Student nurses will not receive further loan payments this year because of an administrative error.
Students from at least nine universities in England received letters stating that the Student Loads Company (SLC) will not pay further loan instalments, which will affect their personal budgeting until the start of the next academic year in September.
‘Students budget according to loan forecast and a sudden withdrawal of payment can have disastrous results, such as inability to pay rent. This action comes at a critical time when students are studying for exams and projects,’ said Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), in a letter to the SLC.
‘I am very concerned about the considerable amount of distress and disruption this error and subsequent action is causing. Student nurses, or indeed any students, are simply not in a position to cope with a sharp reduction in expected loan payments.’
Payments made to second and third year students had not been adjusted by the SLC for the NHS bursary that they receive. The RCN has called on the SLC to write off the overpayments, which range from £600-£3,900.
Emma Moss, a student at the University of West London, is in the last few months of her degree and says that she’s ‘worried sick’ about being unable to pay for rent, food, and travel.
‘When I called the Student Loans Company in September to question my payments, they told me that there was no error. Now they tell me that I owe almost £800 and will not be receiving my next instalment,’ she said.
‘If they take this money from me, I have no idea what I’m going to do next.’
The universities affected include: Derby, Southampton, Suffolk, and West London.
While some students queried the previous amounts they had been given, and they were assured the amount was correct, the SCL confirmed that they have been aware of the overpayments since January.
The largest overpayments were given to the poorest students, those who receive means-tested grants, mature students without parental support, and those with children and caring responsibilities.
The report, Left to Chance, revealed figures from UCAS showing that the number of undergraduate nursing applications have fallen by a third since 2016. This comes after changes to the funding of nurse training, including the removal of the student bursary.