I am currently working in health and social care

What’s changing?

If you start most nursing, midwifery and AHP pre-registration courses in England after 1 August 2017 you will take out maintenance and tuition loans like other students rather than getting an NHS grant. You can find a list of the courses affected by this change in our briefing The System Explained.

But not everything is changing!

In fact most of the important things about studying to become a health professional are staying the same. Find out more about how to get on to a course and the standards of education you need to meet to graduate in our briefing All Change?

Most importantly of all, the reasons to become a health professional are the same. There are brilliant, rewarding careers across the professions in health, social care and beyond. With the care needs of our population growing, the demand for highly able and committed health professionals is only likely to grow. Find out more on the Why study health? page of the website.

Can I afford to go to university?

Lots of people worry about whether university is affordable. It’s important to know that you don’t have to pay money upfront: tuition and living cost loans work like a tax on earnings above a certain amount and aren’t like a commercial loan or a payday loan.

For the many students who also have children and other dependents there is a childcare allowance which is more generous than the old NHS Bursary system and is a grant not a loan so you don’t have to repay it. There are some gaps in the government proposals concerning child dependents and we’ll be lobbying for these to be covered in the new system.

This means that university should be affordable for everyone. See what Martyn Lewis from Money Saving Expert says.

But I’m worried about debt!

The most important consideration is how much you have to pay on a monthly basis and not the total amount you owe. The repayments are set at 9% of your salary over £21k and are taken directly from your pay packet, much like a tax. For someone graduating now on the usual starting salary for a nurse or allied health professional of £21.7k you would pay £5.25 per month.

If you drop below the earning threshold for any reason, such as working part-time or taking a career break, you stop having to repay the loan until your income goes up again. The loan gets written off 30 years after you become eligible to repay so if you are a mature student there is a fair chance that you will never have to repay the full amount.

You can find out more about how the funding works in our Student Funding Information briefing and on the Case studies page of the website.

Do I have to go to university – can I work and learn?

Some employers work with universities to deliver work-based learning partnerships, where people can study alongside being employed. However you learn, all programmes are governed by the same UK-wide standards for education. This means all students have to have protected time to learn and can’t be counted in workforce numbers, something that’s known as being supernumerary. If you’re interested in work-based learning, talk to your employer and find out if this is something they support.

What don’t we know yet?

The Government is currently writing the rules of the new system and has been carrying out a public consultation on how it will work. The response to the consultation has now been published and provides more detail around funding for part-time and postgraduate pre-registration students, additional grants for childcare and funding placement travel and accommodation expenses for students.

Can I work and learn?

Some employers work with universities to deliver work-based learning partnerships, where people can study alongside being employed. If you’re interested in work-based learning, talk to your employer and find out if this is something they support.

Learn more