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Can I continue to get higher education funding if I need to take time off due to pregnancy or adopting a child?

By David Malcolm

Wednesday 10 February 2016 Higher education

If you’re a healthcare student in higher education in the UK and you need to take time off to have a baby or adopt one, you should seek advice from your students’ union, university or college advice centre about the possible forms of support. There are only limited circumstances in which students taking time out for maternity or adoption leave can get extra funding, and these relate mainly to healthcare students. Here’s an overview with links to more information.

I’ve got a bursary from the NHS in England – what funding can I get?

If you’re taking a healthcare course and get a bursary from the NHS in England, you can get support if you:

  • become pregnant. You can apply for a Maternity Award, which includes all elements of your existing bursary except those relating to actual attendance on the course (eg you don’t get Childcare Allowance) for up to 52 weeks. You may be able to extend your award payments beyond 52 weeks in special circumstances.
  • need time off from your studies because you’re about to become a biological father, adoptive father or nominated carer of a newborn or newly-adopted child, or your spouse, civil partner or partner is scheduled to give birth to a child. You can apply for a Maternity Support (Paternity) Award to cover you for up to four weeks.
  • need time off because you’re adopting a child. You can apply for an Adoption Support Award.

For more information, including details of how to apply, see Am I entitled to any support if I have to take time off due to pregnancy or adopting a child?

I’ve got a bursary from the NHS in Wales – what funding can I get?

If you’re taking a healthcare course and get a bursary from the NHS in Wales, you continue to get your existing bursary payments for up to 52 weeks while you take authorised time off because of pregnancy, childbirth or adoption – depending on your circumstances.

If you’re a student who’s a nominated carer and/or partner, you continue to get your bursary payments for up to four weeks while you take an authorised period of maternity support leave. For more information, see Financial Help for Healthcare Students in Wales.

I get funding from another source - what help can I get?

For other students, specific help if you are taking time off for maternity, paternity or adoption leave is limited. Speak to the adviser in your university, college, students' union or citizens' advice bureau for guidance.

Related topics

I’m a student with children or other dependants – what extra higher education funding can I get?

I’m studying medicine, dentistry or healthcare – what higher education funding can I get in England or Wales?

I have to leave my course before the end – what do I do about my higher education funding?

This information was updated in February 2016. NUS provides this information in good faith and has taken care to make sure it’s accurate. However, student finance issues can be complicated, and rules change frequently. You should contact the advice centre in your students' union, college or university for support if you’re uncertain or need more help.