Financial support at university
The NHS has you covered. If you are thinking of studying for a health-related undergraduate or postgraduate degree, take a look at what financial support is available.
Student payments available
Eligible undergraduate and postgraduate nursing, midwifery and many of the allied health profession students can access additional financial support from September 2020. And the good news is, you don't have to pay it back.
NHS Learning Support Fund
This financial support is an extension of the existing NHS Learning Support Fund (NHS LSF) which offers eligible students additional support while studying for their degree. The new package includes:
- training grant of £5,000 per year (for new and continuing students)
- parental support payment of £2,000 per student per year to help with childcare costs
- specialist subject payment of £1,000 per year for students on degrees that struggle to recruit, including mental health and learning disability nursing (for new students only)
- a regional incentive payment of £1,000 per year for students studying in certain regions of the country where recruitment is particularly hard (for new students only)
- help towards additional travel and accommodation costs to clinical placements over your normal daily travel costs
- an exceptional hardship fund of up to £3,000 per student per academic year
Eligibility criteria for the NHS LSF remain the same, with the exception that paramedic students are also now eligible to apply for the fund.
In addition to these payments, you can also take out a student loan from the Student Loans Company, even if this is your second degree. Please note that if you are studying paramedicine as a second degree, you are not currently eligible to access loans from the Student Loans Company.
Get your questions answered with our FAQs
What courses are covered by the NHS LSF?
New and current degree-level students in the following areas will benefit from the training grants:
dental hygiene or dental therapy (level 5 and 6 courses)
operating department practitioner (level 5 and level 6 courses)
orthotics and prosthetics
podiatry or chiropody
radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic)
speech and language therapy
nursing (adult, child, mental health, learning disability, joint nursing/social work)
The specialisms struggling to recruit and where eligible students will receive an additional £1,000 (specialist subject payment) are:
mental health nursing
learning disability nursing
radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic)
prosthetics and orthotics
It is not yet known which regions of the country will benefit from the additional regional incentive payment of £1,000 per year.
The specialist subject and regional incentive payments will only be available to students starting their courses on or after 1 September 2020.
Eligibility criteria are the same as those for the existing NHS Learning Support Fund. Essentially you must be:
- eligible for or in receipt of tuition fees or maintenance support from the Student Loans Company (this includes certain residency criteria)
- studying at a university in England
- studying one of the courses identified earlier in this section.
More information can be found on the NHS BSA website.
Where can I apply?
Applications for the funding will be made through a digital portal run by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) who manage the NHS Learning Support Fund.
Students eligible for specialist subject and regional incentive payments will not need to apply separately for these payments. When applying for the training grant, if the qualifying course and university are selected, the additional payments will be automatically included.
Can I access it if I've got a degree?
Yes, the payments will be available to eligible graduates looking to do a further undergraduate or postgraduate degree in nursing, midwifery and many of the allied health professions. New postgraduate pre-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students can also access loans from the Student Loans Company*.
*Please note that those students studying paramedicine as a second degree are not currently eligible to access loans from the Student Loans Company.
Can I still get a student loan?
Yes, healthcare students can still get student loans through the Student Loans Company. Find out more from the Government website.
Currently, student loans are generally paid back over a 30 year period and repayment is contingent on earnings. Graduates do not begin to pay back their loans until the April after they graduate, and then only if they are earning over £26,575 per year. If their income drops below this figure for any reason (part-time working, career break) their repayments cease.
The loan repayments are paid at a rate of 9% of any earnings over £26,575.
Is there any other financial support?
Under the student loan system, students are able to apply for non-repayable grants to cover additional childcare, adult dependents, parents' learning costs and some costs towards travel to placements. Students with a disability can also apply for additional grant funding to help pay the extra essential costs they may have whilst studying on a higher education course as a direct result of their disability, through the Disabled Students' Allowance.
Some organisations and individual universities offer scholarships and bursaries (for example if you are a local student, from an under-represented group, want to study certain subjects or have particular academic potential).
- If you find yourself in particular hardship, your university may be able to provide extra financial support. Talk to your student welfare officer in the first instance.
- If you are a carer, have a disability, are a parent or have adult dependents, you may be entitled to additional state financial support.
How about the rest of the UK?
Financial support for students in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may differ from the information listed above. We recommend contacting the relevant bodies in these countries:
- Northern Ireland - visit the Northern Ireland Direct Government services website.
- Scotland - visit Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)
- Wales - visit the Student Awards Services
Please also see our page on financial support for medical and dental students.
What about doctors and dentists?
In England, gaining admission to the standard five-year courses means you are entitled to receive student loans from Student Finance England for maintenance and tuition fees in the first four years.
From year five onwards, tuition fees will be paid by the NHS Student Bursary Scheme and you will be eligible to apply for a means-tested NHS bursary to cover maintenance costs and a reduced maintenance loan from Student Finance England.
Students will also have access to a non-means tested grant of £1,000 as part of their NHS Bursary award.
Support arrangements are different for each UK country. You can find out more by visiting our page on financial support for medical and dental students.
Where can I get further information?
- For full details of the new funding arrangements first announced in December 2019, see the press releases on the Government website:
- More detailed information about student finance on the Gov.uk website.
- The NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) website has information about the Learning Support Fund and a comprehensive FAQ document
- The Funding Clinic website has further information specifically for healthcare students.
- Find out more about loans and grants and apply for them through Student Finance England.
- Visit the student finance section of the UCAS website for more useful information.
- Read information about the financial support available for medical and dental students.