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By The Next Step

How to manage your finances in your final year

4 min
Young male student

For the first four years of your studies, your maintenance loans and tuition fees may have been supplied by Student Finance England (SFE). However, your final year tuition fees will be a little different.

In your final year, your tuition fees will be paid by the NHS Student Bursary Scheme, and you will be eligible to apply for a means-tested NHS bursary to cover maintenance costs.

In your final year, you can’t rely on loans alone. They may not stretch far and you’ll also need to fund equipment, books and travel costs – which can be very expensive.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there may be upfront fees that your NHS bursary won’t cover - however, this doesn’t apply to everyone. It's advisable to get your application in as soon as possible to find out what you’re entitled to and get your finances in check.

If you’re doing an elective in your final year, then advanced planning will be needed to cover the costs

How do I apply for the NHS bursary?

To apply for the NHS Bursary Scheme, you’ll need to complete an application form on the Bursary Online Support System (BOSS). The form will take around 30-45 minutes to complete, and it doesn’t need to be completed in one session.

After your application has been submitted, you’ll receive an email asking for any required supporting evidence to be sent via post. You’ll need to complete the application process and send all your evidence by the deadline.

Once your evidence has been received, your application will be completed within 25 working days.

If you miss your application deadline, don’t worry - your application will be assessed within 35 working days. This could result in delayed payments though, so the sooner you send everything, the better.

It is essential that you report any change of circumstances that might affect your application to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) within one month to ensure that you receive the correct bursary amount.

How can I check my eligibility? 

The NHS Bursary Scheme will only provide bursaries to students who are residents in England on the first day of the first academic year of their course.

If you were ordinarily a resident in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or the Islands and moved to England, you would need to apply to your own national funding authority for support.

EU students who do not qualify for a full bursary (provided that they have been a resident in the EEA for at least three years prior to the start of their course) would still be entitled to have their tuition fee contribution met by a UK funding authority.

It’s also useful to remember that repeat years at university do not count towards the qualifying year for the NHS bursary, unless you are already attending a later year of your course which is eligible. In this case you may still receive a bursary for a maximum of one repeat twelve-month period.

How is it paid?

1. To you

The bursary amount that you will receive to cover maintenance costs will depend on a means-tested basis. This will consider factors such as where you live and study.

A key consideration would be your location, as living in London and Edinburgh can be very expensive. Areas such as Liverpool and Manchester will result in much cheaper living costs.

Good to know…

  • The maximum rates for students attending university in London and living in their own home will be a means-tested bursary of up to £3,191 per year
  • Students who attend university outside of London’s maximum rates will receive a means-tested bursary of up to £2,643 per year
  • Any student living in their parents' home in all areas will receive a means-tested bursary of up to £2,207 per year

As part of the NHS bursary award, students will also receive a £1000 non-means-tested grant per year.

The first payment will go into your bank account within 10 working days, after your university has notified the NHSBA. After this, the NHS bursary will be paid into your account in 12 equal monthly instalments, on the third Friday of each month.


2. To your university 

The maximum amount payable from the NHS Bursary Scheme towards the cost of your tuition fees for undergraduate courses lasting five or six years is £9,250. If your tuition fees cost more than £9,250, then you may have to pay the balance yourself - although you may be able to apply for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England.

Is there extra financial help available?

NHS bursary students can claim reimbursements towards travel and accommodation costs whilst attending practice placement. 

Repayment of Practice Placement Expenses (PPE) should be received within 30 working days following receipt of a validated claim from a university. Since travel costs do creep up on you, it would be wise to lift share if you can to keep costs down.

You may also be able to apply for additional help on a subject to means-testing basis.

This applies if you have…

  • Children
  • Adult dependants
  • A disability
  • A long-term health-condition
  • Specific learning difficulties
  • A practice placement
  • Genuine financial hardship
  • A course that runs for more than 30 weeks and three days in the academic year