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Learning Support Fund: coronavirus (COVID-19)

This information is for NHS Learning Support Fund (NHSLSF) students. It sets out measures put in place due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that during the coronavirus response period all NHSLSF payments will continue to be paid as normal and eligible students should continue to apply for payments.

Payments during school closures 

DHSC has confirmed that during the period of school and university closures all NHSLSF payments will continue to be paid as normal and eligible students should continue to apply for payments. 

Identifying as a key worker

DHSC has confirmed that if you’re undertaking a clinical healthcare course then you’re able to self-identify as a key worker as you’re contributing to the national coronavirus response.

During the coronavirus crisis, your NHSLSF payments will continue to be paid until the end of your current academic year, regardless of whether you’ve opted in to a ‘paid placement’ or are continuing on your course as normal.  This will continue to be assessed and updated.

Applying for NHSLSF

You can continue to apply for elements of NHSLSF as normal. Temporary processes have been put in place with universities to sign off Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses (TDAE) and Exceptional Support Fund (ESF) application forms.

We’re constantly reviewing this information and we’re working closely with DHSC to make sure you’re kept up to date.

This information is subject to change at any point in time. Thank you for your continued support and co-operation during these challenging and unprecedented times.

Accessing NHSLSF whilst on a paid placement   

Students who are eligible for the NHSLSF should continue to submit claims for the Training Grant, Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses (TDAE), Exceptional Support Fund (ESF) and Parental Support. The eligibility criteria remain the same as if you were attending a clinical placement.

Parental Support will be paid for the remainder of the current academic year. You will be required to reapply for this element when you start the next academic year.

Additional information about applying for elements of NHSLSF on or after September 2021 will be provided in due course.

Your NHSLSF payments will not be affected by any salary you receive for working on the frontline during the coronavirus crisis.

Claiming for additional costs

Claiming for travel expenses whilst volunteering to support the NHS

Students volunteering to support the NHS during the coronavirus crisis will be able to claim their travel expenses through the NHS volunteering scheme, not from the LSF.

Claiming travel and accommodation expenses from Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses (TDAE)

If you are a nursing, midwifery or AHP student who has opted-in to serve on the front line, you are eligible to continue claiming TDAE. The eligibility criteria remain the same as if you were attending a clinical placement.

If you incur additional travel and dual accommodation costs due to coronavirus, consideration and discretion will be applied on a case by case basis.

Claiming for accommodation costs after cancelled placements

If your placement is cancelled and you need to claim for the cost of your accommodation, you should complete your claim form online and email it, with any relevant evidence, to your university.

We have contacted all universities to let them know of the revised system for sending TDAE claims to us.

If your practice placement is cancelled and you have paid for your accommodation in advance, you may still be reimbursed through LSF, as applicable, if you're unable to obtain a refund from the provider.

Reimbursements may also be made for necessary visas, vaccinations and medical insurance costs relating to overseas placements which have already been incurred.

In these circumstances, you should submit your claim forms as normal, endorsed by your university and enclose the relevant accommodation cancellation policy from the provider, plus supporting receipts for any advanced payments you have made.

We also require the university to provide a covering letter advising the date the placement was cancelled. This process also applies to travel season tickets and Oyster card payments. These claims will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Students who were due to complete their course in the 2020/21 academic year but require an extension due to coronavirus (COVID-19), should speak to their university to agree the number of additional weeks needed.

Information for eligible students

Where a student is eligible for additional financial support, we’ll contact them setting out the payments they’re eligible to receive.

This may include:

  • pro-rata amount of the £5,000 Training Grant - £96 per week
  • pro-rata amount of the £2,000 Parental Support - £38.50 per student per week if they have at least one child
  • continuing to claim Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses (TDAE) as normal
  • a student in financial hardship still being able to make a claim to the Exceptional Support Fund as normal

Payments will be made through existing NHS LSF accounts.

Do not try and create a new NHS Learning Support Fund account, as your application will be rejected.

If you receive a payment you are not expecting or your circumstances or length of extension change, you must notify us immediately. If you have any queries, you can contact us.

Information for universities 

Universities can apply for funding extensions due to COVID-19 on behalf of their students through the university portal. Students cannot apply directly to us for these extensions. This information is valid for the 2020/21 academic year and for extensions up to 31 August 2022.

Universities are periodically contacted by Health Education England (HEE), asking them to complete a lost hours survey for students requiring extensions. All requests for extensions received are validated against the lost hours survey information held by HEE. We may request additional details and confirmation from you and your student as part of this validation process.

If you have any queries about submitting this information, contact us using the queries section in your portal.

The information contained here is correct at the time of publishing and may be subject to change.

Repeat study 

You may be able to claim additional support if you need to repeat part of your academic year. This will usually only be awarded in exceptional circumstances.

Exceptional circumstances may include:

  • delays due to COVID-19
  • disability 
  • bereavement
  • certified sickness or injury  

You must be eligible for NHS LSF to receive repeat funding.

If the repeat study period is due to academic failure where no exceptional circumstances are evident, repeat funding will not be awarded. 

How to apply

You should first discuss your circumstances with your university. If they agree that you meet the criteria, they will submit a case on your behalf through their university portal. 

You do not need to do anything else, but you should make sure that you have already made an application for the current academic year through your NHS LSF account.

All requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and you will be informed of our decision by email.