The government has made a much-delayed announcement on this year’s social work bursary allocation, just weeks before courses start.
The Department of Health has confirmed funding will be available for bursaries to be provided to up to 1,500 postgraduate students starting courses this year. Bursaries are only available for undergraduate students from their second and third years, and the DH said bursaries will be funded for 2,500 undergraduate students who started in 2015.
The bursaries will be worth the same as last year (see boxes below).
Each university will be told how many bursary places will be available for each of their courses and will be asked to provide the government with a list of named students to receive the funding.
The official social work bursaries Facebook group currently provides a daily Q&A service for students with questions on the bursary process.
The news follows fierce criticism of the government for repeatedly delaying the announcement, with students and universities having originally been told they’d receive information in June.
This week the British Association of Social Workers wrote to health secretary Jeremy Hunt urging him to end the uncertainty, warning that the financial limbo was causing students to consider withdrawing from, or deferring places on, their courses.
The long-term future of social work bursaries remains uncertain, with the government considering scrapping the support entirely in future years. Ministers have pledged to consult on changes to the bursaries later this year.