What is the NHS bursary and how does it work?

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NHS Bursary how does it work

The NHS bursary is a bursary aimed at certain medical and healthcare students, making it a lifeline to those studying medicine, dentistry, and anything else in the field of healthcare. However, it’s not particularly easy to understand, leaving many people wondering what the NHS bursary is and how it works. If you’re in this situation right now, don’t worry - you’re not alone!

Luckily, money is our thing and we’re here to help you wrap your head around the NHS bursary and find out if you could be entitled to it.

What is the NHS bursary?

The NHS bursary is a bursary that aims to support people launching careers in medicine, nursing, midwifery, dental care, or any other healthcare profession by helping to cover fees and living costs whilst they’re completing their courses. Unlike student loans, an NHS bursary doesn’t need to be repaid, making it a great option for all eligible students.

There are a few different types of funding that the NHS bursary can provide. For example, there’s a means-tested bursary - with the amount given dependent on household income - and a non means-tested grant of £1000. The NHS bursary could also contribute to tuition fees and reduce your maintenance loan from Student Finance. A reduced loan may sound negative at first, but the bursary will make up for any loan lost and you’ll have less debt to repay in the future - win win!

As well as the bursary, there are a number of extra funding options available which depend on your personal circumstances. We’ll explain more about these later, so keep reading.

Who is eligible?

The NHS bursary is only available to UK students, so to be eligible you must either be a UK resident, a UK student, or have been living in the UK for up to three years prior to starting your course.

However, it’s mostly aimed at those who have been studying for a while so it’s not open to all medical and healthcare students. Eligible students include:

Medical and dental students who are in the later stages of their courses.
Continuing students who started a non-medical healthcare course between September 2012 and August 2017.
Continuing postgraduate students who started a non-medical healthcare course between August 2017 and August 2018.
Continuing dental students who started their course between August 2017 and August 2018.

If one of these sounds like you, you could very well be entitled to the NHS bursary.

How much can I get?

When it comes to the means-tested bursary, the amount available will depend on your household income. This includes any money that you and anyone in your household earns per year. If you’re living away from home in London, you could receive up to £3,191 and if you’re living away from home anywhere else in the UK, you could receive up to £2,643. If you live with your parents in any area, you could receive up to £2,207.

When it comes to the non means-tested grant, everyone receives the same amount - £1000.

How is it paid?

If you’re eligible and receive the NHS bursary, the money will be transferred to your bank account in 12 monthly installments throughout the year.

How to apply for the bursary in 2020 & 2021

To apply for the bursary, you’ll need to complete an application form on the Bursary Online Support System. It’s pretty straightforward and should only take around 40 minutes. However, it doesn’t need to be completed in one sitting, so if you’re pressed for time you can do it in small segments.

If you’re applying for the bursary for the first time, you’ll be required to provide two documents confirming your identity, one of which must include a photo (e.g. a passport or a driving license), so it’s a good idea to have those at hand.

Additional bursary funding

Medical and healthcare students who are eligible for the NHS bursary may also be entitled to additional NHS funding.

If an eligible student is disabled, has learning difficulties, or physical or mental health problems, they could be entitled to the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). This allowance provides funding which could be used to hire a helper, buy specialist equipment, or cover any other additional costs.

Then there’s the NHS Bursary Hardship Grant, which is available for medical or dental students who are experiencing financial hardship. The amount of this grant varies between £100 and £3000 and is awarded at the NHSBSA’s discretion.

There’s also the Dependant’s Allowance, which is available to those who have children or other adults depending on them financially.

You can find the full list of additional funding and details on the government NHS Bursary page.

NHS Learning Support Fund (LSF)

However, the NHS bursary isn’t the only way that medical and healthcare students can access additional financial support, there’s also the NHS Learning Support Fund (LSF). Through this fund, eligible students can gain:

A £5000 training grant per academic year.
Parental support of £2000 if they have at least one dependent child under the age of 15 (or under the age of 17 if they have special educational needs).

Reimbursement of travel and dual accommodation costs during NHS placements (Travel and Dual accommodation Expenses).
Financial support for medical and healthcare students who are experiencing financial hardship (Exceptional Support Fund).

Social Work Bursary (SWB)

In addition, there’s also extra support available if you’re studying social work - the Social Work Bursary (SWB). Just like the NHS Bursary, the SWB can help cover living and studying costs and doesn’t need to be repaid.

To be eligible for the bursary, students must be studying a course approved by Social Work England (SWE), the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), Social Care Wales, or the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC). However, there’s a limited number available and it’s only open to those who normally live in England. If you live in other parts of the UK, you should apply to similar bursaries available to those in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

If you’re looking to study healthcare with an NHS bursary, then when you’ve graduated and got a job you can benefit from our services at Salad Money. We offer small, affordable loans to NHS and pubic sector workers using Open Banking technology. See what we can do for you today!

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