The BSA administers support for students studying a postgraduate-level course, such as a master’s degree in social work, or for students studying an undergraduate degree or diploma who already have a first degree.
The number of bursaries is limited, although it is expected that most postgraduate students will receive support. Bursaries are allocated to support ’high-quality’ applicants (eg, those with relevant previous experience), with the institution making the final decision. You should ask your institution what criteria it intends to use to allocate bursaries. If you do not receive a bursary, you can still get help with your placement costs (see here
If you qualify for a bursary, it helps with your extra study and living costs, and there is additional money available if you have a child(ren) or a disability.
If you receive a postgraduate social work bursary, you cannot also apply for a postgraduate master’s loan from Student Finance England (see here
). However, if you are unsuccessful in securing a social work bursary, you can then apply for the postgraduate loan.
If you receive a bursary, you also receive a grant of up to £4,052 towards your tuition fees. This grant is paid by the NHSBSA, directly to the institution. The grants are not means tested. You should check how much your institution intends to charge for tuition as, in some cases, it may exceed the tuition fee grant available.
Eligible postgraduate students who get a bursary can also receive a basic non-means-tested grant from the NHS. You can get £3,362.50 if you are studying at an institution outside London, or £3,762.50 if you are studying at a university or college in London or at the University of London. This includes a placement travel expenses allowance of £862.50. Postgraduate students who receive a bursary are not eligible for student support from Student Finance England.
Additional maintenance grant
A means-tested grant is paid in addition to the basic grant to those who get a bursary. Up to £4,201 is available to students studying in London or at the University of London, with up to £2,721 available to those studying elsewhere.
The grant is means tested on your unearned income and any taxable income of your partner, if you have one.
Students with dependants
If you have a child and/or an adult who is financially dependent on you, you can apply for an adult dependants’ grant
, the parents’ learning allowance
and the childcare grant
. These broadly mirror the same grants that undergraduates can apply for from Student Finance England (see here
Disabled students’ allowance
Postgraduate social work students can apply for a disabled students’ allowance from the NHSBSA at the same rates as for undergraduates (see here
). If you do not receive a bursary, you may still be able to claim a postgraduate disabled students’ allowance from Student Finance England (see here
Part-time postgraduate students who receive a bursary have their tuition fees paid by the NHSBSA. They receive the bursary at half the rate for full-time study, plus help with placement costs. They are not eligible for other forms of support.
If you do not receive a bursary but incur placement expenses, you can still claim a contribution towards your placement costs of £862.50 (pro rata if you are a part-time student) from the NHSBSA.