You may have noticed that the Government had a Spending Review on 25 November and as educators and advisers, I’m sure you poured over the detail relating to schools and colleges and perhaps to Higher Education. Just in case you didn’t pick up on this, I thought it might be helpful to outline the changes to the funding for degrees in Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions, or at least what we know so far; although it is worth noting that full details are not yet available and this blog is by no means a definitive account.
From 2017/18 students starting HE courses in nursing (adult, child, mental health and learning disability), midwifery, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, podiatry, radiography, dietetics , orthoptics, operating department practice and prosthetics/orthotics, in England, will no longer have their tuition fees paid or be in receipt of a bursary. They will take out maintenance and tuition fee loans like other students, rather than getting the NHS grant. It won’t affect current students or those that have applied for 2016 entry, nor does it apply to students in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Under the new finance system students will be eligible for a range of means tested loans which includes a specific loan for students that are on courses that have a longer than average academic year. As with all students, there are also allowances for childcare and adult dependants, as well as a parents’ learning allowance. The amount of money available under the new system is actually more than the existing grants system, the key difference being that this money is, of course, a loan and is therefore repayable. Please find below a comparison of the money students are eligible for under the two systems (lifted directly from the Council of Deans of Health website).
- Students inside London and living away from the parental home: the maximum amount per year would increase from £8750 to £12054 (a 38% increase);
- Students outside of London and living away from the parental home: the maximum amount per year would increase from £6975 to £9257 (a 33% increase);
- Students living in the parental home: the maximum amount per year would increase from £6064 to £7592 (a 25% increase)
The worry in all this, of course, is that it will discourage certain groups of students from embarking on these courses. At Huddersfield, a significant proportion of the students on our nursing and midwifery courses are women returners and career changers who come through the Access to HE route, a group that may be daunted by the prospect of “debt”. As with all Student Finance the three key things to remember are:
- No student has to pay for their fees up front
- Fees and loans do not have to be paid back until the student has graduated and is earning £21k or more per year
- Repayments are related to earnings, not the amount borrowed, so are always manageable.
Don’t forget, the Schools and Colleges Liaison Team are happy to come to your school or college to talk to groups of students or parents about Student Finance. If this is something that you are interested in, please book here.