Bursaries and NHS funding

Many students do not know what a bursary is never mind that they are even eligible for this extra non-repayable money! Constant changes in Healthcare and other bursaries can lead to frustration from both parents and students alike.

So here is some information you need to know about bursaries when talking to your students about applying to Student Finance for 2021 entry.

Leaving local authority care

If a student has been in local authority care, they can apply for:

  • a one-off bursary of £2,000 from their local authority
  • a bursary from their university or college


NHS Bursaries & Learning Support Fund

The NHS have some of the most generous bursary schemes which are available for a range of courses.

NHS Bursaries– mainly available to Dentistry and Medicine courses -students could get up to £4000 in support alongside potentially a year of tuition fees being paid (depending on type of course/start date)


NHS Learning Support fund –  All eligible full-time students can get £5,000 per academic year.

Courses that qualify for the NHS Learning Support Fund:

  • Dental therapy/dental hygiene*
  • Dietetics
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing (includes adult, child, mental health, learning disability and joint nursing/social work)
  • Occupational therapy
  • Operating department practitioner*
  • Orthoptics
  • Orthotics and prosthetics
  • Paramedics**
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry/chiropody
  • Radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic)
  • Speech and language therapy.

Level 5 and 6 courses.  ** Bachelor’s and master’s students are eligible, DipHE and FD students are not.

Be careful – NHS funding is subject to change so do double check the student’s year of entry and do not make a decision based purely on this financial support alone.


Access to Exeter bursary (ATE)


The University of Exeter provides additional funding to certain undergraduate part-time and full-time Home or European Union students in the form of the Access to Exeter Bursary.

We will automatically assess entitlement for an award based on a student’s household income information provided by the relevant UK Funding Body. However, we can only do this if they, and their parent(s), do not opt out of consenting to share their financial details when they complete the application for Student Finance.

Household income of £16,000 and below

If they have started, or are due to start, their studies after September 2015 and have a household income* £16,000 or below, then they are eligible for the Access to Exeter (ATE) Bursary.

For the first year of studies they are eligible to receive a £2,100 Bursary and from the second year onwards, and for the duration of undergraduate studies, a £1,550 Bursary, providing they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

Payment of the ATE Bursary

Payments are made in 3 installments and will be made direct to a nominated bank account, with each installment weighted according to the number of weeks in each term. The table below shows the dates of each installment and how the payments will be weighted according to the total bursary:

Payment Date £2,100

(Year 1)


(Year 2 onwards)

30th October 2020 £840 £620
22nd January 2021 £840 £620
30th April 2021 £420 £310

Household income between £16,001-£25,000

If they have started, or are due to start, their studies after September 2015 and have a household income* of between £16,001-£25,000, they are eligible for an Access to Exeter (ATE) Bursary award of £1,050 for all years of study.

* for further details on how household income is assessed, please visit the Direct Gov website.

Finally, times are tough

Please make students aware that universities do understand that the challenging circumstances of the pandemic can quickly alter the situation and income support a student receives which is out of their control. This is why hardship and retention funds now exist for most universities. At Exeter, we have a means tested ‘Success for all’ fund.

The fund aims to provide financial help to meet particular costs that are not already being met from statutory (or other) sources of funding such as:

  • Meeting special course and living costs, other than tuition fee costs, which are not already met from other sources
  • Providing emergency payments for unexpected one-off costs e.g. flight home, repairs, and essential maintenance
  • Providing extra support if they are considering leaving higher education because of financial problems
  • Providing access to essential IT to enable them to meet the requirements of their course
  • Contributing to the cost of diagnostic assessments or specialist equipment
  • Additional support for Care Leavers with accommodation and other costs including bridging support after graduating
  • Enabling them to participate in graduation
  • Alleviating hardship during the summer vacation
  • Contributing to the cost of travel or insurance for study abroad


If you would like more information or support on bursaries or finance then please do contact us at outreach@exeter.ac.uk











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