We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site


DescriptionGuide to nursing and midwifery student bursaries for pre-reg nursing ans midwifery education
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMay 31, 2005


    ISBN 0 7559 2547 5

    This document is also available in pdf format (196k)

    Section A: GENERAL
    1. This leaflet describes the Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary ( NMSB) Scheme, who is eligible for it, what it is and how you can apply for it. The scheme is administered by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland ( SAAS).
    2. In general, whatever course you are taking, students undertaking courses in pre-registration nursing and midwifery leading to the award of a degree or Diploma in Higher Education may be eligible for a bursary under the NMSB scheme.
    • From 1 August 2002 all new nursing and midwifery students will have to meet 3-year residence criteria.
    • From 1 August 2002, students beginning honours degree courses and honours degree students who started their courses in autumn 2001 will be able to apply for a bursary.
    • From 1 August 2002 nursing and midwifery students will be able to apply for the Disabled Students' Allowance.
    • From 1 August 2003 single parent nursing and midwifery students will be able to apply for assistance towards their childcare costs.
    Section B: ELIGIBILITY

    1. Course eligibility

    Bursaries are for eligible students attending courses which:

    • enable you to qualify for registration on parts 10,12, 13, 14 or 15 of the Professional Register maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Council ( NMC);
    • are funded by the Scottish Executive Health Department ( SEHD).

    The NMSB scheme does not provide support for nurses who have completed their course and have been entered in the Professional Register to top up their qualification to degree or honours degree level.

    2. Enrolled nurse conversion programmes.

    The Scottish Executive Health Department funds tuition fees for a limited number of places on enrolled nurse conversion programmes. If you do not obtain a funded place on the course, you may be asked to pay your own fees, even though you may receive a bursary. Before you begin one of these courses, you should ask the Institution to confirm whether, or not, you will be offered one of the SEHD funded places.

    NHS employers may allow staff a period of secondment to undertake a conversion programme. In these cases, you will not be able to apply for bursary support.

    3. Residence eligibility

    If you begin your course after 31 July 2002 you must satisfy the same prior residence rules as apply to undergraduate students in the general higher education system. You must have been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man for the three years immediately before the relevant date (the first day of the first academic year of the course). There will be 2 relevant dates; to reflect the 2 start dates for nursing and midwifery courses. These dates will be 1 January and 1 August. If you are not a UK national you must also have settled status in the UK within the meaning of the Immigration Act 1971 on the same relevant dates. To find out about getting settled status, you can visit the Home Office website or phone their helpline on 0870 6067766. If you have not been living in the UK you may still qualify, depending on your circumstances.

    You must also be ordinarily resident in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of your course. Ordinarily resident has been defined in the courts as 'habitual and normal residence in one place'. It means that you, your parents or your husband or wife live in a country year after year by choice throughout a set period, apart from temporary or occasional absences such as holidays or business trips. Living here totally or mainly for the purpose of receiving full time education does not count as being ordinarily resident.

    We will not treat you as ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom if your main purpose in coming here was for education and you would have otherwise have been living elsewhere.

    4. Students from abroad

    If you do not satisfy the usual residence conditions for support outlined above you may still be eligible for assistance in certain circumstances. Support may be available to:

    • UK nationals returning from work in other member states of the European Union ( EU) or from elsewhere in the European Economic Area ( EEA) and Switzerland;
    • Nationals of other EU and EEA countries who have been granted permanent residence in the UK, and their husbands or wives and children or stepchildren;
    • Nationals and husbands or wives of nationals of other EU member states, and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, who have migrant worker status, or whose parents are, or have been, migrant workers in the UK;
    • People recognised as refugees by the British Government and their husbands or wives and children or stepchildren; and
    • People who have been granted 'exceptional leave to enter' or 'exceptional leave to remain', 'humanitarian protection', 'temporary protection' or 'discretionary leave' in the UK and their husbands or wives and children or stepchildren.

    5. Students from the European Union

    European Union students applying for fees and living-cost support must meet the residence conditions for UK nationals, and have 'settled status' in the UK (as set out in the Immigration Act 1971). You will need to supply evidence from the Home Office to confirm your status.

    You may qualify for support with your tuition fees if you meet all of the following conditions.

    • You are an EU national, or the child or stepchild of an EU national;
    • You have been ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU or elsewhere in the EEA or Switzerland for the three years immediately before the relevant date.
    • You are taking a full time course in pre-registration nursing or midwifery leading to entry in the Register of nurses maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

    6. Previous assistance from public funds

    If you have previously received an award for further or higher education, you can receive a bursary for courses under the NMSB scheme.

    However, if you receive a NMSB scheme bursary and subsequently apply for assistance for further or higher education, you may not be entitled to further support. You should seek advice from SAAS about what support, if any, might be available


    1.NHS employers may allow staff a period of secondment to undertake a nursing or midwifery course on the basis of their existing pay and conditions. Your employer must decide whether to allow a secondment and employees do not have a right to secondment on these terms. If your employer is unable to agree to secondment, you may choose to resign in order to undertake the course. In this case, you will be eligible for a bursary. These arrangements and conditions also apply to existing qualified nurses or midwives who wish to convert to parts 10, 12, 13, 14 or 15 of the register.

    2. If you are a full time employee seconded by a NHS Trust you should:

    • receive the basic pay for the post held immediately before start of training, and qualify for increments;
    • keep your existing liability for tax and National Insurance;
    • be eligible to join or remain in the NHS Superannuation and Injury Benefits Schemes;
    • keep your existing rights under the appropriate Whitley Council agreement, with modifications to reflect your student status, e.g. annual leave; and
    • be expected to undergo exactly the same educational programmes as other students. ( You will not be expected to provide a higher rostered service contribution.)

    You and your employer should also have a clear agreement about:

    • whether or not you will be expected to work, or be given the opportunity to work, for your employer as a qualified nurse or midwife on completion of the course;
    • how long you will be expected to do such work; and
    • what will happen if you fail to complete the course.

    Your employer must meet your travel and subsistence expenditure during practice placements.

    3. Part-time employees seconded by a NHS Trust.

    Part-time employees seconded to nursing courses should not suffer financially. Again, it is for your employer to decide whether you should be seconded on your existing part- time salary, or an enhanced salary, to take account of the fact that the nursing and midwifery courses are full time.

    4. Healthcare assistants who have undertaken an HNC in Healthcare and are entering Year 2 of a pre-registration nursing or midwifery course.

    Healthcare assistants entering year 2 of the pre-registration programme after successful completing an HNC in Healthcare may be offered the option of secondment from their NHS employers or they may apply for bursary support.

    You may not receive your salary and a bursary at the same time. If you opt to take your salary, and subsequently wish to apply for a bursary, you may not do so until the next year of the course. You may not change your support arrangements during the year.

    Section D: THE BURSARY

    If you are taking the four-year honours degree course and you are eligible for a bursary, you will receive the full bursary rate for years 1-3 and a 75% bursary for year 4.

    The bursary covers the whole year and is made up of 2 elements.

    1. A non income-assessed personal allowance.

    There are two levels of the personal allowance:

    • £5,845 for students aged under 26 at the start of the course; and
    • £6,580 for students aged 26 or over at the start of the course or graduates who have been accepted for a 2-year training course.

    2. An income-assessed Dependant's Allowance, where appropriate.

    The maximum amounts you can receive through this allowance are:

    • £2,395

    For a husband or wife or, if you are single, one adult you have a legal responsibility for with little or no income from any sources.

    • £2,395

    For the first child where there is no dependant husband or wife, or other dependant adult.

    • £1,920

    For children 18 or over (at 1 August 2002)

    • £1,335

    For children 16 or over but under 18 (at 1 August 2002)

    • £995

    For children 11 or over (at 1 August 2002)

    • £500

    For children under 11 (at 1 August 2002)

    You may claim this allowance for your husband or wife, dependant children and any younger brothers or sisters for whom you have a legal responsibility. If any of your dependants have income of their own, the total amount will be taken into account but £1000 will be allowed against the income your dependants have. For example, if you are married with 2 children and your spouse has income, 3 x £1000 = £3,000 will be deducted from your husband's income when calculating the Dependant's Allowance you should receive. What is left of your husband's income following the deduction of £3,000 will reduce the amount payable pound for pound.

    Dependant's allowance is paid provisionally and SAAS will reassess your allowance at the end of your year of study when they receive confirmation of the actual income that your dependants received. If SAAS reduce the Dependant's Allowance as a result, you will have to repay the amount you received over your entitlement.

    The Dependant's Allowance will be paid with your bursary.

    3. Other allowances you may be eligible for are:

    • £54 Initial Expenses Allowance. This will be included in the first instalment of the bursary.
    • £1,180 Additional Allowance for single parents.
    • Up to £1,100 for formal childcare costs for single parents.
    • Excess travel costs for travel to clinical placements.
    • Disabled Students' Allowance

    4. Applying for the Bursary and allowances

    When you first apply for a place on a nursing or midwifery course you will be sent an application form by the institution that offers you a place. In your second and later years, application forms will be available at your institution in the spring for you to apply to SAAS for a bursary for those years. You must apply for a bursary each year. To ensure that your bursary is ready for you at the start of the second and/or third years of the course you should apply at least 4 weeks before the start of the next academic year.

    Once they have processed your application, SAAS will send you a Letter of Award telling you what you will receive. The first instalment for each year will be available for you to pick up at your institution on the first day of your course. Second and subsequent instalments will be paid monthly into your bank.

    5. Childcare allowance

    From September 2003, there will be a new childcare allowance for lone parents with registered or formal childcare. You may be able to claim for up to £1,100. SAAS will ask you for information about the amounts you pay and your childcare provider.

    6. Expenses for clinical placement

    Clinical placement is the part of the course that consists of supervised practice in clinical areas. You can claim expenses for some extra travel and reasonable accommodation costs.

    Educational or observational visits that are part of the general academic costs of the course should be paid for by your institution. You must meet the cost of daily travel to and from your institution and your normal day-to-day living expenses from the personal allowance of bursary

    7. Travel

    The amount of your normal daily travelling costs to your institution, (but no more than £5 a day) will be deducted from the costs of placement travel, and the approved difference may be paid.

    Travel costs are paid on the basis of the cheapest route and class available for the cheapest journeys concerned. You should take advantage of season tickets, zonecards, and student railcards wherever possible. If you claim more than the cheapest fare available, your claim will be restricted to the cheapest fare.

    If public transport is available but you choose to use your own car, expenses will be restricted to the actual cost of the journey by public transport.

    If public transport is unavailable or unsuitable (eg for placements in rural areas or where the placement takes place late in the evening), your institution can agree the use of private transport at the current motor mileage rate.

    Airfares can be paid where your institution is satisfied they are justified.

    You should always seek your institution's agreement in advance if you want to use your own car or to have airfares paid.

    You will not be reimbursed for taxi fares, tips, sleeper berths, carriage of luggage or bicycles, parking costs and any travel not directly related to the practice placement.


    You can claim for reasonable extra accommodation costs during clinical placements if you have to keep on your base accommodation at your own expense. You may only claim costs in excess of the normal full rent. The cost of all meals, food etc during placement that are not included in accommodation costs ( i.e. bed & breakfast) must be met from your personal allowance.

    If you live in the family home (instead of lodgings or normal term time accommodation) during clinical placement, you may, at the institution's discretion, claim up to a maximum of £25 per night. You will be asked to provide receipts or written confirmation that you are being charged for the accommodation.

    Applying for clinical placement expenses

    You should apply for placement expenses quarterly in arrears except:

    • where you will have a large outlay for travelling expenses, eg flights or ferries, a claim can be paid in advance;
    • where the costs of travel to clinical placement will cause you undue financial hardship, your institution may allow you to apply in advance, or part way through the placement

    Give your completed application form to your institution. They will assess each claim on its merits, deciding the most appropriate method and costs of travel, before passing the approved claim to SAAS who will arrange for payment to your bank account within 3 weeks of receiving the approved claim.

    7. Disabled Students Allowance

    If you have a disability you may apply to SAAS for certain extra expenses which arise because you are on the course. They will consider paying the following amounts.

    • Up to £1,565 for any qualifying cost during the academic year.
    • Up to £11,840 a year for non-medical personal help.
    • Up to £4,680 for major items of specialist equipment (this is a total amount for the course, not for each year of the course).

    8. Studying abroad - Erasmus-Socrates in nursing studies

    Some students may be allowed by their institution to undertake part (one module) of their course abroad. Where this period abroad is an integral part of the course, contributing to qualification as a nurse or midwife, and is included in the normal 3 year bursary period (4 years for honours degree students), the bursary will continue to be paid for the period abroad. No additional funding will be available and no travel costs will be paid.

    Section E - Information about nursing courses

    For application forms and for more information about pre-registration nursing courses contact the Centralised Applications to Nursing and Midwifery Training Clearing House (" CATCH"):


    PO Box 21
    EH2 2NN

    Telephone 0131 220 8660

    For enquiries about your bursary contact

    Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary Section

    Gyleview House
    3 Redheughs Rigg
    EH12 9HH

    Telephone: 0131-476-8212

    This guidance is issued by
    Nursing Education and AHPs Branch

    St Andrew's House
    Regent Road
    EH1 3DG

    Telephone 0131-244-2487