NHS Bursaries and Student Loans 2009-2010 – Leeds Medical School students only
You may recently have received an e-mail informing you that the online student loans application process is open for 2009/10.
One of the questions in the student loan application asks if you will be applying for an NHS Bursary. There are two types of NHS Bursary available to medical students: ‘Fees only’ and ‘Full’. The Fees Only NHS Bursary will pay for your tuition fees in your 5th year and 6th year of study (i.e. if you intercalated or did a foundation year) – and you don’t have to pay it back. It is therefore recommended that all eligible students apply at least for a Fees Only loan. The Full NHS Bursary is income assessed and provides living cost support in the form of a monthly grant and help with travel expenses. Whether you get this or not will depend on your financial circumstances.
You can apply for an NHS Bursary if you;
Are going into the 5th year or 6th year of study (i.e. if you intercalated or did a foundation year)
Normally live in England (if you normally live elsewhere press <Ctrl> & click - )
Are studying in the UK
If this is the first year you are to be eligible for a bursary (i.e. you did not get one last year), the University should e-mail you on the 1st May telling you where to get the application forms, which form to select, fee implications etc. If you are going into your 5th year of study and are eligible for a bursary but do not hear from the university by the 1st May, you may wish to contact Mrs Alison Jackson (0113 3432724, ). You should not apply for a bursary until you have received a letter from the NHS containing your Student Reference Number, which must be put on the application form.
Whether or not you apply for an NHS Bursary, you will only be eligible for the non-income assessed student loan1. This may be only 50% of what you got in previous years depending on how much you were getting. Overall, you ought to get roughly the same amount of money (but see footnote 1): the point of it is that you get less loan and more grant so you have less to pay back once you qualify. To get an idea of how this will affect your finances, check this (out of date) summary (press <Ctrl> & click – ). Whether you apply for the fees only bursary or the full one, you’re still entitled to the minimum (non-income assessed) student loan (from the Student Loans Company).
To summarise: If you come from a higher income family, and are eligible for a bursary, the NHS will pay your fees. If you come from a lower income family, the NHS will pay your fees and may also provide you with a bursary to help with expenses. Either way, you’ll only get the minimum student loan. The living expenses bursary is means tested. Remember that you will be doing some unpaid shadowing before you start work, so you may also have to consider a graduate loan.
Student Loan Application
Back to the student loan application. There are (or were) two questions on the web-based version on the application that had bits missing or confusing advice attached. The two questions were;
Q1. Have you applied, or will you be applying, for any bursary or award from the National Health Service (NHS) or the Department of Health (DoH)?
Q2. Is it means tested?
If you want to get your fees paid for in your 5th and 6th year of study (you can’t get a student loan for them!) you should answer “Yes” to the first question. If you want to be considered for a means-assessed living expenses bursary, you should answer “Yes” to the second question, but even if you don’t you will still only get a 50% student loan.
Disclaimer: This is not legal/financial advice and we take no responsibility for any loss you may encounter by following this advice. If you are unsure about anything, do your own research. Independent advice is available from the Students’ Union advisor: Vicki Kirby, LUU, Student Advice Centre, PO BOX 157, Leeds, LS1 1UH, 0113 3801293.
Footnote 1. You will only receive a 50% student loan whether you opt for the “Full” or “Fees only” bursary. Student Finance England state that eligible students “must apply for the NHS bursary”, so it sounds like you could not opt out of both even if you wanted to. No matter what you do, you will be eligible for a student loan to pay for your fees in your 5th and 6th year of study. Also, no matter what you do, if you come from a higher income family, you may find that you actually have less money to live on in your final year.