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Wednesday 21 March
My.Anglia > Student services > Money > Student funding > Social Work Courses

Student Money Advice Service

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Funding for Social Work Courses

To check if you are eligible for student funding please take a look at our eligibility page for further information. If you have any questions please contact us to discuss your personal circumstances.

Download our income check list to make sure that you're receiving all the help you're entitled to.

Previous Study Student Finance England

If you have undertaken a previous Higher Education course (even if you did not complete it or even just attended for a day) this may be taken into account as previous study if you decide to start a new course and affect your entitlement to receive future funding.

If this is the first time you have studied at a Higher Education level (as long as you meet all other eligibility for Student Finance England) you should be eligible to receive funding to cover your full course length plus one extra year.

I have previously studied an Equivalent Level Qualification

If you have already studied and received a qualification that is the equivalent level or higher than the one you wish to now study Student Finance England will class you as ELQ (Equivalent Level Qualification) and you will not be eligible for full funding through them (I.e. no tuition fee loan or maintenance grant/special support grant if a full time student or a Tuition Fee Loan if part time however you can still receive Disabled Students Allowance). However you may still be eligible for the Maintenance Loan as well as supplementary grants such as:

  • Parents Learning Allowance (PLA)
  • Adult Dependants Grant (ADG)
  • Childcare Grant (CG)
  • Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)

Previous study but not Equivalent Level Qualification studying full time

Depending on the course you have studied previously, its duration and if you have ever gained a qualification you may still be entitled to funding from student finance.

Only courses at Higher Education level 4 (Higher National Certificate, Certificate of Higher Education, etc) will be considered.

I've previously studied Full-Time

If you began a full-time course previously this can reduce the amount of years of full funding you have left for your new course. You are entitled to funding for all course years of the course they apply for, plus an additional year, which makes up for any repeats you may have to take. Then, if there has been any previous study and no qualification was gained or a lower level qualification was obtained, student finance will reduce your entitlement by the number of years spent on the previous course.


"Previously I had studied 2 years of a full-time course and then decided to leave. I now wish to begin a new 3 year course"

You would be entitled to the new course length of 3 years plus the extra year giving 4-years for a 3-year course. Your entitlement would then be reduced by the 2 years you had already began, meaning you would be left with 2 years of full funding. This funding will then be awarded in the final part of your course so you will be eligible for funding in years 2 and 3.

I've previously studied Part-Time

For students who have studied part-time courses, such as distance learning, Open University, etc, your entitlement to full-time funding will only be reduced if you ever gained a qualification. If you did not gain a qualification then the part-time study you've done before will not be considered and you'll have full funding as normal for all years of your course, and even still have your additional year on top.


"I've done 2 years of an Open University course which I left without gaining any qualifications and now want to begin a new 4 year course full-time"

You would have the 4 years of the new course plus the extra year on top, so 5 years in total. Your previous study is excluded as you never gained a qualification and are changing from part-time to full-time. However, had you obtained a qualification you would have the total number of years studied on that course taken into account as previous study.

e.g. if you studied a HNC part time over 2 years and now wish to study a new 3 year degree.

New course duration plus 1 year = 4 years funding allowed

Minus the number of years previous study = 4 -2 = 2 years funding allowed

This will be assigned to the final two years of your course meaning that you would need to fund yourself in year one as you would only be eligible for the Maintenance Loan and grants for dependants (i.e. not Tuition Fee Loan or Maintenance/Special Support Grant).

Previous study but not ELQ studying part time

If your new course is part-time and you already have a qualification of a lower level then you will still be able to apply for funding for your fees up to a maximum of 16 years. Eligible students will always be able to apply for Disabled Student's Allowance regardless of previous study.

I've studied before but had to leave for reasons outside my control.

If you have previous study which affects your entitlement for full funding but have genuine reasons for not being able to complete your initial course, we can consider this and may be able to discount affected years from your future entitlement. Students in this situation can apply for 'Compelling Personal Reasons' (CPR) and may have years where they were affected by extenuating circumstances excluded as previous study.

Examples of CPR:

  • Illness
  • Bereavement
  • Family crisis
  • Pregnancy
  • Unavoidable caring responsibility

Student Finance England can take this into consideration. You should send a letter to Student Finance England detailing the CPR and evidence of the mitigating circumstances should be provided.

Evidence might include:

  • Medical evidence from a GP
  • Letter from HEI
  • Letter from social services
  • Letter from clergy or professional person
  • Death Certificate
  • Photocopy of a Birth Certificate

The list is not exhaustive and any evidence you feel can support your claim should be sent to SFE for consideration. In some circumstances one piece of evidence may not be sufficient, therefore it is recommend that you send as much evidence in as possible. A number of items may need to be requested in order to build a case.

There is no limit to the amount of times CPR can be considered but SFE can only award 1 year CPR at a time. Any CPR awarded will be applied to the next academic year of your course. All CPR claims are unique and will be granted on their own merit.

You may submit evidence to be considered for CPR when you leave your course and this this will be held on file until such time you decide to return to study.

The above applies to Full Time courses only.

Exit Qualifications

Students who were studying a degree course, who then left the course and achieved an Exit Qualification (Dip HE, Cert HE, HNC, HND or Foundation Degree), may be eligible for CPR for the year in which the qualification was attained.

For CPR to apply, there must be compelling personal reasons why the student failed to fully complete the course.

Part Time Students

There is no current provision to award CPR to part-time students. This is because a part-time course will have a set time limit for completion (i.e. a 3 year degree studied at 50% intensity would take 6 years to complete). If the student will take longer than this to complete their course then they will no longer meet the criteria for funding (regardless of their circumstances).

If possible, a student may change the intensity of their course (i.e. from 25% to 50%) to make sure that the course can be completed in the timescales provided.


If you are awarded CPR, you will still be liable for the loans taken during the year(s) affected. CPR does not write off loans, only allows additional years funding.

I've studied outside the UK.

Depending on whether you achieved a qualification overseas or not, this can affect your application in different ways:

If you've studied at a college or university that's not contained within the UK but did not gain a qualification then this will still count as previous study and standard previous study rules will apply.

If you did gain a qualification the standard equivalent or lower qualification rules will apply.

Previous Study NHS

The NHS do not have the same rules as Student Finance England. If you satisfy the residency requirements and are awarded a bursary from the University then you are eligible for the relevant bursaries from the NHS.

Exceptions to this are:

  • If you have already received a bursary for an undergraduate Social Work course from the NHS you are unlikely to be eligible for a bursary for the Masters course. However, this is determined on a case by case basis by the NHS.
  • If you have already receive a bursary (UG or PG) and you have to extend your final placement and you have extenuating circumstances you may be eligible for an extension of bursary.

Funding Available 2015/16

The funding you receive will depend on whether you are studying on the BA Social Work or MA Social Work.

BA Social Work

You can access the same funding as any student funded by Student Finance England - for more information please visit:

In your 2nd and 3rd year you may be eligible for an NHS Social Work Bursary. This is non- income assessed, non-repayable and will be on top of your Student Finance England Funding.

Not all students will be eligible for this and you will be told at the end of the 1st year if you are eligible by the faculty. It is based on academic performance in your first year.

You will need to apply to the NHS for this bursary and for 2015/16 it is 4862.50 per year (this can change from year to year).

Even if you are not eligible for a funded place and therefore not able to receive the 4862.50 bursary you can still apply to the NHS for the Placement Travel Allowance of 862.50.

MA Social Work

If youre taking a postgraduate social work course you might be eligible for the following funding through the NHS Business Services Authority. Not all places are funded and you will be informed when offered a place by the University if it is eligible for funding:

Non-income assessed

  • The basic grant
  • Tuition fee support
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)

Means-tested additional funding

  • Maintenance Grant
  • Adult Dependents Allowance
  • Parents Learning Allowance
  • Childcare Allowance towards the cost of registered or accredited childcare costs

For more information and to download an application form please see the NHS Business Services Authority website or contact the NHS funding general enquiries line - Tel: 0845 358 6655. You may also wish to view the Government webpages on additional funding for postgraduate study:

Social Work 2016/16

We don't have any figures from the NHS regarding what support will be available in 2016/17. We advise you to check the NHS website frequently.