There have been lots of presentations on the imminent changes to funding for certain undergraduate, pre-registration healthcare courses in England – including nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and radiotherapy – amongst others. If you are a new student starting one of these relevant degree courses after 1st August 2017, we’ve tried to capture the headlines for you and provide signposting to the detail on the relevant websites.*

As in other blogs, we will endeavour to keep this article very simple and provide a general overview to get you started. It is aimed at those living in this region and there a lot of exceptions so we would always encourage you to attend talks on the subject to be able to ask individual questions, as well as read the detail in the various Student Finance literature – more on this at the end of the article.

Tuition fee funding is changing

Currently, NHS Bursary Services cover the relevant tuition fees for your course, but this is changing for new students starting in 2017/18. As the Bursary funding is ending* and the Uni will be charging fees for these healthcare courses in the same way as for other subjects – see individual Uni website for details – you may wish to consider applying for a regular student loan from Student Finance England to cover your tuition costs.**

Living cost funding is changes

Another change is in the financing of your living costs – the bulk of which will no doubt be for your accommodation. Under the current NHS Bursary system, 75% of the funding for these costs has so far been non-repayable – with only a small maintenance loan owing for the remainder.

In future, new students who require financial support with their living costs will need to consider applying for a regular maintenance loan – again from Student Finance England.** When determining how much you can receive, these loans are based on a number of different criteria including your household income and whether you live with your parents or choose independent accommodation.

Ultimately – like the loan for tuition fees – this money is borrowed and therefore will attract interest and be repayable.

There’s more to it …

Having a student loan instead of an NHS bursary can seem daunting, but instead of a lump sum owing, try and visualise it as just another type of ‘tax’ – a tax on graduates which you just have to pay every month and which is automatically taken off your payslip just like income tax and national insurance.

And as a UK student, you should also be able to apply for up to 25% more support with living costs compared with the old NHS Bursary system. According to Health Careers, a single student studying on a three-year programme, for example, would receive approximately £2,000 more funding support per year on a student loan – read more below.

And there’ll be non-repayable funding for certain placement costs as part of an NHS Learning Support Fund. This part of the Fund is for Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses and will be available to reimburse excess costs incurred when undertaking practical training on placements. These can include travel expenses to and from your placements as well as any secondary accommodation which you may need – such as a hotel or B&B – in addition to your normal residence. The details are still to be finalised and will be announced in due course.

Overall, it does look as though you should be able to apply for more funding than you would have under old system.

And finally …

There are lots of exceptions to the rule – too many to list – so it is really important to check the websites that specialise in Student Finance for the relevant healthcare courses and ensure that you fully understand your personal entitlements. There is also a Student Finance helpline: 0871 976 2170.

* One exception applies to students from England – and Wales – who choose to study for their relevant degree course in Wales. Where they are contracted to work in Wales after graduating, these students are able to remain on the old NHS Bursary system as a result.

* Another is for new Dental hygiene/dental therapy students for whom there are transitional arrangements in place involving a continuation of the Bursary scheme in 2017/18.

** Read more about student loans and maintenance loans from Student Finance England in recent blogs on here:

Important – some of the websites where you can find more of the detail:

  • Student Finance England
  • Apply for Student Finance – the Government website
  • Student Finance Zone on The Student Room website
  • Student Finance Calculator
  • You Tube video overview of student finance
  • Health Careers – a fantastic resource!
  • NHS Business Services Authority website

And if you have applied to UWE, there is a Pre-entry Money Advice Line available where you can speak to someone at the University in the UWE Money Advice and Finance Service anytime from November to August between 2.00-4.00pm on 0117 328 5432 or email them on [email protected]. It’s Your Future – Let’s Get It Started.

If you want to get your career moving, check out the website for open days, talks, work experience, courses and apprenticeship vacancies in the Bristol and Bath postcode area – other regions to follow!

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