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Learning Support Fund: coronavirus (COVID-19)

This information is for Learning Support Fund (LSF) 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 LSF 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 LSF 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 LSF payments will continue to be paid until the end of your current academic year, regardless of whether you’ve opted in or out of working in the NHS. This will continue to be assessed and updated.

Applying for LSF

You can continue to apply for elements of LSF 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 the Department of Health and Social Care 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 LSF whilst serving on the frontline   

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

CDA 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 LSF on or after September 2020 will be provided in due course.

Your LSF 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.

In the event your practice placement is, or will be, 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.

Final year students who need to extend their course

Students who were due to complete their studies before September 2020, but require an extension to their course deadline due to coronavirus (COVID-19), should speak to their university. Students should explain and agree the amount 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 new £5,000 Training Grant - £96 per week

  • pro-rata amount of the new £2,000 Parental Support - £38.50 per student if they have at least one child

  • temporary extension support payment of £90 per week if they are studying outside London or £121 per week if studying in London 

  • 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 Learning Support Fund accounts. We’ll contact students without an account directly to discuss how to proceed.

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

If you have any queries, you can contact us.

Extensions for reasons other than coronavirus

Details of eligibility and the process for students where a course extension is required for any reason other than coronavirus will be confirmed in due course.

Final year students on non-standard entry dates  

Arrangements for final year students due to complete their course after September 2020 will be provided in due course. 

Information for universities

We contacted universities at the end of August, setting out the process for them to request an extension on behalf of their final year students whose studies were disrupted by coronavirus.

This information was due to be returned to us by the 4 September 2020. However, some universities contacted us to explain that, due to exam boards, the information would be returned later, but as soon as practically possible.

We continue to work through these claims to determine eligibility and make payments to eligible students.

Most universities have now responded to confirm which of their students will require extensions. We would encourage those who have not yet responded to do so, even in the event of a nil return. We’ll contact universities who have yet to provide a return.

If you have any queries about submitting this information, contact us.