Financial support at university
This page outlines how you can finance your university studies and includes details of changes taking place in 2017.
The financial support available for students taking approved courses in a number of health professions is changing from 1 August 2017.
Students applying to study for many health courses now need to apply for a student loan rather than receive an NHS bursary. Financial support available under the new system includes:
- 25% more up front financial living cost support while studying compared to a NHS bursary. For example a single student studying on a three year programme would receive approximately £2,000 more funding support per year on a student loan
- a non-repayable grant of £1,000 per year for students with child dependants
- access to an exceptional support fund of up to £3,000 per year for those students facing severe hardship
- support for excess travel and dual accommodation expenses incurred owing to attending practice placements
For 2017 only, there are a few exceptions where students will continue to receive the bursary, including those studying part-time, postgraduate students and those applying for dental hygiene and therapy courses. Find out more about these transitional arrangements.
Frequently asked questions
- Which courses are affected by the reforms?
- What will the changes mean for potential student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals?
- Will there be any additional financial support for nurses?
- When will the loan have to be paid back?
- For many nursing and midwifery students, this is their second degree. What provision is there for them?
- Many health students already have a student loan from a previous degree. What will happen to them?
- What about doctors and dentists? They currently receive grants in the final years of their degrees.
- Will any healthcare students still receive grants?
- What do these changes mean specifically for potential student midwives and AHPs?
Pre-registration courses in nursing, midwifery and certain allied health professions (specifically dietetics, occupational therapy, orthoptics, orthotics and prosthetics, physiotherapy, podiatry/chiropody, diagnostic radiography, therapeutic radiography, speech and language therapy and operating department practice).
From August 2017, new students will move onto the student support system and typically receive an increase in financial support for living costs whilst they study of around 25%.
In most cases, the DfE student support system allowances are equivalent to or higher than the existing NHS bursary scheme.
The Government is making sure that additional funds are there to help healthcare students with expenses like childcare and travel costs.
Under the student loan system, students will be able to apply for non-repayable grants to cover additional childcare, adult dependants, parent 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.
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 £21,000 per year. If their income drops below £21,000 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 £21,000.
The Government intends to make an exception for students studying nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions as a second degree so that these students can access student loans (as is already planned for some STEM students from 2017/18).
The Government will not be implementing a new funding model for these students beginning their course in 2017.
To ensure postgraduate students can continue their valuable contribution to non-medical professions, the Government will make funding available for a capped number of postgraduate healthcare places for new starters in 2017, on the same terms as are currently in place. These terms will serve as a transitional arrangement until further options have been developed.
The Government will be broadening the range of qualifications for which students can access a second student loan to include nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects.
There are no plans in place to change the current arrangements for student doctors and dentists who are already on the DfE student support system for the first four years of their degree. Support arrangements are different for each UK country, so please see our pages on financial support for medical and dental students in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Under the student loan system, students will be able to apply for non-repayable grants to cover additional childcare, adult dependants, parent 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. Universities will also be required to include nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students within their financial support programmes.
We expect this reform to provide additional places to study midwifery and the allied health professions. Nursing is consistently one of the most popular courses on University Central Administration Service (UCAS), with 57,000 applicants for around 20,000 nursing places in 2014. Midwifery and allied health professional courses receive higher than average applications as well.
Like student nurses, midwives and AHPs will move onto the DfE student support system from August 2017, typically receiving an increase in financial support for living costs whilst they study of around 25%.
- Help with tuition fees and living costs Expand / Collapse
Most students from England pay tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year regardless of where they study in the UK. However, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. You pay this back in instalments once you are working and earning a certain level of income.
You may also be able to apply for a Maintenance Loan to help with your living costs. If your household income is low, you could also get a Maintenance Grant or a Special Support Grant if you are on certain benefits. Unlike loans, you don’t have to pay these grants back.
Note that there are differences in the way students from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are funded. If you don’t live in England, information can be found through Student Finance Wales, Student Awards Agency for Scotland or Student Finance NI.
- Other support Expand / Collapse
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 dependants, you may be entitled to additional state financial support.
- Further information Expand / Collapse
- Find out more about the changes on the Gov.uk website.
- NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) website for information about the current NHS Student Bursary system
- 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.