SPOTLIGHT: Student Loans Company Overpayments Cause Hardship for Nursing Students
Hundreds of Nursing Students across the UK have been overpaid by the Students Loan Company due to a mistake in calculations. Many of those affected rang the Students Loan Company asking to re-pay this amount but were told they didn’t need to.
It then came as a surprise to find out that this was not the case and the money would need to be repaid. Nursing students were told that they would either receive reduced amounts for the rest of the year or nothing at all. This has hit these Nursing Students hard as many work throughout the summer until September with little time to do part-time work due to the intensity of the course.
Many do not know how to pay for rent and food, with some feeling that they will have to drop out. This has effected second and third years, some nearly graduated, from across the UK, including some students at the University of Leeds.
Under a lot of pressure, including from the Royal College of Nursing, the Student Loans Company have agreed that Nursing Students do not need to re-pay this now, but it will be added on to re-payments after graduation. This is after weeks of upset and stress for these students, who are still getting reduced funding or none at all for the rest of the academic year which for many stretches until September. This is not just. It is certainly not fair.
This comes at a time when Student Nurses are already struggling in hardship due to the scraping of the bursary on top of an intensive course with little time to do part-time work. Nursing applications have fallen again this year, which seems to be a trend since the scrapping of the bursary – figures from UCAS, published earlier this month, show applications for nursing courses in England have fallen by one third since 2016.
Many Student Unions from across the UK, led by Cumbria Universities Student Union alongside the Royal College of Nursing, are going to Parliament next week to lobby MPs regarding hardship funding for nursing students.
I have emailed the Executive Committee to find out why this is, any involvement that they do have and to encourage involvement. Hopefully if this hardship funding is secured this will help many out and encourage nursing application numbers to pick up again.
Kate Youngs – Student Nurse