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New nursing student maintenance grants fall short by £15k, says RCN

The college has set out two visions of fairer funding which redress bursary withdrawal
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The RCN says new government-funded maintenance grants should go much further and has set out two visions of fairer funding which redress bursary withdrawal

Nursing students should receive maintenance grants of up to 20,252 per year to support their studies, according to new funding analysis from the RCN .

While government-funded maintenance grants of 5,000 will be introduced for nursing students from September, the college said this needs to go much further.

RCN proposes two education funding plans

In

The RCN says new government-funded maintenance grants should go much further and has set out two visions of fairer funding which redress bursary withdrawal

Picture shows two nursing students with a nurse. In its new report, the RCN sets out two different visions for funding nursing education
Picture: Barney Newman

Nursing students should receive maintenance grants of up to £20,252 per year to support their studies, according to new funding analysis from the RCN.

While government-funded maintenance grants of £5,000 will be introduced for nursing students from September, the college said this needs to go much further.

RCN proposes two education funding plans  

In its new report, the RCN sets out two different visions for funding nursing education.

Under the first option, students would receive upfront grant funding for tuition fees and a means-tested maintenance grant of the same value as they would currently receive under the loan model – up to £20,252 for each student per year.

The second option would see students receive a yearly, non-means-tested £10,000 maintenance grant towards living costs and the opportunity to take out a tuition fee loan, which would be written off in return for working in publicly funded health and care services for a set number of years.

The RCN also calls on the government to:

  • Abolish self-funded tuition fees for all new nursing students
  • Reimburse tuition fees and forgive current debt for those affected by the removal of the bursary in 2017

Government urged to remove financial barriers for potential nursing students

RCN Students Committee chair Jessica Sainsbury
Jessica Sainsbury

RCN Students Committee chair Jessica Sainsbury said: 'Everyone who wants to become a nurse should be encouraged and supported to do so, and all financial barriers must be removed.

'I and my fellow nursing students urge the government to fund our future nurses to build a nursing workforce that meets patient needs for the long term.'

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson responded by saying that they were committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses and cited the latest Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) figures which show a 16% rise in applicants to nursing and midwifery courses in England.

'From September, all new and continuing students will also benefit from at least £5,000 a year in free additional support during their studies,’ they said.

Related material

RCN (2020) Beyond the Bursary: Workforce Supply


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