Fewer white mature students entering nursing courses

But boost to BME student numbers, despite removal of bursary in England

But boost to BME student numbers, despite removal of bursary in England

Picture: iStock

Fewer mature white students have entered preregistration nursing courses since the bursary was cut in England in 2017, according to new data.

However, the number of black and minority ethnic (BME) nursing students has increased since the changes in student funding.

Student numbers down overall, but diversity increases

Overall, the number of people of all ethnicities entering preregistration nursing courses fell by 2,160 students (11%) between 2016-17 and 2017-18, according to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), which has been analysed by the Office for Students (OfS).

This was largely caused by a reduction of 24% (1,860) in the number of white mature entrants. In contrast, the number of young BME entrants increased by 18% (330 students).

Among BME entrants, black students of all ages were the only group to increase in number, up by 12% (375 students).

‘Failing to invest’ in the nursing workforce

However, the OfS said the figures alone did not suggest reforms to financial arrangements for nursing students directly led to the increase in BME nursing student numbers, adding there may be multiple factors at play.

RCN director for England Patricia Marquis said: 'It’s great to see the diversity of nursing courses increase over time as our profession must be reflective of the population we care for, but it mustn’t distract from the wider funding issues that could see any progress made completely reversed in the long term.’

Ms Marquis warned that the overall figures showed the impact of 'failing to invest' in the future workforce by removing financial support for nursing students.

Responding to the data, the Council of Deans of Health reiterated its call for the introduction of additional financial support for students, such as maintenance grants and forgivable loans, in order to support recruitment.

Further information

In other news


This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.