We don't talk about this on Midwife Diaries much, but it's vital you know what to expect financially before you're a student midwife. As someone who didn't come from a background where my parents could support me financially, I wish I'd read a post on this when I was applying. Especially with the changes coming up.
With this info, you'll end up feeling positive, feel able to budget, ask the right questions and take action to make sure your finances are in order.
In this Midwife Diaries post we'll cover:
- What the government are saying about the changes
- Whether they'll go ahead and when
- What you're entitled to
- A freebie to help you get more info specific to you
Is it really true?
It looks like funding will be cut for student midwives. The info so far is that the changes will kick in for any students starting their course after August 2017.
But the Royal College of Midwives and quite a lot of labour party are in opposition to the cuts. So we could see all this fall through.
It's not likely, but we're hoping.
Three Student Midwife Finance Options
1. Tuition Fees
Changes to tuition fees are what's causing most of the outcry. Tuition fees for student midwives and nurses have always until now been paid by the government, but that's set to stop.
If you're starting any time up until August 2017, your tuition fees will still be paid in full. This happens as one lump sum to your Uni at the beginning of the year.
If you're starting after August 2017, you'll have to pay your tuition. Tuition fees are up to £9,000/year.
This is part of the government's agenda to find more money for the NHS.
2. The Bursary
This is money you don't have to pay back, to help with training.
For students starting training before August 2017, a bursary is still available. 'Bursary day' is usually the 3rd Friday of the month, a good day for student midwives' bank accounts.
You can find out more if you Google 'NHS BOSS' (Bursary Online Support System).
This bursary is made up of £1000/year that's non-means tested, which you get whatever your circumstances. You could be Kate Middleton and you'd still get this (what a thought, I bet Sarah Burton would start making scrubs).
Then you can get more bursary depending on your income, childcare needs, whether or not you're in London, how many people are dependent on you and travel needed for practice placements.
There are a few other factors too – the best thing to do is get stuck in and have a go with the NHS Bursary calculators here.
If you’re starting after August 2017, the bursary won’t be there.
There has been talk of a ‘wage’ for student midwives – there’s not much good info on this yet. I'm all for paying students as they work so hard and provide care; though, wouldn’t this just be the bursary under a different name?
(Scotland will be keeping the bursary - not sure about Wales yet).
3. Student Loans - From Student Finance England
Student midwives are entitled to a ‘maintenance loan’, to live on, which you can see more about here.
Because of the bursary, this is a bit less than normal students get. It's between £1700-£3200 ish, depending on your circumstances.
In the future:
From August 2017, when you’ll have to pay for tuition, you’ll need a standard student loan. You can see more about this here.
You’ll also need some money to live on.
A maintenance loan will still be available for student midwives when the changes come in.
It will usually be about £6,900-£10,700/year, again depending if you’ll be living at home with your parents, or in London or not.
All of this money – both the ‘standard’ student loan and the ‘maintenance’ will be bundled together when you finish and you’ll pay back slowly.
For info on paying back your student loan and why it’s not nearly as scary as it seems (though still an outrageous thing IMO to ask student midwives to do!) see the wonderful site, moneysavingexpert.com
There are various bits of money available as grants, for disabled students, childcare, parents learning allowance and adult dependants.
The government is saying there will actually be more cash in the hands of student midwives while they’re training, but it'll be from loans.
Even if you’ve done a degree before, you should still be able to get a student loan to train as a midwife.
I’m told childcare support will mainly be via grants, which I know will be a relief to many.
You may be able to get a hardship grant from your Uni, it’s always worth looking into things.
Working part-time isn’t easy, but you may be able to become a Health Care Assistant (I worked a bit on a mental health ward, excellent experience) – NHS ‘Bank’ means you’ll be able to pick up shifts as and when.
You can also get a student account at your bank, with an overdraft, which you’ll pay back when you’re working, through interest rises as a graduate.
While this post should give you a framework, you'll only get clear on your particular finances by getting stuck in. I wish I had a more attractive suggestion than you making a list of things to look into and getting going, but that's the territory.
There're lots of other suggestions that applicants and student midwives have, on things like books, food budgets and housing.
I've put together a document from an awesome 'Q and A' evening we had over in the Secret Community For Midwives In The Making on Facebook. If you come and join and click 'files' once you're in the group, you'll be able to download this freebie and see all the complicated questions and answers.
Don't be afraid to ask for help, that's what we're here for.
I really hope you found this useful and I'm wishing you all the best with your application and your finances.
Leave me a comment below - what will be the most challenging financial aspect of being a student midwife and how do you plan to get all your ducks in a row? There could be a student midwife-to-be reading who'd be so glad of your info 🙂