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Health Professions: Training

Question for Department for Education

UIN 67792, tabled on 1 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of abolishing student-funded tuition fees for (a) nursing, (b) midwifery and (c) allied healthcare students from the academic year 2020-21.

Answered on

10 July 2020

The current system for funding tuition fees for nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students has enabled us to open up the number of training places that universities can offer in these professions and to increase the amount of living costs support available.

From September 2020, eligible new and continuing nursing, midwifery and many allied health professional students on pre-registration courses at English universities will also receive an additional new non-repayable grant of £5,000 to contribute to their living costs. Funding up to a further £3,000 is also available for students who choose to study in an area or a specialism that is struggling to recruit students or for helping students with childcare costs. This funding is in addition to the support that students can already access through the student loans system and the existing learning support fund, which includes funding for childcare, travel and exceptional hardship.

The government has also recently announced that the maximum loan for living costs will be increased by 2.9% for the 2020/21 academic year. It will be up to £9,203 for eligible full-time undergraduate students living away from home and studying outside London (loan amounts are higher in London).

Maximum tuition fees for undergraduate courses, and the subsidised fee loans available from the government to pay them, will remain at £9,250 for a standard full-time undergraduate course in the 2020/21 academic year. This is the third year in succession maximum fees have been frozen.

Loans for tuition fees and living costs only need to be repaid from the statutory repayment date. For most undergraduate students, the statutory repayment date is the April after students finish their course. Monthly repayments are linked to income, not to interest rates or the amount borrowed. Repayments, which are calculated at 9%, are only on amounts earned over the repayment threshold, which is currently annually £26,575. Borrowers are protected, as their repayments decrease if their income decreases, with outstanding debt written off after 30 years.