The most well-known bursary offered by the NHS is the NHS bursary, which covers various student-related finances at university. However, one of the offshoots of the NHS bursary is the NHS Learning Support Fund.
What is the NHS Learning Support Fund?
The NHS Learning Support Fund (NHS LSF) is a bursary for students looking to study a medical-based degree. The fund is primarily used for those that are looking to study a pre-registration undergraduate or graduate course. The NHS Learning Support Fund is different from the NHS bursary, which is for students looking to study all kinds of medical-based degrees.
These are the courses that are covered by the NHS Learning Support Fund:
- Dental therapy/dental hygiene (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))
- Occupational therapy
- Operating department practitioner (Level 5 and Level 6 courses only)
- Orthotics and prosthetics
- Paramedics (DipHe and Foundation degree students not eligible) Physiotherapy
- Radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic) Speech and language therapy.
- A fund for students who are experiencing financial hardship.
- Parent Support of £2,000 for students who have at least one dependent child under the age of fifteen or under seventeen if the child is registered with special educational needs. This was previously known as the Child Dependants Allowance (CDA).
- Reimbursement of any excess costs that students may incur when travelling or staying in accommodation as part of their practice placement.
- Training grant (student must be eligible first) of £5,000 a year.
These areas are only open to students who are studying pre-registration courses. The course is also only for students who are studying for medical-based degrees. You are not required to repay the NHS Learning Support Fund as the fund is considered to be either a grant or a bursary, neither of which is required to be paid back in any form of education.
Am I eligible for the NHS Learning Support Fund?
In order to receive the NHS Learning Support Fund, you must be eligible, and there are certain eligibility criteria. In order to apply for the NHS Learning Support Fund, students need to meet one or more of the following three criteria:
- Actively studying (academic or practical learning)
- Eligible for a tuition fee loan and general maintenance support through the relevant Student Loans Company, such as:
- Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)
- Student Finance England
- Student Finance Northern Ireland
- Student Finances Wales
- Studying a medical-based course at a university in England.
In order to prove that you meet the eligibility criteria, you need the Student Finance company for your country to provide proof when applying. If you’re a part-time student then you will receive any payments on a pro rata basis.
When can you apply for the NHS Learning Support Fund?
You can apply for the NHS Learning Support Fund from the 1st of July onwards. Applications are then received and reviewed, and the decision on whether or not you are accepted is then relayed to students at a later date.
Funding is fairly regular. Your funding is then passed over the course of an entire academic year and is paid in three different instalments.
How do you apply for the NHS Learning Support Fund?
You will need to apply online. In order to apply (or reapply) for the NHS Learning Support Fund, you need to complete the NHS Learning Support Fund application form using the Bursary Online Support System (BOSS).
The application form itself takes around 30 to 45 minutes to complete and can be revisited at any point if needed. The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) will let applicants know what supporting evidence (if any) that you need to provide once your application has been submitted.
However, you should not apply via BOSS if you are:
- pplying for a bursary for the first time in a Nursing, Midwifery or any kind of allied professional course.
- Applying for any other Learning Support Fund NHS (LSF) allowances.
- Studying on a Social Work course (you need to apply for a Social Work bursary instead).
The NHS Learning Support Fund does not cover social work courses. This is because separate bursaries cover social work courses and don’t necessarily come under the medical-based degree designation of the NHS.
How long does it take me to receive my money?
It does not take long to receive your money. If you’re successful in your application for the NHS Learning Support Fund, you will likely receive your money within fifteen working days.
If there are any reasons you won’t receive the money in that time, then you will be contacted. Equally, your university will also be contacted by your NHS Learning Support Fund contact. Your relevant Student Finance company will also be informed, especially if you are also receiving a Disabled Students Allowance.