. If you study in England, you may be eligible for support from the Learning Support Fund. There are few Allied Health Professional courses in Northern Ireland open to students from the rest of the UK; these do not provide any additional funding. The Complete University Guide subject tables can help you with choosing a university.

Scotland: Medical or Dental degree funding

There is no NHS bursary for Scottish-resident medical or dental students. Instead, apply for to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for student finance. Note, extra places have been made available for Scottish-resident medical students from 2019. Funding for your tuition fees will depend on where you study your course:

  • If you study in Scotland, SAAS will pay all tuition fees for a standard five-year course. You must complete an application form for SAAS to do this. Note, medicine at the University of St Andrews is a three-year course, requiring students to change university to complete their clinical years. If you move to a partner UK university outside Scotland, you will need to apply for a tuition fee loan for year four of your studies. In years five and six, apply to SAAS to have your tuition fees paid in full.
  • If you study elsewhere in the UK, you need to apply to SAAS for a tuition fee loan to cover the fees (currently up to £9,250 per year). This applies for the first four years of your course. From year five, you can apply to SAAS for full payment of your tuition fees.
  • Graduates taking medicine or dentistry as a second degree may be eligible for some support under 'previous study' rules. You can also apply for full support from the fifth year of your course; this includes payment of tuition fees.
  • Graduates on an accelerated course will have to self-fund their tuition fees. You can apply for a loan and living-costs grants for all years of your course.
  • The Complete University Guide subject tables can help you with choosing a university.

Scotland's Dental Student Support Grant (DSSG)

  • This is for any student studying a Bachelor of Dental Surgery at Aberdeen, Dundee or Glasgow University. UK and international students can apply, if they are eligible to live and work in Scotland after graduation.
  • Your annual household income must be below £34,000, and you must be able to work for NHS Scotland after graduation for as many years as you have received funding. So, if you get a grant for four years, you'll need to work for NHS Scotland for four years after graduation. If you fail to do this, or withdraw from your course, you must repay your grant. The grant is for £4,000 per year.
  • Apply each year before the end of December, via your university. Students at Aberdeen can apply from their first year, while students at Glasgow or Dundee can apply from their second year.
  • UK-resident students can also apply for student finance from their nation's student finance body.

Nurse

The NHS bursary and funding in Wales

Wales: Nursing, Midwifery or Allied Health Professional course funding

Funding under the NHS Wales Bursary has been extended until 2020-21, as announced by the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services in June 2019. This NHS bursary is for all UK-resident students studying an eligible healthcare course in Wales. This includes graduates who already have a degree. They must commit to working with NHS Wales for two years after their course (or less, if on a two-year course).

Eligible courses include:

  • Nursing and Midwifery
  • Chiropodists and Podiatrists
  • Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists
  • Dieticians
  • Healthcare Scientists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Paramedics
  • Physiotherapists
  • Radiographers
  • Speech and Language Therapists

All UK-resident students taking a health education course in Wales must register on the Welsh Health Education Registration System. This includes undergraduates who do not want to commit to working for NHS Wales: if they don't register, they will not be able to apply for a full student loan, as normally only a reduced rate loan is available for these courses.

EU nationals from outside the UK may apply to have their tuition fees funded, if they commit to working for NHS Wales for two years after their course. They will need to pay for all other costs.

What financial support do Nursing, Midwifery or Allied Health Professional students get in Wales?

  • Tuition fees. These will be paid by NHS Wales.
  • Bursary (means-tested). The Welsh NHS bursary is up to £2,643 in 2019–20, or up to £2,207 if living in your parent's home. If your course is longer than 30 weeks, additional allowance is up to £84 per week, or up to £56 if living with your parents. These amounts reduce for incomes above £24,279.
  • Grant (non means-tested). £1,000 for full-time students.

Additional help. If applicable, students can claim the supplementary grants listed at the top of this page.

Maintenance Loan (non-means tested). Undergraduates with an NHS bursary may be eligible for a reduced student loan. Apply via the Student Finance body for your nation before the start of your course to see if you are eligible. Graduates cannot apply for a student loan, even if they get the NHS Wales bursary.

Applying for financial support on a Nursing, Midwifery or Allied Health Professional course in Wales

Apply for the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme as soon as you have firmly accepted a place at a university, as there are a set number of training places. The last date to apply for the NHS bursary is ten weeks after starting the course. No applications will be accepted after this time.

If you agree to work for NHS Wales after your course and fail to do so, you must repay all or part of the bursary. You will also need to repay if you choose not to continue the course, unless you've arranged to transfer to another NHS-Wales funded course.

If you live in Wales but want to study elsewhere in the UK

Welsh-resident students who wish to study a nursing, midwifery or Allied Health Professional course elsewhere in the UK should apply for student finance from Student Finance Wales. Those studying in England may be eligible for support from the Learning Support Fund. Places on courses in Northern Ireland are reserved for students resident in Northern Ireland, with a few exceptions for Allied Health Professional courses (and these do not confer any additional funding). The Complete University Guide subject tables can help you with choosing a university.

Wales: Medical or Dental degree funding

An NHS bursary is available to Welsh-resident students on medical or dental degrees in the UK for part of their course. Students do not need to work for NHS Wales after the completion of their course. Dentistry students who study in Scotland may be eligible to apply for Scotland's Dental Student Support Grant.

  • Undergraduates can apply for an NHS bursary for the fifth year of a five- or six-year undergraduate course. Before this, they should apply to Student Finance Wales (SFW) each year for a student loan for their tuition fees and living costs. Note, Welsh-resident students also get the Welsh Government Learning Grant, you can find more about this on Tuition fee loans and financial support if you come from Wales.
  • Graduates can apply for an NHS bursary from the second year of a graduate-entry accelerated degree. In the first year, students must self-fund some of the tuition fee (in 2019–20, the first £3,465), but can apply for a tuition fee loan of up to £5,785 towards the remainder. They may also apply for a maintenance loan from their first year – although in NHS bursary-funded years this will be capped at the reduced level shown below.
  • A graduate on a standard undergraduate medical or dental course may be eligible for an NHS bursary from year five. For the previous years, they are not normally eligible for any tuition fee loans, but can apply for a maintenance loan and any associated allowances.

What financial support does the NHS bursary give Medical and Dental students from Wales?

NHS bursary support usually includes: payment of your tuition fees (up to the standard level), a means-tested bursary, and a non-means tested grant.

  • Tuition fees. For those on undergraduate courses, your tuition fees will be paid by NHS Wales in NHS-bursary funded years. For students on a graduate-entry course, the NHS pays the first £3,465 of tuition; students can apply to Student Finance Wales for a loan of up to £5,785 to cover the difference.
  • Bursary (means-tested). This is up to £2,643 in 2019–20, or up to £2,207 if living in your parent's home. If your course is longer than 30 weeks, additional funding provides up to £84 per week, or up to £56 if living with your parents. These amounts reduce for incomes above £24,279.
  • Grant (non-means tested). £1,000 per year.

Additional help. If applicable, students can claim the supplementary grants and travel expenses listed at the top of this page.

Maintenance Loan (non-means tested). If eligible for an NHS bursary, students can apply for a reduced amount of maintenance loan. In 2019–20, £3,420 if living with parents, £4,110 if living elsewhere but outside of London, or £5,265 if living in London.

Applying for an NHS bursary from Wales

Medical and dental students from Wales should only apply for an NHS bursary in the year they are eligible for this funding. Students apply for funding from the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme. The Complete University Guide subject tables can help you with choosing a university.

Five Pound Queen

NHS Learning Support Fund (England)

Although there is no longer an NHS bursary for nursing and Allied Health Professional students in England, there is financial help via the NHS Learning Support Fund. This is open to UK-resident students on eligible university courses in England – see the list at the top of this page. This includes full- or part-time undergraduates, or full-time postgraduate students on courses of two year or more (not distance-learning). Students must be eligible for both tuition fee and maintenance support loans. Students who choose not to get a loan for personal reasons may still be eligible for the Learning Support Fund.

EU students who meet the criteria required for UK-resident students, including having a maintenance loan, may apply to the Learning Support Fund.

Applying to the Learning Support Fund

First register on the Learning Support Fund Application System to create an online account; there is a nine-month deadline for doing this. You can then apply to one of three funds: Child Dependents Allowance, Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses and the Exceptional Support Fund. When you first apply to a specific fund you need to send a copy of your full student loan notification letter, along with any other evidence required. With any LSF fund, you may need to repay overpayments if your circumstances change. You must notify the NHS Business Services Authority within one month of a change happening.

Child Dependents Allowance (non means-tested) is for parents with a child under 15, or under 17 with special educational needs. It is not related to the number of children.

  • The grant of £1,000 per academic year is paid in three instalments once attendance on your course is confirmed. For part-time students, the grant is awarded pro rata based on course intensity.
  • It does not affect your entitlement for help with childcare costs (see Other Financial Support for Students: Dependents Allowances).
  • Apply via the Learning Support Fund Application System. Applications are from the first month of your academic year, closing nine months later – you'll need to reapply each year.

Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses (TDAE) for clinical practice placements.

  • Only travel expenses above your normal cost of getting to university will be reimbursed, not the total amount. You are expected to use the cheapest form of transport feasible. If you are driving, this can include toll roads and parking. If you get a lift, you can't claim expenses – but you can if you cycle!
  • You may arrange temporary accommodation if it's not practical for you to travel from your normal term-time residence to your placement. There are capped daily rates for accommodation – you won't get this if staying with your parents.
  • If you are required to study abroad for part of your course, you may be able to apply for the cost of medical insurance, tests and visa fees to be reimbursed.
  • Applications are submitted after the expenses have been incurred, but no later than nine months after. It's normal to send them after the end of your placement. Receipts must be included, and your university must authorise your form.

The Exceptional Support Fund (means-tested) for students facing severe hardship.

  • Up to £3,000 is available for students whose income is not enough to meet their expenses, despite careful budgeting.
  • You must have accessed all other sources of available income. Students are expected to supplement their income from savings, part-time or holiday work, or additional household support. You should also first apply to university hardship funds or other income sources; if you are rejected by these sources, you can still apply to the Exceptional Support Fund.
  • The fund does not cover unexpected emergency costs such as repairs or stolen items.
  • Applications may be made at any time in the academic year. Evidence of your income and outgoings is required, such as bank statements for yourself and for your partner if you have one. Your application must be authorised by your university. Students can apply more than once within the academic year.

Nursing degree apprenticeships

Healthcare Degree Apprenticeships

An alternative to the NHS bursary is a degree apprenticeship. This is funded by employers, with students studying part-time at university – so you don't pay tuition fees, and you get paid! Unlike a degree, they are only available when advertised by the employer, so may be harder to track down.

In theory, healthcare degree apprenticeships could be offered in all of the UK's four nations – but only England has nursing or AHP degree apprenticeship standards at present. Standards are set and approved for each subject by training and professional bodies. Degree apprenticeships are then run by an employer in partnership with university or college. You work for the employer sponsoring the apprenticeship, and study part-time at university. Competition for places may be tough.

In England, vacancies will usually be advertised on the NHS Jobs website, or you can search via the government's Find an apprenticeship website. Nursing Degree Apprenticeships are already offered by some health boards. To apply, you may already need to be employed full-time in a relevant role – check the situation for your local health board. Those who have completed a lower level nursing apprenticeship (such as Assistant Practitioner) may be able to progress onto a higher or degree level programme, to 'top up' their qualification.

Degree apprenticeship standards have also been drawn up for the following roles in England:

  • Arts Therapist
  • Diagnostic Radiographer
  • Dietician
  • Midwife
  • Occupational therapist
  • Operating Department Practitioner
  • Paramedic
  • Physiotherapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Prosthetist / Orthotist
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Therapeutic Radiographer

While the standards have been approved, it may take some time for employers to offer the programmes. A degree apprenticeship standard for Optometrists is also in development. You can find out more about healthcare apprenticeships on the website Healthcareers.nhs.uk.

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Other financial support for students on healthcare courses

If an NHS bursary isn't available for your course, check whether you can get other financial support. See our pages on  university bursaries and scholarships, and also other bursaries and scholarships for how to track down potential sources of financial help. In addition:

  • The Royal College of Nursing produces The Student Money Guide for nursing and midwifery students anywhere in the UK; this lists some charitable funds, such as the Cavell Nurses Trust, and RCN Lamplight Support Services Organisation.
  • The British Medical Association and British Dental Association publish information for students, including charitable funding sources.
  • If you are taking an Allied Health Professional degree, check to see if professional bodies recommend sources of funding for students starting their career.
  • For medics and nurses, an army career may be an option if you are willing to work in the Armed Forces for a number of years. Competition for places is fierce – and first and foremost, you are a member of the Armed Forces. You'll need to do physical training, and there's no skipping lectures!
  • There are also awards and competitions, and universities may offer bursaries to those on low incomes.

Choosing a university

The Complete University Guide helps students to research their degree choices. To help you decide where to study, you may want to see our Subject Tables. You can select results by region, and compare universities on the aspects that matter most to you – Student Satisfaction, Graduate Prospects, or the average UCAS score for entry.