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Sources of Funding for UK Citizens   

The main sources of financial help if you want to study are:

  • Your employer
  • Loans and grants from the government 
  • Bursaries
  • Charitable trusts
  • Professional associations

Funding from your employer

Your employer may have access to funding to support your education and training. For further details, see the useful booklet on Funding Guidance for Employers issued by Skills for Health. Your employer can also get free advice from a skills broker at Train to Gain to assess the skills required in the future by the workforce. Train to Gain can also help to identify quality training providers and sources of funding to pay for it.

If you work for the NHS or local government, you will find more detailed information in the section The NHS and Local Government.

Loans and Grants

Skills Accounts and Individual Learning Accounts
Depending on your circumstances and the course you wish to study, opening a Skills Account (in England) or an Individual Learning Account (in Scotland and Wales) may help you to find out what funding is available to you for your chosen course.

For further details see:

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales 

Similar information is available for Northern Ireland from the Department of Employment and Learning (DELNI) and the Adult Learner Finance Project.

Education Maintenance Allowance
EMA is a weekly payment of £10, £20 or £30, paid to learners who live in households with an income of less than £30,810 a year, if they wish to continue in education/training after they have reached the statutory school leaving age. The money is paid directly into the learner's bank account and does not affect any other household benefits received by the learner's parents. If the learner has a part time job, their income is not included in the assessment of their household income.  For more information on EMA visit the Young People's Learning Agency website or the DirectGov website. 

Professional and Career Development Loans
A Professional and Career Development Loan could help you pay for learning that enhances your job skills or career prospects. It’s a bank loan, so you’ll have to pay it back once you’ve left your course. However, you don’t pay interest for the period when you’re in learning.

The DirectGov website provides useful information on Professional and Career Development loans.

Higher Education Funding
If you would like information about funding to support Higher Education study, the following sites provide useful information about Student Loans (which have to be paid back) and Grants (which don’t), and how you can find out if you are eligible.

  • Directgov (UK-wide)
  • UCAS (UK-wide)

If your home is in Scotland and you want support for fees and living costs for a higher education course, see the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) website.

For Higher Education funding information in Northern Ireland, see the studentfinanceni website.

For Higher Education funding information in Wales, see the Student Finance Wales website.

Extra help
You may qualify for extra help if you are disabled, or if you have a mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. Extra help may also be available if there is a child or an adult who depends on you financially.

There are other possible sources of financial support to help you while you learn, for example, Adult Learning Grants, the Education Maintenance Allowance, and help with child-care costs. For more information, click here.


Bursaries and scholarships are extra sources of financial help from your university or college. Scholarships and bursaries do not have to be repaid. They are generally awarded to support students who face financial difficulties. See the website of your university of college for further details.

Students who have secured a university place funded by the NHS and leading to registration may be eligible to apply to the NHS bursary scheme for financial support. The university will advise on the application. A review of the scheme is taking place in 2010.

The NHS Wales Student Award Unit implements the NHS Wales Bursary Schemes, which provides funding for healthcare students on NHS funded courses in Wales and Welsh domiciled medical and dental students within the UK. Further information can be found on the NLIAH website.

For NHS bursary schemes (audiology, biomedical science, medicine, dental, nursing, midwifery etc.) in Scotland, see the SAAS website.


Charitable trusts

There are many charitable trusts that offer financial help to people based on specific eligibility criteria (which could range from gender and place of birth to parental occupation and residence).

Advice Resources is a fully searchable Funding Directory database of over 2000 funding opportunities from both charitable and non-charitable sources (such as adult learning grants and career development loans).

Professional associations

If you are a member of a professional body or union, you may be eligible to apply for scholarships, sponsorships or other awards to support your education and training. For further details, contact the relevant organisation.


Further Information on Funding

Skills Funding Agency 
Our mission is to ensure that people and businesses can access the skills training they need to succeed in playing their part in society and in growing England’s economy.

Skills for Health Guide
An excellent guide to many of the funding opportunities available to individuals has been produced by Skills for Health. It explains the various sources of funding mentioned above, and gives many useful weblinks.

Careers Sites
Many UK careers websites also have information on funding your education and training.

Education UK
If you are an international student seeking sources of funding to study in the UK, the British Council’s website, Education UK, will provide the information you need about course fees and potential sources of funding—as well as information about immigration rules and living in the UK.

Educational Grants and Advisory Service (EGAS)
This gives information about funding of all kinds for post-16 education throughout the UK.

This UK government website provide information about money, tax and benefits.

Health Learning and Skills Advice Line (England) 
The Health Learning and Skills Advice Line provides careers information, advice and guidance to support people who work in, or are considering a career in healthcare. Free, expert, independent and confidential, the service is run by the Careers Advice Service and covers the whole healthcare sector.

Careers Advice Service (England) 
The Careers Advice Service offers practical advice to help you make the right career choices whether you want to learn new skills, change career or return to work. It also has a useful summary on the sources of funding available for your education and training.

PlanIT Plus (Scotland) 
A resource for careers, learning and school information in Scotland.

Funding for Learners (Scotland) 
The Scottish Executive provides funding to help learners improve their skills and qualifications. Here you will find advice on the support available for Further and Higher Education.

A Guide to Funding for Adult Learners (Wales) 
This guide to funding aims to help you find the student funding that you need to make the most of the education and learning opportunities available to you.




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