Exclusive: Nursing students increasingly relying on hardship funds

The financial plight of nursing students is expected to get even worse if bursaries are axed, unions warn
Food banks

Millions of pounds are being paid to debt-ridden nursing students to prevent them from dropping out of university courses.

Data exclusively obtained by shows £5.2 million in discretionary funding has been handed out since 2013.

In total, 36 universities in England said that 6,573 nursing students resorted to hardship grants between September 2013 and March 2016.

Hand to mouth

Unison head of nursing Gail Adams says: ‘Most nursing students are living hand to mouth. Hardship funds can make all the difference.’

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe says student funding problems – and the end of the student bursary in 2017 – are a ‘workforce time bomb’ for the NHS.

Mr Jarrett-Thorpe says: ‘Using hardship funds is a temporary solution, and what we need is to properly fund our students. Hardship funds are a last resort – they are not loans and they


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