NHS Bursaries: A Comprehensive Guide

NHS Bursaries: A Comprehensive Guide , Eligibility, What You’ll Get, How to Apply, Extra Financial Help


NHS bursaries are a form of financial support provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK to eligible students pursuing certain healthcare-related courses, such as nursing, midwifery, and some medical and dental programs. These bursaries are designed to help cover tuition fees and living expenses, alleviating the financial burden on students and encouraging more individuals to enter the healthcare profession. Unlike student loans, NHS bursaries do not need to be repaid, making them an attractive option for those who qualify. The amount and type of support available can vary depending on factors such as the course of study, the length of the program, and the student’s personal circumstances.

In addition to the basic bursary, students may also be eligible for additional financial support, such as travel and accommodation expenses for clinical placements, a childcare allowance, and support for dependents. The application process for an NHS bursary is separate from the standard student finance application and requires students to provide detailed information about their personal and financial situation. The aim of the NHS bursary scheme is to ensure that financial barriers do not deter talented individuals from pursuing careers in the healthcare sector, ultimately contributing to a well-staffed and skilled NHS workforce.


To be eligible for an NHS bursary, you must be studying a healthcare-related course in the UK that is approved by the NHS. This includes courses in nursing, midwifery, and allied health professions such as physiotherapy, radiography, and occupational therapy. You must also be a UK resident and have been living in the UK, the EU, or the EEA for at least three years prior to the start of your course.

Additional Eligibility Criteria

In addition to the basic eligibility requirements, there are other factors that can affect your eligibility for an NHS bursary. These include your financial circumstances, your previous study at higher education level, and whether you are receiving funding from other sources. It is important to check the specific eligibility criteria for the NHS bursary scheme you are applying for, as these can vary depending on the region and the type of course.

EU and EEA Students

EU and EEA students are eligible for NHS bursaries if they meet the residency requirements and are studying an eligible healthcare course in the UK. However, following Brexit, the eligibility criteria for EU and EEA students may change, so it is important to stay updated with the latest information.

Postgraduate Students

Postgraduate students may be eligible for an NHS bursary if they are studying a healthcare-related course that is approved by the NHS. However, the availability of bursaries for postgraduate students may be limited, and eligibility criteria may vary depending on the specific course and region.

How to Check Your Eligibility

To check your eligibility for an NHS bursary, you should visit the official NHS bursary website for your region (England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland) and review the detailed eligibility criteria. You can also contact the NHS bursary office directly for advice and guidance on your eligibility.

What You’ll Get

NHS bursaries provide financial support to students studying in healthcare-related fields in the UK. The amount and type of support you receive can vary depending on your course, your personal circumstances, and where you study. Here are some key components of what you might expect:

Tuition Fee Support

For eligible courses, the NHS bursary scheme may cover the full cost of your tuition fees. This means you wouldn’t have to pay any tuition fees upfront or take out a tuition fee loan.

Maintenance Grant

Alongside tuition fee support, you may receive a maintenance grant to help with living costs such as rent, food, and travel. The amount you receive will depend on your household income and where you’re studying.

Bursary for Additional Expenses

Some students may be eligible for extra financial help to cover specific additional expenses, such as clinical placement costs, travel, and accommodation.

Childcare Allowance

If you have children, you may be eligible for a childcare allowance to help with the cost of childcare while you study. This can be a significant source of support for student parents.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)

If you have a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty like dyslexia, you may be eligible for DSAs. These are grants to help cover the extra costs you might have as a result of your condition.

Travel Expenses

For courses that require clinical placements, you may be able to claim for travel and accommodation expenses incurred as a result of attending these placements.

Dependants’ Allowances

If you have dependants, such as a partner or children, you may be eligible for additional financial support to help with their living costs.

It’s important to note that the exact amount and type of support available can vary, so it’s essential to check the specific details for your course and circumstances. Additionally, NHS bursaries are usually non-repayable, meaning you won’t have to pay them back after you graduate.

How to Apply

Applying for an NHS bursary can be a straightforward process if you follow the necessary steps. Here’s a detailed guide to help you through the application process:

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before you start your application, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for an NHS bursary. This typically includes being a UK resident, studying an eligible healthcare-related course, and not receiving other funding sources like a student loan.

Step 2: Register and Create an Account

Visit the NHS Bursary Students Services website and create an account. You’ll need to provide some personal details and set up security questions for your account.

Step 3: Complete the Application Form

Once you’ve registered, log in to your account and start filling out the online application form. You’ll need to provide information about your course, university, and personal financial circumstances. Make sure to provide accurate and complete information to avoid delays in your application.

Step 4: Submit Supporting Documents

You’ll need to provide evidence to support your application, such as proof of identity, residency, and income. Check the NHS Bursary website for a detailed list of required documents and upload them to your online account.

Step 5: Review and Submit Your Application

Before submitting your application, review all the information and documents you’ve provided. Once you’re satisfied, submit your application. You’ll receive a confirmation email with a reference number for your application.

Step 6: Wait for Assessment

After submission, your application will be assessed by the NHS Bursary team. This process can take several weeks, so be patient. You can check the status of your application through your online account.

Step 7: Receive Your Bursary Notification

If your application is successful, you’ll receive a bursary notification letter outlining the amount of funding you’ll receive and the payment schedule. Make sure to review the details and contact the NHS Bursary team if you have any questions.

Tips for a Smooth Application Process

  • Apply early: Don’t wait until the last minute to start your application. Give yourself plenty of time to gather all the necessary documents and information.
  • Keep copies: Make copies of all the documents you submit for your own records.
  • Seek help if needed: If you’re unsure about any part of the application process, don’t hesitate to contact the NHS Bursary team for assistance.

By following these steps and tips, you can successfully navigate the NHS bursary application process and secure funding for your healthcare studies.

Extra Financial Help

In addition to the standard bursary, you may be eligible for extra financial help, including:

  • Childcare Allowance: to help with the cost of registered childcare.
  • Parents’ Learning Allowance: additional support for students with dependent children.
  • Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs): for students with a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty.

For more information on extra financial help, visit the NHS Business Services Authority website.

Applying for an NHS bursary can significantly ease the financial burden of pursuing a healthcare-related career. Make sure to check your eligibility, understand what you’re entitled to, and apply in time to take advantage of this valuable support.

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