Funding for students on NHS and Social Work programmes

A pile of coins, a stethoscope, and a calculator.

In additional to potentially receiving statutory support from the government, students undertaking health professional, medical, dental or social work programmes may also be eligible for support from the NHS.

Nursing and Physiotherapy programmes 

If you are looking to study on a Nursing or Physiotherapy programme at the University, you will be eligible to apply for financial support from the NHS.

What will I be eligible to receive?

Students studying on health professional programmes will be eligible to apply for an NHS Bursary. The type of bursary you can apply for will depend upon your choice of programme:

  • If you are studying for a diploma in Nursing you will be eligible for a non-means tested bursary (i.e. your income is not assessed).
  • If you are studying for a degree in Nursing and Physiotherapy you will be eligible to apply for an income-assessed bursary that will be dependant upon your financial circumstances plus a non-means tested bursary of £1,000.

You can find out how much you are likely to receive by visiting the NHS Student Bursary Calculator. More information about the bursary can be found at the NHS Bursary scheme FAQ.

Will the NHS cover my tuition fees?

If you receive an NHS Bursary you will have your fees paid for you by the NHS.

How do I apply?

As soon as you have been offered a place at University you should create an online bursary application account using the NHS's Bursary Online Support System (BOSS).  You can also check your personal eligibility and whether you would be classed as an independent or a dependent student. All students are expected to apply for at least the minimum award which covers any non means tested grant (NMTG) and the payment of tuition fees. 

Only one application needs to be created through BOSS regardless of the number of offers you receive. This account is also used in subsequent years to reapply for your annual bursary. 

Keeping track of your application

Once you have created a BOSS account, your status will be show as 'pending' until the NHS receives the documentary evidence to complete your assessment. An email will be sent to you regarding this. All evidence should be sent together, along with a barcode cover sheet showing your unique student reference number. This can be downloaded from the 'documents' section of your BOSS account.

On receipt of this your BOSS account will become 'active', unless further evidence is required. In due course your active status will either change to 'approved' or 'rejected'. In case of the latter, you will be sent an email explaining why. The next stage for an approved application is that 'enrolment approval' will be sought from the University. Finally, once we have confirmed your enrolment, your bursary status will change to 'in payment'.

As soon as your bursary entitlement has been approved, you can check your Payment Schedule and corresponding amounts at any time by logging in to your BOSS account.

When will I be paid? 

Normally payments will be within 10 working days of the University confirming your enrolment, providing your application and supporting evidence have been submitted to the NHS on time. Payments are made on the third Friday of every month, apart from new students who receive a double payment in the first month, then standard payments from the third month onwards.

Additional allowances and forms

The only additional forms that can currently be accessed through your BOSS account relate to Dependants' Allowance, which can be found in the main part of the form, and Disabled Students Allowance, which will become available on the home screen once your main application form has been submitted. All other forms relating to Childcare Allowance, Placement Expenses, Self Assessment Income, etc. can be found on the NHS Business Services Authority website

What other support is available?

If you are studying on a Nursing or Physiotherapy degree, you will be eligible for a reduced-rate Living Cost Loan in addition to the income-assessed NHS Bursary.

In order to access these funds you will need to contact Student Finance England (or your relevant SLC agency). They will check your eligibility and let you know what your maximum entitlement is. You must then inform the Student Loans Company as to how much you wish to borrow.

Unfortunately, you will not be eligible for any support from the University through its Chamberlain Award scheme, as you will be NHS-funded.

However, students undertaking Nursing or Physiotherapy degrees can apply for the University's Elizabeth Murray Centenary Scholarship during the second year of their course, which opens in October each year and closes at the end of the first academic term.


Medical and dental programmes

If you are studying on a Medicine or Dentistry programme your funding arrangements will be somewhat different to standard undergraduate programmes.

Will I be eligible for support from the government?

In the first, second, third or fourth year of your degree, you will be funded by the standard student support package that is available from the government. Depending on the length of your term dates, you may be eligible for an extended sum of Living Cost Loan.

Will I be eligible for an NHS Bursary?

Once you enter your fifth year of study, you will become eligible for NHS funding. This means that you will be eligible for a means-tested NHS Bursary. You will also be able to take a reduced-rate Living Cost Loan. For details on how to apply for the bursary and when you will be paid please refer to the relevant sections under 'Nursing and Physiotherapy programmes' above. 

How will my tuition fees be covered?

During the first four years of your degree, you will be able to take out a Tuition Fee Loan from the government to cover your tuition fee costs.  In your fifth year, the NHS will pay your tuition fees for you.

Is the funding different for Graduate Entry programmes? 

If you are entering a four-year Graduate Entry medical degree programme, you will receive standard student support (subject to your eligibility) in your first year, with NHS support taking over from year two onwards.  Any Chamberlain Award you receive from the University will cease after your first year. 

What other support is available? 

Students studying in Years 1-4 of a medical or dentistry degree (or Year 1 of a Graduate Entry programme) may also qualify for a Chamberlain Award from the University. Funding ceases in Year 5 onwards (or Year 2 onwards for the Graduate Entry programmes) when the degrees become NHS-funded.

If you are a Medical or Dental student who has exhausted all other sources of financial help, and you are still experiencing financial difficulties, you may, exceptionally, be eligible for a NHS Hardship Grant.

The RMBF also runs Money4Medstudents, a website featuring tips on managing your money, how to borrow sensibly and where to find other sources of funding.


Social Work programmes

Home UK Students studying towards an approved social work degree course may also be able to receive support from the NHS. 

What financial support is available? 

If you are studying on a Social Work degree, in your first year you will be eligible for the normal statutory support from Student Finance England (SFE).  Such students may also qualify for a Chamberlain Award from the University.

In subsequent years, it is understood that those students who are performing well on their course may be eligible for a non-repayable bursary from the NHS. Full details are likely to be published in due course on the NHSBSA website. This bursary will be in addition to any other continuing funding from SFE. As you have the potential to be NHS-funded from this point onwards, no Chamberlain Award will be payable from the University, regardless if you are in receipt of the bursary or not. 

Please note that where there are additional costs associated with attending placements in relation to this course, it is expected that the agency offering the placement will make a contribution towards these.

How do I apply?

You will initially need to apply to Student Finance England (SFE) in order to assess your eligibility for statutory support. In subsequent years, when re-applying to SFE for funding, you should not declare that you are receiving an NHS Bursary as this does not relate to the Social Work Bursary.

Is there any support available for postgraduates?

As a postgraduate, you will not receive any statutory support from SFE. However, you may receive a Social Work Bursary. The bursary is split into means-tested (up to £2,634) and non means-tested (£3,362.50) parts which are paid in three termly instalments.

You will also get at least £3,996 towards your tuition fees, which is paid directly to the University. Furthermore, a contribution of around £862.50 (to help with expenses for attending placements) has been built into the bursary. You will also be able to apply for a Parents’ Learning Allowance, Adult Dependants Allowance, Childcare Allowance and Disabled Students’ Allowances from NHSBSA, depending upon your circumstances.

Please note that the number of Social Work bursaries is restricted. If you do not qualify for a bursary towards your living costs, you will not be assisted with tuition fee support or any other type of allowance (except your travel allowance of £862.50).  Therefore you will need to secure substantial funding from elsewhere.  


Video guide to the NHS online application process



View video transcript (PDF -101KB)


Find out more

Contact the NHS Business Services Authority