Rebecca McKnight 0

E-Petition to Save Graduate Entry Medicine

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David Willetts MP, the Minister for Universities and Science, outlined in a statement to the House of Commons (Tuesday, 28th June 2011) Coalition support for 2012-13 medical and dentistry students.

First time, undergraduates will see the NHS Student Bursary increase to £9000 per year, to cover their fees from year 5 onwards.

Graduates undertaking a degree in medicine/dentistry will pay £3,375 of their £9000, year one fee, up front and are now eligible to apply for a £5625 student loan to pay off the year 1 balance. In the subsequent three years of the four-year, graduate degree, the government have agreed to continue to pay a partial NHS Student Bursary to the sum of £3375 per year and graduates are now eligible to apply for a £5625 Student Loan per year to make up the shortfall.

This arrangement will only apply to the 2012-13 intake for now and sees student contribution to a graduate entry medicine/dentistry degree rise massively from £3375 to £25,875.

Whilst we are grateful to government for preserving the full NHS Student Bursary for first time, undergraduates and contributing a partial NHS Student Bursary and access to a student loan for graduates, we seek urgent clarification on the following:

* Whether students will be able to access the means-tested NHS maintenance bursary in years 2, 3 & 4 of graduate entry degrees and 5/6th year undergraduate entry degrees and whether we will have access to a full maintenance loan or a partial loan, as is currently the case?

* Graduates whom have studied at Masters and PhD level have been given conflicting information from the Student Loans Company on what they are entitled to claim. We seek clarification that all graduates will be able to access the full tuition fee and maintenance loans throughout the four-year, graduate degree.

* From 2012 onwards, graduates who wish to undertake a five-year, medicine degree will face up front costs of £36,000 and will need to take out a student loan to cover the £5625 shortfall, not covered by the NHS Student Bursary in year-5. We ask that graduates undertaking five-year, medicine/dentistry degree courses, are extended the ability to apply for a student loan, to cover fees and maintenance in years 1-4.

* David Willetts has had meetings with Sandander and a number of other banks to discuss Personal Career Development Loans. We seek an update and clarification on whether this system is being developed.

* Lastly, we seek clarification on the arrangements for 2013-14 onwards.

We urge you to sign our e-petition to recommend that our government provides a full NHS Student Bursary for graduates undertaking a four-year, degree in medicine/dentistry, with access to a full, student fee and maintenance loan in year-one and access to a full, student loan for graduates wishing to undertake a five-year, degree in either medicine/dentistry and full NHS Student Bursary support in year 5.

British citizens should have access to medical education regardless of their socio-economic status. The diversity of the NHS workforce must be protected, as should the diversity of our world-class medical education system.

Thank you.


Rebecca McKnight


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