'Scrapping bursaries could leave nurses with £50k debts'

RCN head of policy Howard Catton says proposals to scrap the nursing bursary and introduce tuition fees could put people off doing nursing courses

Nursing students could be saddled with debts of £50,000 if the government reveals it will scrap nursing bursaries and introduce tuition fees in this week's comprehensive spending review, the RCN has warned.

The Council of Deans of Health (CoDH), which represents university nursing faculties, and Universities UK no longer want the four UK governments to pay the fees for pre-registration nursing courses. 

Instead, the two organisations have called for nursing students to be given loans to cover tuition fees and living expenses. 

They want the proposals to form part of the government’s comprehensive spending review, which will be published on Wednesday (November 25).

But RCN head of policy Howard Catton said the move could deter people from doing nursing courses. 

He said: ‘We know that students on other courses sometimes finish with £50,000 debts, and so there is a serious risk that people would be discouraged from going into the nursing profession.’

Nursing students currently receive up to £5,460 a year as a bursary to cover living costs, but with student loans they would receive up to £7,750.

CoDH chairman Jessica Corner said: ‘We think fewer people will drop out of courses under a student loan system because they will have more finances.’

The Treasury did not provide a comment. 

Visit on Wednesday for full reaction to the spending review. 


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