Your views

Readers panel: Will expenses payments take the sting out of student loans?

It is likely that nursing bursaries will be scrapped next year, despite widespread opposition. A number of concessions have been announced, including £1,000 each year towards childcare costs and up to £303 of travel expenses, but is this enough? 

It is likely that nursing bursaries will be scrapped next year, despite widespread opposition. A number of concessions have been announced, including £1,000 each year towards childcare costs and up to £303 of travel expenses, but is this enough?


Joe Somerville (@JASomerville), second-year learning disability nursing student, Edinburgh Napier University
Joe Somerville
Joe Somerville

The Department of Health has confirmed that bursaries will be scrapped from next year. Despite the childcare concessions, this is still a truly unfathomable decision.

It is deeply frustrating to hear the government's unlikely theory that prospective students will be turning up in droves to pay the exorbitant fees. It’s hardly as though a nurse's salary is suitable compensation.

Being a nursing student is incredibly demanding, and hiking up the cost of training could soon mean there is no demand at all for student places.


Sarah-Louise Flowers, cardiac nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London
Sarah-Louise Flowers
Sarah-Louise Flowers

Let’s be frank – of course it won’t. Although £1,000 seems like a generous sum, it will not go far to help with childcare costs once the time pressures of a nursing degree are considered. And £303 to help with travel costs would pay for less than 10 weeks of travel for students in central London. Every little helps, but it won’t stretch very far.

I'm afraid that the lack of financial support is going to severely affect nursing applications: long hours, sleep deprivation and massive debts, coupled with the prospect of a static salary on qualifying, is not terribly appealing.


Grant Byrne (@GGByrne) will be resuming his nursing studies later this year
Grant Byrne
Grant Byrne

This news is disappointing, but not surprising. This fight is far from over though. Hard work from students and nursing unions has won some key concessions and as the affect of these reforms is felt we are likely to see further changes.
Our attention must now return to pay. Nursing unions should harness the anger so many are feeling and push for a pay rise.

With doctors and teachers already up in arms, the government can ill afford further strikes from key professions. If nurses unite and take action now, maybe we'll get some results.


Beverley Ramdeen, senior lecturer in adult nursing, University of Hertfordshire
Beverley Ramdeen
Beverley Ramdeen

Scrapping the bursary is short-sighted. Students who receive this are already facing financial hardship, and the prospect of taking out a loan – which could mount up to as much as £50,000 by the end of the course – may lead to fewer candidates applying for nursing places.

The NHS already has too few nurses, and fewer new recruits will have an affect on the NHS workforce, leading to an increasing reliance on agency and bank staff.

The concessions for childcare costs and travel expenses are simply not enough. They will not take the sting out of loans and nursing students will continue to face financial hardship.

This article is for subscribers only

Jobs