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Exceptional Support Fund (ESF)

The Exceptional Support Fund (ESF) is funding available to eligible healthcare students who experience unforeseen financial hardship during their studies. You can claim a grant of up to £3,000 per academic year.


To claim ESF, you need to:

  • be eligible for NHS Learning Support Fund (LSF)
  • have exhausted all other available means of funding
  • be able to show there’s a shortfall between your income and day to day spending, which you’re not able to manage on your own

You also need to have applied to your university for any hardship or other available funding first. If your application was unsuccessful, you can still apply for ESF if you first asked your university for help.

How to apply

You can apply for ESF by sending us an ESF application form. You can find this on your NHS LSF account.

Make sure you clearly mark any payments on your bank statements that you refer to in your application. This helps us assess your claim and reduce any questions and delays from us.

Once you’ve completed the form, your university must approve and sign it before you send it to us. We’ll not accept any claims that have not been signed by your university.

You can apply for ESF at any point in the academic year.

Submitting your application

You can email your completed form and your supporting evidence to us at

If you would like to post your form, send it to:

NHS Learning Support Fund
Student Services
Hesketh House
200-220 Broadway

Once we’ve received your application and evidence, we’ll pay you within 15 working days if you’re successful.


Read more about applying for ESF in our ESF application guidance (PDF: 408 KB) before submitting your application. This has important information about the types of evidence and supporting documentation you need to send with your claim.

You can also watch a short video with information about ESF