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Chapter 6: Vocational courses and other sources of student support
This chapter covers:
1. Healthcare students in England and Wales (below)
2. Healthcare students in Northern Ireland (here)
3. Initial teacher training in England (here)
4. Initial teacher training in Wales (here)
5. Initial teacher training in Northern Ireland (here)
6. Social work students (here)
7. Dance and Drama Awards (here)
8. Alternative sources of finance (here)
 
Basic facts
– Specific funding is provided for certain vocational courses, sometimes in addition to the standard student support available.
 – The NHS in England and Wales, and the Northern Ireland Executive, provide support for healthcare students, including medicine, dentistry and social work students. However, there is more limited support from the NHS for most new healthcare students in England.
– Incentives are provided for teacher training in England and Wales.
 – Dance and drama students in private colleges may qualify for support.
 – Certain other sources of funding, including charitable support, are available.
1. Healthcare students in England and Wales
Healthcare students who meet certain personal and residency criteria, and who are undertaking an eligible course (see below) in England and Wales are funded by the NHS bursary scheme.
The personal and residency criteria for NHS bursaries are similar to those for other undergraduate study (see here), although support for NHS courses is usually available even if you already hold a degree.
 
Healthcare courses
– Allied health professions: chiropody, dietetics, occupational therapy, orthoptics, physiotherapy, prosthetics and orthotics, radiography and radiotherapy, operating department practice, speech and language therapy
– Professions complementary to dentistry: dental hygiene, dental therapy
– Nursing and midwifery
– Medicine and dentistry (the latter stages of pre-registration training only)
 
The funding that is available depends on when you started your course.
If you started a course in England on or after 1 August 2017, see below.
If you started your course in England or Wales on or after 1 September 2012 and, in England, before 1 August 2017, see here.
If you started your course before 1 September 2012, speak to an adviser or see a previous edition of this Handbook.
Note: medicine and dentistry students in their initial years of training are funded by Student Finance England or Student Finance Wales. When you move onto the NHS bursary scheme, you are funded under the rules that were in place when you started your course.
Employed students (sometimes known as seconded students) do not usually qualify for bursaries, but may qualify for student support payable by the Department for Education or the Welsh government (see Chapters 2 and 3).
Students who started their course in England on or after 1 August 2017
The NHS bursary scheme was abolished for most new healthcare students in England from 1 August 2017. It is still available for those taking medical or dental courses (see below) and some courses in dental hygiene and dental therapy (see below). All other healthcare students who would previously have been eligible for an NHS bursary must now apply for the standard support package from Student Finance England (see Chapter 2) or the equivalent funding body in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. The NHS continues to offer some limited help to healthcare students with children, as well as placement and some limited hardship funding.
The abolition of the bursary means that affected students are charged fees for their courses. Loans for these are available, as for other students (see here and here).
If you started your course before 1 August 2017 in England, or you are studying in Wales, you continue to be funded by the NHS bursary scheme until you complete your course.
Medical and dental students
Medical and dental students studying in England continue to be eligible for NHS bursaries in the later stages of their course – usually from year five on a standard undergraduate course (see here). Those starting in 2020/21 are funded under the 2012 bursary arrangements (see here). As the point at which you are eligible for NHS bursary funding can be several years into your course, you should confirm the details of the NHS funding package nearer the time you are due to be entitled.
Nursing students
If you are studying for a nursing qualification in England through a nursing apprenticeship, you are not charged tuition fees but you cannot apply for the usual student support for your living costs. Instead, you are paid a wage (see here for more details on apprenticeship pay). Note: there are currently only a limited number of apprenticeship places available. You can search for available places at gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship.
A different route to qualification in England is via training to become a ‘nursing associate’. You follow an apprenticeship route (which does not have tuition fees) and are paid a salary, but the programme does not lead to a qualification as a registered nurse unless you undertake further study on completion. For more information, contact Health Careers (healthcareers.nhs.uk). Students on nursing associates courses are not eligible for student support, regardless of the qualification.
Dental therapy and dental hygiene students
A small number of dental therapy and dental hygiene students whose course started in the 2018/19 academic year are eligible for an NHS bursary until the completion of their course. Your dental hygiene or dental therapy course must be based at one of the following schools:
Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry;
Bristol Dental School;
Eastman Dental Hospital;
Greater Manchester School for Dental Care Professionals;
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Students on courses at these schools who started in the 2019/20 academic year or later, or whose course is at any other institution, should apply for the standard undergraduate package (see Chapter 2) and to the Learning Support Fund if eligible (see below).
If you are studying on one of these courses and are eligible for an NHS bursary, you are not eligible for payments from the Learning Support Fund (see below).
Postgraduate diploma and part-time undergraduate students
Students from England studying on postgraduate, pre-registration diploma courses in England previously funded by the NHS bursary scheme should apply for the standard undergraduate package from Student Finance England (see Chapter 2). Part-time undergraduates should apply for the part-time student support package (see here).
Learning Support Fund
Healthcare students who are domiciled in England can apply for additional funding from the NHS Learning Support Fund, provided they meet certain criteria. Students domiciled elsewhere in the UK and studying in England are also eligible for this support, provided they meet the eligibility criteria for student support in the relevant part of the UK. Note: you are normally expected to have applied for any student loan for living costs to which you are entitled to then receive sums under the Learning Support Fund, but if students do not apply for loans for ‘personal reasons’ (eg, religious objections) then applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Training grant
All eligible new and continuing healthcare students in England can receive a non-means tested training grant of £5,000 per year, pro-rated for part-time courses. Payments are made in three instalments over the year, paid mid-term so as to provide consistent funding through the year between student loan payments at the start of each term.
Students starting on certain priority specialist subjects in 2020/21 (including those on dual subject programmes which incorporate the specialism) can receive an additional £1,000, again pro-rated for part-time courses. In 2020/21, the specialisms qualifying are:
mental health nursing; and
learning disability nursing; and
radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic); and
prosthetics and orthotics; and
orthoptics; and
podiatry.
More support is also available to those studying in certain regions of England with shortages of applicants, who may receive a further £1,000 incentive payment. Exact details were unavailable at the time of writing, but check with NHS Student Bursaries or your university.
You apply for the training grant, and any additional elements if appropriate, via NHS Student Bursaries. An application to Student Finance England or equivalents in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland for standard student support will not automatically trigger payment of support from the NHS, and you will need to make a separate application.
Help with travel and accommodation
In recognition that healthcare students undertaking placements have additional costs associated with travel and accommodation, further support is available from the NHS to meet these. The Learning Support Fund can cover the costs of travel over and above your normal travel costs to your institution. Apply via NHS Student Bursaries.
Exceptional Support Fund
The NHS offers additional support of up to £3,000 for healthcare students in ‘extreme’ hardship and who have exhausted other avenues of support (including your university hardship fund if applicable). You must complete an online application at nhsbsa.nhs.uk/learning-support-fund. You are assessed on your household income and expenditure and must provide evidence to support your application. Applications for one-off emergency costs are not considered – you are expected to apply to your institution’s hardship fund first.
Parental support
Students with responsibility for at least one child up to the age of 15 (17 if the child is registered with special educational needs) can apply for an additional non-means-tested grant of £2,000 to meet the costs associated with that child. You do not receive more than £1,000 if you have more than one child. The grant does not affect other funding sources, and is paid in three instalments throughout the year. Note: this funding was previously known as the Child Dependant’s Allowance.
The 2012 bursary scheme
The 2012 bursary scheme is available to all eligible healthcare students in England and Wales, including medicine and dentistry students who started their course on or after 1 September 2012. Note: most healthcare students who start their course on or after 1 August 2017 in England are not eligible (see here).
Students who started their course in Wales on or after 1 September 2017
If you start a healthcare course in Wales on or after 1 September 2017, to receive a bursary you must commit to working in the Welsh healthcare sector in the profession for which you have been trained for at least two years following graduation (or 18 months if your course is only two years in duration).
Note: medical and dental students studying in Wales move onto the Welsh NHS bursary arrangements at the appropriate point in their course and are not required to make this commitment.
If you want to study a course in Wales but are unable to commit to working in the Welsh healthcare sector, you can apply for standard undergraduate support from Student Finance Wales or the equivalent funding body instead (see Chapter 3). However, this means that your institution charges you tuition fees.
If you accept a bursary place and complete your course, but do not complete two years’ service in the Welsh healthcare sector following graduation, you are liable to repay some, or all, of the cost of the course (although most supplementary allowances, such as childcare support, are excluded). How much depends on the length of time remaining in the two-year (or 18-month) commitment. If, for example, you do not work in Wales following a standard three-year course, you are liable to repay £25,500. If you cease to work in the sector with between 18 months’ and two years’ service, you are liable to repay £7,500. No student loans are available to cover this cost.
You can change your mind within 10 weeks of the starting date of the course and opt to take standard undergraduate funding instead. If you leave your course for any reason before graduation, you do not have any obligation to repay. However, if you leave in your final year and complete the course at a later date, you may be liable to repay fees. Check with an advisor in this instance. If for reasons of ill health you cannot complete two years’ service following graduation, the requirement to repay may be waived, but each case is considered individually and this is not guaranteed; in these circumstances, where possible your commitment will be deferred. In other circumstances where you cannot work in Wales following graduation, there is an appeals process, but again no outcome is guaranteed.
You are asked to provide written and electronic confirmation that you accept the commitment when you accept a bursary place at a Welsh institution. For more information on the commitment, including what counts as employment in the Welsh NHS or a related public health role in Wales, see nwssp.nhs.wales/ourservices/student-awards-services.
Tuition fees
Most healthcare students funded by the NHS do not pay tuition fees. Medicine and dentistry students on standard five-year undergraduate courses have their fees paid in the years they are funded by the NHS.
Medicine and dentistry students on four-year graduate-entry courses funded under the 2012 scheme are charged a fee element (see here).
Non-means-tested grant
All eligible students receive a non-means-tested bursary of £1,000. This is paid in monthly instalments over the year. The rate does not increase even if your course lasts longer than 30 weeks in the year.
Means-tested bursary
Depending on your household income, in addition to a non-means-tested bursary you may be eligible for a means-tested bursary. If you receive support, it is paid monthly.
Maximum amount of means-tested bursary 2020/21
Courses lasting 30 weeks in the year
Courses lasting 45 weeks or more in the year
London
£3,191
£5,567
Elsewhere
£2,643
£4,491
Parental home
£2,207
£3,439
Extra weeks allowance
The bursary is paid for a notional academic year of 30 weeks and three days. If your course requires additional attendance, a further allowance is paid.
Extra weeks allowance 2020/21
Weekly amount
London
£108
Elsewhere
£84
Parental home
£56
If your required attendance in an academic year is 45 weeks or more, an allowance for all 52 weeks is paid.
Reduced-rate student loan
If you get a bursary, you may also be eligible for a reduced-rate undergraduate student loan. This is not subject to a means test. You should apply through Student Finance England or Student Finance Wales. Rates differ between England and Wales and, in Wales, between those who started in 2018/19 or later and those who started before that academic year.
 
Reduced-rate student loan 2020/21
England
Full year
Final year
London
£3,451
£2,642
Elsewhere
£2,458
£1,916
Parental home
£1,845
£1,400
Wales (2018 cohort)
London
£5,630
£5,630
Elsewhere
£4,405
£4,405
Parental home
£3,665
£3,665
Wales (pre-2018 cohort)
 
 
London
£5,204
£3,980
Elsewhere
£3,702
£2,885
Parental home
£2,777
£2,111
The loan must be repaid after graduation, with the same repayment conditions as for other undergraduate students who started new courses in the 2012/13 academic year or later (see here).
Dependants’ allowance
If you have adults or children wholly or mainly financially dependent on you, you may be eligible for an extra dependants’ allowance. Eligibility is means tested and depends on the income of your dependant(s).
 
Amount of dependants’ allowance 2020/21
Spouse or civil partner (or other adult dependant, or first child if there is no spouse or any adult dependants)
£2,448
Each additional dependant
£549
Parents’ learning allowance
If you have a dependent child, you can claim an additional £1,204 to support the costs associated with her/him. This is available to all student parents, including those with partners, but is means tested.
Childcare allowance
If you have responsibility for a child under the age of 15 (or 17 if s/he has special educational needs) and you use registered or approved childcare (see here), you can apply for a means-tested childcare allowance. You cannot receive this if you receive the childcare element in universal credit (see here) or working tax credit (see here).
The grant can cover up to 85 per cent of your actual costs of childcare, with a maximum payment of £128.78 a week for one child or £191.45 a week for two or more children. In Wales, the maximum payment for two or more children is £209.95 a week.
Practice placement expenses
The cost of travel between your home and a practice placement site that is not part of the college, and additional residential costs where appropriate, may be reimbursed to you. Only the amount that exceeds the cost of travel between your term-time residence and the normal place of study is reimbursed.
Disabled students’ allowance
If you have a disability, you can claim a disabled students’ allowance from the NHS on the same basis as other undergraduate students in England or Wales, except that the maximum rates of support may differ.
European Union nationals
If you are a national of a European Union (EU) member state, you may be eligible for NHS bursary support. In England, EU students who started their courses after 1 August 2017 are not eligible for bursaries and should apply to the Student Loans Company for support. Note: the funding rules for EU students in 2020/21 remain unaffected by the UK’s leaving the EU but this is likely to change for 2021/22. Check the NHS Business Services Authority website or NHS Wales website for more information about future years.
If you or your parent(s) are non-UK EU nationals who satisfy the three-year (in Wales) or five-year (in England) residence criteria in the ’UK and islands’ (see here), you are treated as if you are a UK student and are eligible for support for both maintenance and fees. You are not required to have settled status. If your residence in the UK was mainly for the purpose of full-time higher education, you may still be eligible for an NHS bursary (maintenance grant and tuition fees) if you can show that you were ordinarily resident in a European Economic Area country or Switzerland immediately prior to your period of ordinary residence in the UK.
EU students who are not ordinarily resident in the UK may be able to get an ’EU fees only’ award, under which they have the cost of their tuition fees met, but are not eligible for a student loan, hardship funds or the maintenance element of the NHS bursary.
You may also qualify for support as a migrant worker. The rules are complex, so get advice from the advice centre in your university or students’ union if you think this may apply to you.
Part-time students
Part-time students on NHS-funded degree courses are eligible for support, which is paid pro rata, depending on the length of the part-time course. In England, if you are a part-time student who started your course after 1 August 2018, you should apply to the Student Loans Company for the part-time support package (see here).
The full rate is paid if you have additional costs resulting from a disability and for reimbursing the costs of attending a clinical placement.
Students who are pregnant or who have recently given birth
If you are an NHS-funded student, have enrolled on your course and require maternity leave, you can be paid your bursary for a period of up to 45 weeks (known as a ’maternity allowance’). Seconded students and EU nationals on fees-only awards cannot receive this.
For more information, see nhsbsa.nhs.uk/students or contact NHS Wales Student Awards Services at nwssp.nhs.wales/ourservices/student-awards-services.
2. Healthcare students in Northern Ireland
If you are planning to study an allied health professions degree course in Northern Ireland, you can apply for funding from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland (DoH). Under these arrangements, you do not pay tuition fees and can apply for an income-assessed bursary to cover your living costs and a reduced-rate, non-income-assessed student loan. Medical and dental students in their final(s) year of study are also funded through this system. Students from European Union (EU) countries who are studying in Northern Ireland are also exempt from paying tuition fees, but cannot get a bursary or loan to cover their living costs. Note: the funding rules for EU students in 2020/21 remain unaffected by the UK’s decision to leave the EU but this is likely to change in 2021/22. Check the DoH website for regularly more information about future years.
The amount of bursary you receive depends on your household income. Additional allowances may be available if you have dependants or a disability. Note: the bursaries are under review and changes may be made in future years.
Bursary rates 2020/21
 
Full year
Bursary
Loan
Living away from parental home
£2,355
£2,370
Living in parental home
£1,920
£1,780
Final year
Living away from parental home
£2,355
£1,850
Living in parental home
£1,920
£1,350
 
 
Regional Education Authority offices (under the branding of Student Finance NI) administer the bursary arrangements on behalf of the DoH . If you are a Northern Irish student, you should, therefore, apply to your local Student Finance NI regional office. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, apply to Student Finance NI at the address for the North Eastern Region Education Authority office. For more information, see nidirect.gov.uk/articles/health-professional-courses.
Nursing and midwifery students
Full-time pre-registration nursing and direct-entry midwifery students taking up a commissioned DoH place on a course leading to entry on the Nursing and Midwifery Council register can receive a bursary while undertaking the course. Students receiving a bursary do not pay tuition fees, but are not eligible for support from Student Finance NI. They can apply for discretionary help from their institution’s support funds. Contact your students’ union or advice centre for more details. You apply for a bursary via the Bursary Administration Unit, part of the Business Services Organisation at the DoH (see Appendix 2).
Both schemes comprise a non-means-tested basic rate, additional means-tested allowances, and travel expenses for costs incurred while on clinical placements. Disabled students’ allowances are also payable, where appropriate, at the same rate as for other higher education students (see here). The rates are set annually.
 
Bursary rates 2020/21
 
Basic award
£5,165
Partner or other adult dependant (or first child if no other dependant)
£2,389
Each subsequent child
£567
Parents’ learning allowance (you must receive a dependants’ addition to qualify for this)
£1,125
Contribution to childcare
Up to £1,250
 
3. Initial teacher training in England
There are three main routes for initial teacher training in England that lead to qualified teacher status, each with different funding arrangements.
Bachelor of Education (BEd): an undergraduate degree, usually for four years’ full-time study or equivalent, with qualified teacher status gained after a year’s successful teaching, although there are now some two-year and three-year undergraduate courses that lead to qualified teacher status.
PGCE or PGDE: a postgraduate qualification, delivered either by a higher education institution or through a ’school-centred initial teacher training’ provider, including the School Direct (non-salaried) programme, usually for one year (or the part-time equivalent), with qualified teacher status gained after a year’s successful teaching.
Employment-based initial teacher training: this can be undertaken through the School Direct (salaried) programme.
Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts/Science with qualified teacher status
The main financial assistance available if you are studying for a BEd, BA or BSc qualification is the basic undergraduate student support package outlined in Chapter 2. This includes all supplementary grants and access to any hardship funds.
There are no further incentives for BEd, BA or BSc with qualified teacher status study in 2020/21.
Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma in Education
If you are on a full- or part-time PGCE/PGDE course at a higher education institution or through a ’school-centred initial teacher training’ provider, including the School Direct (non-salaried) programme, and meet the personal and residential eligibility criteria for undergraduate student support (see here), you are entitled to the same support package as undergraduate students (see Chapter 2). You may also be able to apply for assistance from your university’s or college’s hardship fund. There are also incentive packages for which you may be eligible (see below).
Tuition fees
PGCE/PGDE students are liable for variable fees of up to £9,250 in 2020/21. Eligible students can take out a non-means-tested loan to cover the cost of these.1Reg 4 and Sch 2 E(SS) Regs See here for more information.
 
1     Reg 4 and Sch 2 E(SS) Regs »
Teacher training bursary
The teacher training bursary aims to encourage ’high-quality’ entrants to the teaching profession in England, as determined by the degree classification they receive at undergraduate level, or if they hold a postgraduate qualification. Those with the highest undergraduate classifications or who hold master’s or doctorate-level qualifications receive the highest bursary. The exact rates for different subject and classification combinations vary from year to year, depending on the Department for Education’s priorities.
If you are on a one-year course, you are paid in monthly instalments between October and June. If your course is part time, you are paid in instalments in accordance with the length of your training.
If you are a full-time trainee, the bursary is not taxable and you do not have to pay national insurance contributions. If you are a part-time trainee, the bursary may be taxable, depending on your total income for the year. In both cases, it may be included in any calculations for means tested benefits.
Students from the European Union (EU) are also eligible for these incentives, plus a loan for tuition fees (although not for the standard maintenance support from Student Finance England). Note: there is no change to funding in 2020/21 arising as a result of the UK’s leaving the EU, but arrangements for future years are likely to change.
Some subjects attract scholarships from ’subject association groups’, including maths, chemistry, computer science and physics. Where relevant, you should apply for these first. If you receive such a scholarship, you are not eligible for the standard bursary.
Full details of all scholarship programmes and bursary incentives including current rates are available on the Department for Education website at getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/funding-my-teacher-training/bursaries-and-scholarships-for-teacher-training.
Employment-based initial teacher training
School Direct and Teach First
The School Direct and Teach First teacher training programmes allow you to train as a teacher in academies or local authority-maintained schools while earning a salary. Trainees on the schemes do not qualify for student support or bursaries, but are paid a salary. The salary rate depends on the type of school and, potentially, the subject you are teaching. If you are studying on a School Direct non-salaried scheme, you are funded in the same way as those on PGCE or PGDE courses.
More details are available at getintoteaching.education.gov.uk.
Reimbursement of loan repayments
In 2020/21 a pilot scheme is available which reimburses the student loan repayments of newly qualified teachers in state-funded schools in participating local authorities in England. To qualify, you must:
be employed in a maintained secondary school, maintained special school, secondary academy or secondary free school in one of 25 participating local authorities;
spend at least 50 per cent of your time teaching a priority subject: languages, physics, chemistry, biology or computer science;
have received qualified teacher status in 2013/14 or later. Reimbursement is available for up to 11 years following the year you received qualified teacher status so, for those who received this in 2013/14, the reimbursement will end by 2024/25 at the latest.
Although the reimbursement is subject to income tax and national insurance, this is covered by the Department for Education. For more information, including a list of participating local authorities, see gov.uk/guidance/teachers-student-loan-reimbursement-guidance-for-teachers-and-schools.
A similar pilot scheme is available for newly qualified teachers who took teaching posts in the academic years 2002/03, 2003/04 and 2004/05. If you are eligible and you work in a shortage subject, your student loan is repaid for you. The scheme only applies if you spend at least half of your teaching time teaching the shortage subjects. To be eligible you must:
be employed in England or Wales in a teaching post at a maintained school, a non-maintained special school, a city technology college, a city college for the technology of arts or a city academy;
have begun employment between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2005;
be employed to teach one or more of the shortage subjects for at least half of your teaching time within a normal school week.
Contact the Student Loans Company for more information (see Appendix 2). This scheme is not available to teachers who started employment after 30 June 2005.
4. Initial teacher training in Wales
In Wales, there are three main routes for initial teacher training that lead to qualified teacher status.
Bachelor of Education (BEd): an undergraduate degree, usually for four years’ full-time study or equivalent, with qualified teacher status gained after a year’s successful teaching.
PGCE: a postgraduate qualification, usually for one year (or the part-time equivalent), with qualified teacher status gained after a year’s successful teaching.
School-centred initial teacher training, through a graduate teacher programme.
Bachelor of Education
The main financial assistance available if you are studying a BEd qualification is the basic undergraduate student support package for Welsh students, outlined in Chapter 3. This includes all supplementary grants and access to the hardship funds. There are no further incentives for undergraduate study.
Postgraduate Certificate in Education
If you are on a full- or part-time PGCE course and meet the personal and residential eligibility criteria for undergraduate student support (see here), you are entitled to the same support package as new undergraduate students in the relevant cohort (see here), including support for fees. You can apply for assistance from the local hardship funds. There are also incentive packages for which you may be eligible (see below).
Teacher training grant
If you undertake a full or part-time PGCE initial teacher training course in Wales, including programmes via the Open University, you may be eligible for a teacher training grant if you are studying a priority subject. How much you receive depends on your undergraduate degree classification, with bursaries of up to £20,000 available in 2020/21. The bursary rates for different subject and degree combinations vary each year, depending on the Welsh government’s priorities. Note: students with lower classifications, particularly third-class degrees, may not be entitled to a bursary at all. For the latest rates, see discoverteaching.wales/teacher-training-incentives.
Students from the European Union (EU) are also eligible for these incentives. There are no changes in 2020/21 as a result of the UK’s leaving the EU, but arrangements in future years are likely to change.
The incentives are paid by the Welsh government to the provider, which then pays the relevant amount to eligible students on a monthly basis once they have enrolled and started their training.
Welsh Medium Improvement Scheme
To help those students who need additional assistance to raise their competence and confidence, a £2,000 grant is available to undergraduate or postgraduate students undertaking secondary initial teacher training in Wales using the Welsh language.1E(WMTTIS) Regs Once qualified, you are expected to take up a secondary school teaching post using the Welsh language. Your institution assesses your eligibility and advises you on the application process. For more details, see discoverteaching.wales/teacher-training-incentives.
 
1     E(WMTTIS) Regs »
Iaith Athrawon Yfory Incentive Scheme
An additional scheme to support teaching in Welsh was established in 2018/19. Eligible recipients can receive £5,000 in two instalments: £2,500 on receiving qualified teacher status and a further £2,500 on completion of an induction in either a Welsh-medium or bilingual school, or of teaching Welsh in any secondary setting. Apply to the Welsh government. For more details, see discoverteaching.wales/teacher-training-incentives.
Salaried PGCE
If you are a graduate, the Salaried PGCE programme allows you to train as a teacher in maintained schools while still earning a living.
You study for your PGCE part-time via the Open University while working in a school, receiving a salary from the school in which you are based. The level of salary to be paid by the school is agreed by the governing body and may be at a rate based on the scales for either qualified or unqualified teachers, but must be no lower than the minimum salary grade for unqualified teachers. If you are on this scheme, you are not eligible for the training bursary, outlined above. The school receives a grant to support the cost of your training, as well as a contribution to your salary. You cannot apply for student support or the incentive bursaries above via this route.
For more details of this scheme see open.ac.uk/courses/choose/wales/pgce
Repayment of teachers’ loans
Some Welsh teacher training students qualified for a pilot repayment of teachers’ loans scheme, available in England and Wales in the early 2000s. This has closed to new applicants, but existing teachers on this scheme can still benefit (see here).
5. Initial teacher training in Northern Ireland
Students accepted on a course of initial teacher training in Northern Ireland in the 2020/21 academic year, including PGCE courses, receive the same funding as undergraduate students (see herehere). This means that PGCE students are liable for tuition fees, but can take out a loan to cover these.
You can apply for funding through Student Finance NI.
The additional financial incentives available for undergraduate and PGCE study in England and Wales are not available in Northern Ireland, but Northern Irish students studying in England or Wales can claim these.
6. Social work students
England
Undergraduate support
 
Bursaries
Students studying an undergraduate diploma or degree in social work in England may be eligible for a non-means-tested bursary from the Department of Health and Social Care. The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) administers these bursaries on its behalf.
If you are a full-time undergraduate studying at an institution in England, you may be eligible to receive this bursary in addition to the standard student support package (see Chapter 2), which includes a tuition fee loan, as the bursary is not intended to cover tuition fees for undergraduates.
New undergraduate students do not receive a social work bursary in their first year of study. Once students move into their second and third years of study, bursaries are payable. These are limited in number and, therefore, not all students receive one. Higher education institutions are expected to allocate bursaries in a way that produces ’high-quality’ graduates, so while the exact allocation criteria varies, factors such as assessments and previous experience before the course are expected to be used in making decisions. You should ask what criteria your institution uses to allocate bursaries, ideally before you start your course.
If you are allocated a bursary, the amount you receive depends on where you study. You can get £4,862.50 if you are studying at an institution outside London, or £5,262.50 if you are studying at a university or college in London or at the University of London. Essentially, if Student Finance England deems you eligible for the London rate of loan, you are eligible for the London rate of bursary. The bursary paid includes a contribution of £862.50 to cover the costs of travel to placements.
The bursary is paid for 52 weeks and is taken into account as income for benefit purposes, except for the element paid for travelling expenses, which is disregarded.1UC Reg 70 UC Regs
IS Reg 62(2)(h) IS Regs
HB Reg 59(2)(g) HB Regs
See also para 30122 DMG
However, this is not usually specifically identified and can be taken into account by mistake. Check your calculation if this might apply to you.
 
Part-time students
If you are a part-time undergraduate student, you can receive the above bursary pro rata over the length of your course. As with full-time undergraduates, new part-time undergraduates do not receive a bursary in the first year of the course, and numbers are capped thereafter. All students are also eligible for help with placement costs. You are not entitled to any other forms of support.
 
Placement expenses
If you do not receive a bursary but incur placement expenses, you can claim a contribution towards your placement costs of £862.50 (pro rata if you are a part-time student) from the NHSBSA.
 
1     UC Reg 70 UC Regs
IS Reg 62(2)(h) IS Regs
HB Reg 59(2)(g) HB Regs
See also para 30122 DMG »
Postgraduate support
 
Bursaries
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.
 
Tuition fees
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.
 
Basic grant
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 students
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.
 
Placement expenses
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.
How to apply
If you are an undergraduate, you should first apply to Student Finance England for student support. When it has assessed your application and you have received notification of this (sometimes known as an ’award notification’), contact the NHSBSA for a bursary application form. Postgraduates should apply directly to the NHSBSA. There is a deadline for applications: for 2020/21 applications, this is 1 November 2020 for courses starting in autumn 2020 and 14 February 2021 for courses starting in January 2021.
Application forms are available at nhsbsa.nhs.uk/social-work-students.
Wales
Students in Wales studying for a qualification in social work may qualify for financial help from Social Care Wales. The number of bursaries is restricted: there are 224 available in Wales in 2020/21. Higher education institutions nominate which students should receive support, subject to their meeting the standard eligibility criteria in relation to residency and their personal circumstances.
Undergraduate support
If you are studying for an undergraduate degree or diploma in social work, first apply for student support through your local authority, as for other undergraduate students (see Chapter 3).
If you are nominated for a bursary and you meet the eligibility criteria, you receive a non-means-tested bursary to help cover your living costs of £2,500 a year in 2020/21. If you are studying part time, the bursary is calculated on a pro rata basis.
In addition, a practice learning opportunity allowance is paid to help cover the costs of attending placements. This is paid at £7.50 per day of placement. If your travel costs to placements are more than the initial payment, you can apply to Social Care Wales for reimbursement of these extra costs, subject to a daily maximum. Keep all receipts, as you may be asked to submit these as proof of expenditure.
To apply, contact Social Care Wales at socialcare.wales/careers/student-funding-and-grants.
Postgraduate support
If you are on a postgraduate diploma or master’s course in Wales, you may get a non-means-tested graduate bursary of £6,640 in 2020/21, intended as a contribution towards tuition fees. You can apply for the adult dependants’ grant, the parents’ learning allowance and the childcare grant at the same time as the additional graduate bursary, although these are means tested and paid at lower rates than for undergraduates. You can also get a practice learning opportunity allowance, as for undergraduates (see above).
If you have a disability, you may be eligible for extra help through the postgraduate disabled students’ allowance (see here).
Note: if you receive a bursary from Social Care Wales, you are ineligible to apply for loans under the Postgraduate Master’s Finance scheme from Student Finance Wales (or the equivalent scheme from Student Finance England).
Northern Ireland
If you are studying for a degree in social work in Northern Ireland, you can apply for an additional incentive grant from the Department of Health. Non-means-tested grants of £4,000, plus a further £500 towards placement expenses, are available for each year of the course.
You must pay tuition fees, but the funding is in addition to any money to which you are entitled through Student Finance NI as part of the main undergraduate support system, including loans for fees.
Students in receipt of the incentive grant can apply to the discretionary support funds for extra help (see here).
Note: the Northern Ireland Executive intends to review the bursary for future years, and it is possible that changes will be introduced from 2021/22.
7. Dance and Drama Awards
The Department for Education has a scholarship programme to ensure that talented dance and drama students can attend courses at some of the leading dance and drama institutions in England, in cases where fees and living costs would otherwise be prohibitively expensive. Dance and Drama Awards fund Trinity College London level five and six diploma courses in dance, drama and musical theatre. Funding is available through selected, approved specialist schools for between one and three years of study. You must be aged between 16 and 23 for dance courses, or 18 and 23 for drama-related courses. There are a limited number of awards made each year and they are generally issued to those who show exceptional talent in an audition.
The residency rules for other higher education support apply (see here). Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland can apply for full support; European Union (EU) students can apply for support with fees only (at the time of writing, it is not known how the end of the EU withdrawal transition period will affect EU student entitlement, though it is likely this will end).
You cannot receive any support if your household income is more than £90,000 a year.
If you are a new student in 2020/21, you receive an award and your household income is below £33,000 (£30,000 if you live with your parents while studying), your fees are paid in full. If your household income is between £33,000 (£30,000 if you live with your parents while studying) and £90,000, you can receive a contribution towards your fees on a sliding scale, with a higher contribution expected the higher your family’s income.
The award may also provide support for your living costs, depending on your circumstances. The maximum available is £5,185 if you live in London, and £4,550 if you live elsewhere. If you live at home with your parents, the maximum is £1,417. If your household income is more than £30,000, you are not eligible for maintenance support.
Dance and Drama Award recipients cannot access student loans and grants through Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales or Student Finance NI.
Other allowances may be available if you have extra costs associated with a disability or childcare expenses.
More information on the awards is available through the participating dance and drama schools or from dadainfo.org.uk (where a list of the participating schools can also be found).
8. Alternative sources of finance
Professional and career development loans
This scheme closed on 25 January 2019, although loans obtained before this date are not affected. See the 2018/19 edition of this Handbook for details. Other commercial loans for study may be offered by banks and other lenders (referred to in this Handbook as professional studies loans). Speak to an adviser in your educational institution or students’ union about how these work and whether they are suitable for you.
Armed forces bereavement scholarship scheme
The armed forces bereavement scholarship scheme provides additional support for children of servicemen/women killed on active duty since 1990. The scheme offers support of up to £9,250 in England (£9,000 in Wales and Northern Ireland) a year to help pay for fees if you are liable and a maintenance grant of £4,950 for the length of the course (2018/19 rates – the most recent available).
To qualify, your parent must have died while in service with the UK armed forces and her/his death must be attributable to that service.
Parent
A person counts as your ‘parent’ if s/he was your biological or adoptive parent, or you were the subject of a special guardianship order, or if s/he was your step-parent and had financial responsibility for you. A foster parent does not count.
If your parent dies while you are in higher education, support can be backdated to the start of the current term, or it starts from the next term if s/he dies during a vacation.
Support is not means tested. You must study at an institution in the UK, although you do not have to be resident in the UK.
If you are on a further education course, you can also receive help from the scheme (see here).
You can download an application form and get further information at gov.uk/support-military-bereaved-children.
Charities
It is unlikely that a course lasting more than one year could be financed entirely by trust fund help. Educational charities and trusts can, however, provide supplementary help to students who may be without funding for part of their course or who, for various reasons, need help over and above that provided by public funds.
Educational charities and trusts often have specific, even unusual, terms of reference. For example, thay may be restricted to helping only students:
on certain courses of study; or
above or below a certain age (often 21 or 25); or
from particular parts of Britain or the world; or
in defined occupations, professions or industries, or who have a parent working in one of these.
A student does not usually receive more than a few hundred pounds from any one charity, although higher amounts are not unknown. Charities usually make single, rather than ongoing, payments. Payments tend to be:
for particular items – eg, tools or equipment; or
for a specific purpose – eg, childcare; or
those which the charity or trust believes might make the difference between completion and non-completion of the course.
Charities are more sympathetic to students whose need for assistance is as a result of sickness or unforeseen circumstances than to students who have mismanaged their money or who have started a course knowing they had insufficient funds.
Many charities only give assistance to first-time students. Assistance is more difficult to find if you are a postgraduate or taking a second undergraduate course. Applications often take some time to process, so it is wise to apply for support well in advance of the course start date.
Further information
There are a number of publications that contain details of charities and trusts. See Appendix 1 for details.
Students in financial need should also consult their local authority, students’ union, careers service, local Citizens Advice office, town hall and local religious leaders as they may know of other trusts. In addition to awarding scholarships and prizes in specific subjects, colleges may have funds available for students in financial difficulties and unable to apply to the discretionary hardship/support funds, so it may be useful to consult your institution’s student services.

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