Nursing students to receive bursaries of up to £8,000 a year

The non-repayable bursary is designed to help with living costs and incentivise students to join the profession.

Matt Bodell
18 December 2019
nursing students on the ward

Students will get an additional payment of up to £8000 per year.

Nursing students in England are to benefit from a bursary of up to £8,000 a year to help with living costs.


All nursing students on courses from September 2020 will receive the payment to help with living costs which they will not need to pay back.

Students will receive at least £5,000. Those joining an undersubscribed discipline such as mental health nursing, live in an area of specific need or have childcare responsibilities will receive an additional £3,000 supplement.

The funding will be given to all new and continuing degree-level nursing, midwifery and many allied health students from September 2020.

While those studying will have continued access to tuition and maintenance loans from the Student Loans Company, it is not known if the bursary will be included within income calculations as it was previously.


Tuition fees unchanged.

Critics warn the plan falls short of the £10,000 bursary payment for student nurses in Scotland and still leaves newly qualified nurses in tens of thousands of pounds of debt.

The funding comes as part of the government’s controversial pledge to increase nurse numbers by 50,000 over the next 5 years after numbers dramatic fell following the removal of the bursary by the Conservative Party in 2015.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We want every person considering this incredible career to apply for their university place before the UCAS deadline of 15 January, safe in the knowledge they will benefit from this financial support from the start of the next academic year.

“This £2 billion-plus package builds on the government’s ongoing work to increase the number of places for students and is central to its commitment to deliver 50,000 more nurses on our wards.


“At the same time we are also urgently reviewing the pensions issue senior clinicians have told us is having a direct impact on them, so we have the staff we need to deliver the care patients deserve.”

The first victory.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has welcomed the move but believes further measures are needed to address the shortage of 43,000 nurses throughout the NHS in England.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN said: “With tens of thousands of vacant nurse jobs in England, serious measures are needed and this grant is a first victory for the campaign that our student nurses are running. This announcement will hopefully encourage more people to apply to a nursing degree by the mid-January deadline.

“In the run up to the Budget, we continue to call for our students to not pay tuition fees up-front. Any barriers for people wanting to enter nursing must be removed.

“The nurses at work today need to feel valued but also confident that the staffing shortages are being addressed with adequate investment.


“The RCN is calling for at least £1 billion extra per year to be invested in nurse higher education as part of ensuring patients and the public can access safe and effective health and care services”.

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