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Average of £70k debt for med students

5th November 2010

A warning from the British Medical Association suggests medical students could in future be left with almost £70,000 worth of debt upon qualifying.

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The BMA fears that government plans to allow universities and colleges to raise tuition fees will see medical students start work saddled with higher levels of debt than at present.

The warning follows publication of proposals to reform higher education funding by the universities and science minister David Willetts in response to the recent government commissioned review by former BP chief executive Lord Browne.

Under the plans, tuition fees would rise from the current maximum of just over £3,000 a year to £6,000 with some universities being able to charge £9,000.

Karin Purshouse, chair of the BMA’s medical students committee said: “The government’s proposal to potentially treble tuition fees will have a devastating financial impact on thousands of talented young people from low and middle income backgrounds who want to become the doctors of tomorrow.”

Under the current system, the BMA believes most medical students graduate with some £37,000 of debt but proposed changes could see that almost double to £68,000.

“This figure only includes debts incurred from student loans and does not take into account overdrafts, credit cards and professional loans which many students depend on for additional support,” added Ms Purshouse.

Over the next few months, the BMA has vowed to oppose the fee proposals and will urge politicians to look at the possibility of special exceptions being made for expensive courses such as medicine.

 

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