The NHS Bursary

An NHS bursary is an annual payment (paid monthly) that is awarded to students to help with the costs of day-to-day living.

The bursary also covers the cost of your tuition fees for the course of your choice. As the NHS pays course fees directly to the university, any money that you receive from the NHS will be to cover living costs.

Bursaries are not subject to income tax or National Insurance deductions.

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  Types of bursary  Eligibility How to apply  Application dates

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What types of bursary are there?

If your course began on or after 1 September 2007, but before 1 September 2012, the following bursary elements are available:

  • Tuition fees – either covered or contributed towards.
  • Basic Award – an award to support a student with their general living expenses.
  • Dependants Allowance – an allowance to support anyone who is wholly or mainly financially dependent on a student.
  • Parents Learning Allowance (PLA) – an allowance to support any children that are wholly or mainly financially dependent on a student.
  • Childcare Allowance (CCA) – an allowance to support any childcare costs incurred with a registered childcare provider.
  • Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) – an allowance intended to support a student who, whilst in training, will incur additional costs as a direct result of a disability.
  • Practice Placement Expenses (PPE) – it is possible to reclaim money towards the expenses incurred when attending a practice placement. Students from London universities (excluding medical/dental students) are reimbursed directly from their university and therefore do not need to apply to NHS Student Bursaries for these expenses.

Individual eligibility will vary according to other factors, such as the age of the dependent child or whether you receive any other bursaries.

If your course began on or after 1 September 2012, all of the above bursary elements are available, as well as:

  • Non Means Tested (NMT) Grant – a grant to help with living expenses which is not subject to an income assessment. This is a set annual amount of £1,000 for full-time students and pro-rata for part-time students (i.e. scaled down payment proportionate to the time spent studying).

If you are a Medical or Dental student, have exhausted all other sources of financial help and are still experiencing financial difficulties, you may be eligible for an NHS Hardship Grant

Are you eligible for an NHS Bursary?

From 1 August 2017 the eligibility criteria for NHS Bursaries changed.

NHS bursaries will be available to students on full- or part-time NHS-funded courses that start before 1 August 2017 and will lead to registration as a:

  • Doctor or dentist (NOTE: you can only apply for an NHS Bursary from the fifth year of a five or six year undergraduate course, or the second year of an accelerated 4 year graduate course).
  • Chiropodist (including podiatrist), dietician, occupational therapist, orthoptist, physiotherapist, prosthetist, orthotist, radiographer, radiotherapist, audiologist or a speech and language therapist.
  • Dental hygienist or dental therapist.
  • Nurse, midwife or operating department practitioner (degree or diploma course).

If your course starts on or after 1 August 2017, you will be eligible for an NHS bursary if you have a place on a full- or part-time NHS-funded course leading to registration as a:

  • Doctor or dentist (NOTE: you can only apply for an NHS Bursary from the fifth year of a five or six year undergraduate course, or the second year of an accelerated 4 year graduate course).
  • Dental hygienist or dental therapist.

Since September 2017, Nursing degree apprenticeships have been available at some UK universities. These student nurses will be able to receieve means-tested loans on these programmes.

If you applied for a course that started in the 2016–17 academic year, but deferred your entry to the 2017–18 academic year, you will still be affected by the changes.

How does location affect eligibility?

To be eligible for an NHS bursary, you must have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 3 years up to the start of the academic year.

If you're primarily resident in England and study Medicine or Dentistry, you can apply through the NHS Bursary Scheme regardless of where you study in the UK. 

If you're primarily resident in the UK but not in England, you can only apply through the NHS Bursary Scheme if you are studying in England.

If you intend to take a health professions course in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland (regardless of where you live), you will face different arrangements (i.e. bursaries are available, but not necessarily through the NHS Bursary Scheme).

Wherever you live, you should consult the relevant authorities for your country of study:

Eligibility Calculators

The NHS Bursary Scheme has three online calculators to assist you in determining your eligibility for bursaries, as well as how much you can expect to receive:

How to apply

Where to apply

Students must create an account on the Bursary Online Support System (BOSS) system on the NHS Student Bursaries website in order to apply for a bursary. 

What you need to apply

If you are applying for an NHS bursary for the first time, you will need to provide two documents to confirm your identity, of which one must include a photograph of yourself e.g. a passport.   

When to apply

Applications for bursaries are only accepted if they are received within six months of the start date of the academic year. 

There is also an application deadline, and any applications or supporting evidence received after this date will be rejected.

It's also important to remember that you must reapply for your bursary every year. 

The upcoming dates for applications are as follows: 

New student applications
First year of course commences in:Date you can apply from (if you have an offer of an NHS-funded place):Make application and post all supporting evidence by:
January 2017 3 October 2016 25 November 2016
February 2017 30 December 2016
March 2017  27 January 2017
April/May 2017 28 February 2017

If your course follows the more common model of starting in the autumn, the relevant application dates are as follows:

New student applications (NOT medical or dental)
First year of course commences in:Date you can apply from (if you have an offer of an NHS-funded place):Make application and post all supporting evidence by:
September 2017 6 March 2017 21 August 2017
October 2017

  

New student applications (medical and dental)
First NHS-funded academic year commences in:Date you can apply from:Make application and post all supporting evidence by:
June 2017 7 March 2017 28 April 2017
July 2017 26 May 2017
August 2017 30 June 2017
September 2017 28 July 2017
October 2017 25 August 2017