Nursing students leave university with “nearly £60,000 of debt” after joining the battle against coronavirus

Student nurses who joined the frontline battling for the COVID-19 will continue to be required to pay fees for their final terms, said Minister of Health and Social care.

This comes after the Minister confirmed no plan has been put in place to cover these costs.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced in March that more than 18,000 final-year student nurses “will move to the front line.”

Medical students at the University of Nottingham had an early graduation to join the fight.

Asked what plans to reimburse tuition fees for student nurses volunteering as part of response to the outbreak, Helen Whately, Conservative MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, says that the government is “extremely grateful” to students who are choosing to opt in work in the NHS during the national health crisis and those who do so will all be ensured to be rewarded “fairly” for their hard work.

This issue has raised a lot of reactions from people online. (Source: Twitter)

She added: “Nursing students who opt in will receive a salary and automatic NHS pension entitlement at the appropriate band.

“They will also still receive their student maintenance loan and learning Support Fund payments.”

An online petition demanding the government write off debts for student nurses and abolish future tuition fee has gathered more than 120,000 signatures since it was launched in middle of April.

Jessica Collins, a student nurse from Leicester who stared this petition says, “I am a part of the September 2017 cohort of student nurses. We were the first cohort of student nurses to lose the maintenance bursary and pay the full £9,250 a year tuition fees for the course.”

“We’ve worked every placement hour through our course (upwards of 2,300 hours) for absolutely free, whilst actually paying our own way through the course,” she continues.

“I will leave the university with nearly £60,000 of debt.”

People showed support to nursing students who joined the battle against coronavirus. (Source: Twitter)

Tuition fees of student nurses in England were covered by the government through a bursary, which was cut by the Conservative Party for all nursing students starting on 1 August 2017 onwards.

The government now has introduced a £5,000 annual payment for nursing students on courses from September 2020 to cover living costs, which is not means tested and they will not need to pay back. But students will need to pay around £9,000 a year for tuition.

Jeremy Corbyn, Ex-leader of the Labour party, has also reacted to this. (Source: Twitter)

Nurse and lecturer at University of Essex Vanessa Woodcock-Dennis, from Manningtree, has already signed the petition.

She firmly believes that the current policies should be re-evaluated to stop ‘destroying this profession’.

She added: “No nurse should have to pay tuition fees”.

Victor Benson from London, also a supporter of this petition, said: “Nurse training should return to bursary arrangement and not under student loan, this would attract more people in the profession and the issue of staff shortage would be resolved.”

By Na Qing

Featured photo credit: Pixabay.

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