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Why you can still afford to study with Northumbria

There will be huge changes to funding of NHS pre-registration courses for 2017 entry. We will show you how it is more affordable than you think.

Nurse 1Lots of people worry about whether university is affordable. When you earn enough to start repaying your student loan, it's important to know that you would only repay £81 per year, or £6.75 a month - the equivalent of an adult cinema ticket!

From 1 August 2017, new students in England studying nursing, midwifery and AHP pre-registration courses (which lead on to registration with one of the health professional regulators) will have access to the standard student support package of tuition fee loans and support for living costs, rather than getting an NHS grant. 

The Government is currently consulting on implementation of the changes.


So will I be able to afford to go to university?

It’s important to know that you don’t have to pay money upfront: tuition and living cost loans work like a tax on earnings above a certain amount and aren’t like a commercial loan or a payday loan:

  • When you make an application to the Student Loans Company your tuition fees will be automatically transferred over, so you are not involved in the process.

  • You only start paying back your student loan when you earn anything above 21k and it is paid back automatically, but if your income drops the repayments stops.

  • Your loan gets written off 30 years after you become eligible to repay.

What could I get in terms of living cost support under the new system?

Under the new student support system, students are eligible for a range of means tested loans to support for longer than average student year. There are also special allowances for childcare, adult dependents and parents’ allowance, these are bursaries and do not need to be repaid. Living support is significantly higher under the new loans system, for the maximum claim under the current figures:

  • Students inside London and living away from the parental home: the maximum amount of living cost support per year would increase from £8,750 to £12,058 (a 38% increase).

  • Students outside of London and living away from the parental home: the maximum amount of living cost support per year would increase from £6,975 to £9,256 (a 33% increase); • Students living in the parental home: the maximum amount of living cost support per year would increase from £5,623 to £7,588 (a 35% increase).

I’ve got kids: what about help with childcare?

Under the new system, the childcare allowance, which is a grant not a loan, is more generous than the old NHS bursary rules:

  • In both systems, you can claim up to 85% of the maximum rate.

  • For one child, this is currently a maximum of £155.24 per week on the general HE system, compared to a maximum of £128.78 per week on the NHS Bursary system.

  • For two or more children, this is currently £266.15 per week on the general HE system, compared to £191.45 per week on the NHS Bursary system.

  • There are some particular circumstances in which the allowances under the new system aren’t as high as under the bursary system, specifically if the student has one child dependent but no adult dependent, or if the student has large numbers of children (five or more). The consultation on the implementation of the reforms has highlighted this issue and asked for views on how it might be addressed.

What if I’ve already had a student loan?

It’s not usually possible for students who already have loans from a first degree to access student loans for a second degree at the same or lower qualification level (something called the Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) rule). However, the Government is making these courses exempt to the ELQ rule, meaning that you can access a second set of loans. That might sound daunting but the 9% repayment over the earnings threshold applies even if you’ve got more than one set of loans. So if you take out loans for two degrees you will still pay back 9% not 18%. The rule about the remainder of the loan being written off after 30 years applies from the first loan you take out.

What happens after graduation?

As with other students, if you graduate and earn above a certain amount of money (currently above £21k) you start repaying the loan. You repay 9% of the amount you earn over the £21k and this is usually taken out of your pay packet each month.
There are a lot of myths about whether this is affordable for new graduates. The thresholds and amounts can be altered by the Government but as an indication, at the moment on a Band 5 salary in the NHS of £21.7k (the usual starting salary for new nurses or allied health professionals) you would repay £63 per year, or £5.25 per month – 9% of £700. Any unpaid loan is written off after 30 years from the date you become eligible to repay it.


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