The finer details of the changes, which will come into effect from 1 August 2017, are still being worked out by the Department of Health, but what do we currently know?
Nothing is changing for new students until the reformed system comes into effect, so if a student has started or begins their course before 1 August 2017, they should apply for their NHS Bursary as normal. You can find out more about application launch dates and deadlines for 2016/17 on the NHS Bursary website.
Students should make their application as early as possible once the applications open.
All students who are receiving a bursary before 1 August 2017 will continue to be funded by NHS Bursaries for the duration of their course (as long as they apply for one each academic year and their application is approved). All medical and dental students will be funded through the NHS Bursary Scheme during the eligible years of their training.
Also, a capped number of new students from 1 August 2017 studying eligible dental therapy or dental hygiene will continue to be commissioned by Health Education England and funded by NHS Bursaries for the 2017/18 academic year.
Similarly, a capped number of new students from 1 August 2017 studying eligible pre-registration postgraduate programmes will continue to be commissioned by Health Education England and funded by NHS Bursaries for the 2017/18 academic year.
Eligible students studying pre-registration part-time programmes in nursing, midwifery or allied health professions should apply for a Tuition Fee Loan through the standard student support system, but a capped number will also be able to apply for an NHS Bursary to help with living costs for the 2017/18 academic year
All other students studying nursing, midwifery and allied health professional pre-registration undergraduate courses that start on or after 1 August 2017 will access the standard student support system provided by Student Finance England.
During academic year 2016/17, some universities are offering places on NHS-commissioned programmes where only limited bursary funding is available. You should advise students to check with their university before making an NHS Bursary application whether they have been offered an NHS commissioned place. The university can then advise on other potential sources of student support.
The Government published the results of a three-month long consultation on 21 July 2016. Read the response in full on the government website.
As part of the consultation, the Department of Health worked with stakeholders to consider how they can best support students from disadvantaged backgrounds to continue to access healthcare courses in their specialism. The Department of Health has also made it clear that exceptions will apply for students studying nursing, midwifery and the allied-health professions as a second degree, so that these students can access student loans.
Some of the outcomes are outlined below:
The response explains that more discussion is needed around placement commissioning, as well as how small, specialist subjects such as podiatry and orthoptics will be funded and about how an exceptional hardship fund can be accessed.
More details about these and the other areas above are expected in a future consultation response in autumn 2016.
Visit the NHS Student Bursaries website for the most up-to-date NHS Bursary information.
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