Nursing students in England to receive £5,000 grant from next September

Prime minister announces further £3,000 a year for hard-to-recruit disciplines
Prime minister Boris Johnson talking to nurses during 2019 election campaign

Prime minister announces further £3,000 a year for hard-to-recruit disciplines

Prime minister Boris Johnson speaking to nurses in Cambridge during the election campaign. Picture: PA

Nursing students in England will receive a £5,000 annual grant from next September.

The promise of payments of up to £8,000 a year was one of the central pledges of the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto.

Additional funding for hard-to-recruit specialisms

An annual grant of £5,000 to cover living costs will be given to all new and current nursing students, but will not be available to post-registration students.

A further £3,000 will be available for people studying hard-to-recruit disciplines, such as mental health and learning disability nursing.

Money will not cover tuition fees

However, students will still be required to pay tuition fees of £9,000 a year. These fees, along with a means-tested maintenance grant, used to be provided through a student bursary.

The bursary was scrapped as part of the Conservatives’ austerity measures in 2017. Since this funding ended, applications to study nursing have declined by 25% in England

‘Any barriers to nursing must be removed’

Welcoming the news, RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair claimed the new grant as ‘a first victory’ in the college’s campaign for at least £1 billion extra per year to be invested in nursing education.

‘This announcement will hopefully encourage more people to apply to a nursing degree by the mid-January deadline,’ she said.

Professor Kinnair added that, in the run up to the next Budget [due to take place early next year], the RCN will continue to call for students not to have to pay tuition fees.

‘Any barriers for people wanting to enter nursing must be removed,’ she said. 

England’s chief nurse comments on social media

On Twitter, chief nursing officer for England Ruth May said the funding was ‘fantastic news’ for the profession.

Announcing the grant, prime minister Boris Johnson said: ‘There can be no doubting our commitment to the NHS, and over the coming months we will bring forward further proposals to transform this great country.’ 

Labour Party gives a lukewarm welcome to news

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth welcomed the funding but called for further investment.

‘While it is good to see they have U-turned on their terrible policy position, nurses have called for additional funding to cover tuition fees too, not just living costs,’ he said.

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