Extra £3m to support student nurses with dependants

Bursary protected for Scotland’s student nurses.

An increase in financial support for nursing and midwifery students with dependants to help parents and carers into the workforce has been announced by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

An extra £3m is to be invested in supporting those with children or dependants, helping up to 1000 of our most in need students, while the Nursing and Midwifery bursary is to be protected.

The nursing bursary has been abolished in England.

The number of Scottish Government-funded university places for those starting nursing and midwifery training will increase by 4.7% in 2017-18, bringing the total intake to 3,360 places – the fifth successive annual increase.

The First Minister said:

“Nurses and midwives play a vital role in Scotland – demonstrating amazing dedication, commitment and professionalism on a daily basis.

“While staffing in our NHS is at a record high, we know that as demand increases we must to do more to build capacity into the future health and social care workforce.

“The improved financial support for students with responsibility for a child or a family member can help these students overcome some of the barriers to pursuing a career in nursing or midwifery and is based on what students have told us about the challenges they face.

“I also want to restate my commitment to protecting the non-means tested, non-repayable nursing and midwifery student bursary – something we believe is essential to ensuring a steady supply of trainees into the profession.

“This stands in stark contrast to the short-sighted actions of the UK Government, where free nursing tuition and bursaries have been removed entirely, with early indications showing this is impacting on the number of students applying.”


The Scottish Government has worked with students, unions and professional bodies to review how the nursery and midwifery bursary works. The new measures announced have been informed by that review and will come into effect from 2017/18, and follow the action last year to set up a new hardship fund to provide a safety net for students most in need. We will publish proposals later in the year to enhance and improve support for nursing and midwifery students from 2018/19.

Enhancements to financial support for 2017/18 academic year, in addition to the standard Nursing & Midwifery Student Bursary:

  • Single Parents Allowance to be increased by £1,000 – from £1,303 to £2,303 per academic year
  • Childcare Allowance to be increased by £1,250 – up to £1,216 is available currently to meet the costs of registered childcare, this will increase to £2,466 per year
  • Dependants Allowance to be increased by £1,000 per year - maximum amounts that eligible students can receive through this income based allowance are currently:
  • £2,640 for a spouse or cohabiting partner
  • £2,640 for the first child where there is no dependent husband or wife, or other dependent adult
  • £557 for each other dependent child.
  • The maximum available for the first dependent will increase to £3,640The total cost of funding pre-registration nursing and midwifery training and the Nursing & Midwifery Student Bursary is approximately £130 million.

2017/18 nursing and midwifery student intake:

  • The total recommended pre-registration nursing and midwifery intake will rise by 4.7% to 3,360 places
  • This equates to an increase of 151 places across adult, mental health, learning disabilities, children’s nursing, and midwifery specialties
  • An additional 60 training places will be allocated to universities in the north-east of Scotland
  • Over the last five years the student nursing and midwifery intakes have risen by 24%.

There were a total of 9,936 nurses and midwives in training in Scotland at October 2015, as set out in the latest published data.


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