Most universities offer various bursaries, grants and scholarships for students, however, it is also known for a number of businesses or the government to offer funding options or scholarships for students as well and this is where the NHS bursary comes in.
Extra funding is always welcome for any student, especially seeing as how student loans are becoming more and more expensive with each passing year.
What is the NHS bursary?
The NHS bursary is a bursary created to help students who require additional funding or financial support with their university degree. The NHS Student bursary is offered by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are also precautions put in place for EU students in these countries as well.
The NHS bursary provides students with five separate forms of cover, which are:
- A means-tested bursary.
- A non-means-tested grant of up to £1,000.
- A contribution to any tuition fees.
- Additional funding depending on the student’s personal circumstances.
- Reduction of a student’s Maintenance Loan.
Although it is often confused with it, the NHS bursary is separate from the Disabled Students Allowance and has more variation in the ways that it can be administered to students than the DSA.
The NHS bursary is different from NHS bursaries. The latter of which speaks more about various bursaries that are offered by the NHS, rather than this specific bursary, as the NHS offers a number of different bursaries.
You will be able to monitor the bursary fairly easily as you will likely be handed an NHS bursary login, so you can manage the money and the bursary fairly easily.
How to apply for the NHS bursary
You will need to apply for the NHS bursary using the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). You will need to apply using the Bursary Online Support System (BOSS (sometimes referred to as NHS BOSS bursary)).
Applying for the bursary is fairly straight-forward and your application shouldn’t take too long to review before you are told if you are eligible.
Which courses qualify for the NHSLSF?
As the name suggests, only medical or dental-based courses can qualify for the NHS bursary. These are the courses that qualify for the NHSLSF, sometimes referred to as the NHS bursary courses list:
- Dental therapy/dental hygiene (Level 5 and Level 6 courses only)
- Orthotics and prosthetics
- Paramedics (DipHe and Foundation degree students not eligible)
- Speech and language therapy.
- Operating department practitioner (Level 5 and Level 6 courses only)
- Nursing (includes adult, child, mental health, learning disability and joint nursing/social work (although this could also be covered by the NHS Social Work bursary))
- Radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic)
- Occupational therapy
The courses are covered by the LSF change every now and again, so it may be worth speaking to the NHSBSA or your university, dental school or medical school and seeing what has been added or, conversely, no longer receives funding.
What is the residency criteria for the NHS bursary?
In order to qualify for the NHS bursary, you need to meet the residency and the nationality criteria. Though the bursary is available for foreign students, it does not work in the same way that it does for British nationals.
For instance, those from somewhere like Germany or Switzerland, may qualify for aspects of the NHS bursary, but will not be able to qualify for other elements, such as a Maintenance Grant, although the NHSBSA, will tell you whether or not you qualify as a foreign student.
The residency and nationality criteria is:
- You are a normal resident in the UK.
- You are studying in the United Kingdom.
- You have lived in the UK for at least three years before your course starts.
- You are a UK resident or you have settled status.
How much money can you get with the NHS bursary?
The amount of money that is offered to students changes every year and is dependent on the terms set out by the bursary at the beginning of the academic year.
The table below shows the money you can borrow, however, it does not include your Maintenance Loan as part of the bursary, because this is paid at the beginning of every term already.
|Students attending a London uni and living away from home
|Students attending a uni outside London and living away from home
|Students living with parents (anywhere)
|Up to £3,000-a-year
|Up to £2,500-a-year
|Up to £2,000-a-year
|Total bursary and grant
|Up to £4,000-a-year
|Up to £3,000-a-year
|Up to £3,000-a-year
Anything that is means-tested means that it will take into account the household income. The higher the household income, the lower the figure and vice versa. All students are entitled to the £1,000 non-means-tested grant, however, regardless of the income in your household.
Elsewhere, the NHS bursary also covers elements of your tuition fees as well. Your tuition fees are paid directly to your medical school, dental school or your university, but you should still speak to your NHS bursary contact or account manager to check anyway. The students are required to cover the difference, however, so if your tuition fees are over the contributions that the bursary will cover, you will be expected to cover the difference from there.
You will not receive the difference if your tuition fees are lower than expected either. The contributions will continue to cover your course.
|Tuition fee contribution
|Undergraduate course that lasts five years or more.
|Up to £9,000
|Graduate entry course between three or four years.
|Up to £3,000
|Final year of a course that is required to be completed after fifteen weeks or less attendance.
|Up to £4,500
Can I take on other funding options alongside the NHS bursary?
You can take on any other forms of funding support that are supported by the NHSBSA. Some universities may allow you to take on additional forms of support if you require it, but this must be checked with your university beforehand.
These are the other forms of funding you are entitled to alongside your NHS bursary:
- Childcare Allowance: If your child is under fifteen or are under seventeen but registered with special educational needs, then you can receive funding for up to 85% of your childcare costs. This gives you around £128.78-a-week for one child or £191.45-a-week for two or more children.
- Dependants’ Allowance: If you have anyone who is dependent financially on you while you study, then you are entitled to up to £2,400-a-year. You can also receive up to £549 for each child (after your first).
- Disabled Students Allowance (DSA): The Disabled Students Allowance is an allowance for students that have a disability, learning difficulty or a health problem of any kind (they can be physical issues or mental health problems).
- Extra Weeks Allowance: This is for courses that run for more than thirty weeks and three days. You can receive £108-a-week if you're studying in London (and away from home), £84-a-week if you study outside of London away from home and £56-a-week if you live with your parents.
- NHS bursary Hardship Grant: Medical and dental students that have financial hardship can receive a grant of anywhere between £100 and £3,000. This is also controlled by the NHSBSA.
- Parents Learning Allowance (PLA): This allows you to receive £1,204-a-year if you have any children dependent on you. If you are also applying for the Dependent’s Allowance, then you will need to be properly assessed for the PLA.
- Practice Placement Expenses (PPE): If you are doing any practice placements in community health centres or hospitals, then your travel costs are covered, as well as travel costs for placements that cost more than your travel to university or medical or dental school. NHS bursary travel expenses still need to be recorded with receipts and more. PPE is sometimes referred to as the NHS travel bursary.
These all need to be checked with your university and with the NHSBSA before you apply for them though, as your university guidelines may have different attitudes towards multiple financial aids being used.
Which years of my courses are eligible for the NHS bursary?
The NHS bursary covers all years of your course, unless you are doing a pre-registration course. Pre-registration courses can run for up to six years and the NHS bursary can only cover a few years in that time.
This is how pre-registration courses are covered by the NHS bursary and what the NHS bursary eligibility looks like:
|5+ year undergraduate pre-registration course
|4 year accelerated pre-registration course
|3 year accelerated pre-registration course
If you study a medical or a dental course as a second degree, you will be able to apply for the NHS bursary from the fifth year onwards. Your NHS bursary will work as normal if you are studying one degree as a normal undergraduate degree.
What is the NHS Learning Support Fund?
The NHS Learning Support Fund (NHSLSF) is a fund that is offered by the NHS Business Services Authority Student Services and it is made up of three different types of financial support:
- Child Dependants’ Allowance (CDA): These are students who have a child under the age of fifteen or seventeen if they have special educational needs. You can claim a £1,000 non-income assessed grant each for the academic year that you study. You will need to reapply for this every year.
- Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses: Students are able to claim back any additional expenses they’ve incurred for work experience or work placements.
- Exceptional Support Fund: Put aside for students with financial hardships, students can apply for a grant (that is means-tested) of up to £3,000-a-year.
Students can apply for the LSF through the usual Student Finance companies, however, it would be best to speak to your university beforehand and see what their policies are regarding financial aid and see if they can help you with your application as well.
Can EU students apply for the NHS bursary?
EU students are able to apply for the NHS bursary or any other form of healthcare funding, however, the student must already be living in the UK beforehand, you will need to note where you are from on your NHS bursary application or your NHS bursary forms.
However, from the start of the 2021-22 academic year, it is thought that Irish students or EU students who are registered with the EU Settlement Scheme are the only international students who can apply for the NHS bursary.