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Author: Paula Holt Former Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care

This post was originally published by the Derby University Blog on 3 February 2017.

We have re-issued the article that has already been published by the Derby University Blog. We would like to express gratitude for the kind offer of the editorial board of the Derby University Blog.

There has been a great deal of controversy over the Government’s announcement to scrap the bursary which paid university fees and gave a monthly grant to student nurses and health professionals while they learned.

The Government has decided that from August 1, 2017, the bursary will no longer exist. Instead, students will have access to tuition fee loans and grants like other undergraduates.

While the announcement has been deemed irresponsible by some unions and charities, the Government has pledged the changes will create more than 10,000 student nurse places. This will allow a greater number of people access to pre-registration nursing programs which, in turn, will help to secure the health care workforce.

This March is the last time you can study for an Adult Nursing degree at the University of Derby with an NHS bursary. The change in funding also affects degrees in Mental Health, Diagnostic Radiography, and Occupational Therapy.

So, what does that mean for those who are applying to start in September?

Lots of people worry about whether university is affordable. And the answer is: yes.

Graduates don’t have to pay money upfront. The tuition and living costs loans work like a tax on earnings above a certain amount, not like a commercial or payday loan. With all nursing graduates from Derby securing a job, the investment is certainly worth it.

Paying back the loan

Under the current rules, graduates only start paying back the loans when they earn above £21,000. That means if they started working on a Band 5 salary in the NHS of £21,700, they would repay £5.25 per month. This is a minimal amount in comparison to the value of obtaining a degree which offers high-quality teaching and a career for life.

The loans are paid automatically straight from the pay packet, meaning no hassle for the newly qualified professionals.

Students also don’t have to get involved in the student loan process. When they make an application to the student Loans Company, the tuition fees are transferred automatically.

The new changes have been a stark change to the way universities and the NHS have previously worked. What needs to be considered is that students should not be disadvantaged. In fact, under the student support system, some grants are more generous than in the past.

Grants and means-tested loans

Students are eligible for a range of means-tested loans. This includes a specific loan designed to support students on courses that have a longer than average student year. There are also special allowances for students, for example, for childcare, adult dependents and parents’ learning. These are all grants, not loans, so they don’t need to be repaid.

Career prospects for nurses and health students

Taking up a student loan should not be a barrier for students wanting to work in health care professions. These are fantastic, satisfying and fulfilling careers that offer secure employment in a wide variety of health and care settings.

The new Government changes open up the doors for more students to access the career they have always wanted, lifting the restrictions and previous caps on numbers the bursary system imposed.

For further information contact the Corporate Communications team at or call 01332 593953.


Paula Holt Former Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care

As former Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC) Dean of the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care, Paula led and managed a large group of staff across two schools (The School of Nursing and Professional Practice and School of Allied Health and Social Care), to develop and deliver a range of high-quality health and care programmes.


This post was originally published by. the Derby University Blog on 3 February 2017.


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