University of Salford Manchester

Students on healthcare and social work courses

There have been changes to the way all undergraduate degree courses in nursing, midwifery and allied health professions are funded in England.

What’s changing?

If you start most nursing, midwifery and Allied Health Professions pre-registration courses in England from September 2017, you will have access to the standard student support package of tuition fee loans and support for living costs, rather than getting an NHS grant. This will affect the following courses taught at Salford:

  • BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography
  • BSc (Hons) Integrated Practice in Learning Disabilities Nursing and Social Work
  • BSc (Hons) Midwifery
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult, Children and Young People and Mental Health)
  • BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy
  • BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy
  • BSc (Hons) Podiatry
  • BSc (Hons) Prosthetics and Orthotics

How will I pay for my tuition fees and living costs?

You will be able to apply for a student loan, which can include a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan/grant to help with your living costs. Students can also apply for grants if they’re eligible for certain benefits, disabled, or need help with childcare costs. Find out more at gov.uk

How long will it take me to pay the loan back?

The size of your monthly repayments will depend on how much you earn, not what you owe.

You only start paying back the loans when you earn above £21,000, only paying back 9% of any income above £21,000. If you earn below that, you don’t have to pay back anything.

For example, on a Band 5 salary in the NHS of £21,909* (the usual starting salary for new nurses) you would repay around £6.80 per month.

*Details correct at time of publishing (September 2016), see www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/about/careers-nhs/nhs-pay-and-benefits/agenda-change-pay-rates for current examples.

If you drop below the earning threshold for any reason, such as working part-time or taking a career break, you stop having to repay the loan until your income goes up again. The loan gets written off 30 years after you become eligible to repay so there is a fair chance that you will never have to repay the full amount.

What changes have been made to funding for pre-registration postgraduate courses?

For 2017 entry, there will be no changes to the funding available for these programmes. This means that students starting our MA Nursing or MSc Podiatry programmes in September 2017 (or subsequent intakes until June 2018) will continue to receive a bursary and have their fees paid. It is likely this will change however in September 2018, and we will share information on this as soon as it’s available.

I already have an undergraduate degree but want to re-train as a nurse/midwife/allied health professional. If I already have a loan from my previous degree can I get a second one?

Yes - to support students who are planning to undertake nursing, midwifery and allied health professional subjects as a second degree, the government will enable these students to access a loan, just like students studying for a first degree.

As is current policy, students who take out two undergraduate loans will not repay the second after the first, but instead will have the second loan balance added on to the first. Loan repayments will remain income dependent. The SLC will issue further guidance on this.

I’m applying for a part-time course – will I still need to take a student loan?

The current student finance package available from the Student Loan Company includes a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan, which covers living costs such as your rent. Under the current student support system rules though, only full-time students are eligible for the maintenance loan element of the package. This would mean that in 2017/18, new part-time students on pre-registration courses would only have access to tuition fee loans and would not be eligible to apply for a loan for living costs. To enable students to fund their living costs, the government has proposed that for part-time Physiotherapy and Occupational Health students, ordinarily resident in England and beginning their studies in 2017, a bursary will be given to cover living costs if they have applied for their fee loan via SLC. However it is important to note that any student in receipt of this bursary who then undertakes a break in study regardless of the reason (incl. maternity leave and repeat study) may not be eligible for any bursary support when they return to their studies at a later date. These rules will change from 2018/19, so that for the first time a loan for living costs will be available for part-time students.

I have a family to support; I don’t think I can afford to give up my current job to study.

In order to support students with children, the Department will provide additional support of £1,000 per student with dependents, per academic year, in order to ensure that they can continue to study and attend clinical placements. This will not affect these students' access to childcare support provided by the standard higher education student support system, and in the majority of cases will be a better deal for those who are studying and have children. Further details will be made available prior to students commencing their courses in September 2017.

Will there be support available to help with travel expenses?

The government has noted that students who claim travel expenses under the standard higher education support system have to pay £303 of these costs themselves, before they receive non-repayable funding support. This is not the case for students on the NHS Bursary scheme. In order that healthcare students can continue to access clinical placements, the Department of Health will cover the cost of the first £303 as a non-repayable grant. This will not affect healthcare students’ ability to access funding from the standard higher education support system to pay for their essential travel costing over £303. Find out more about the travel grants here.

Should I still study a course in health care?

There are brilliant, rewarding careers across the health professions. You might end up working in a hospital, caring for elderly people in their own homes, supporting prisoners’ health, carrying out research into end of life care, or working in health policy.

Many health professionals work in the NHS but many work in other settings. Whatever role you take and wherever you work, you will be making a difference to people’s lives.

Because the UK population’s health needs are changing and demands for health and social care are rising, health professionals are in increasing demand.

At Salford we are committed to your future success in your chosen career and can provide you with state-of-the-art facilities to help develop your skills and confidence. These include our brand new simulation suites for nursing and midwifery students, designed to replicate a real hospital environment with a number of realistic patient simulators, as well as our purpose-built Activities of Daily Living flat for our occupational therapy students. The flat mirrors a real-life home environment model to a high degree of fidelity whilst allowing a variety of simulation techniques to be utilised effectively.

Other facilities include our digital imaging suite, prosthetics and orthotics laboratory and Sports Injury and Podiatry Clinics, which are open to the public, giving students the chance to use cutting edge facilities and techniques on real patients, whilst under the supervision of fully trained academic staff.

Find out more

For more details from the Council of Deans of Health, who represents the UK’s university faculties engaged in education and research for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, visit their website. There is also more information on the GOV.UK website.