Eight hundred NHS-funded students from 20 universities have been told that loan instalments expected next week will be reduced or withheld entirely after overpayments ranging from £600 to £6,000 were made earlier in the year. Students who queried the amounts with the Student Loans Company earlier in the year received false reassurances the amounts were correct.
The administrative errors have left many concerned over rent and living costs for the next six months and some feel forced to quit their courses.
Rupert Davies, a nursing student in London, said:
"On top of being a busy student nurse, I am also the main caregiver to two young children and I am worried about the devastating effect that a considerable reduction in payments will have on my family.
“Hospital placements and high childcare costs mean I am unable to take on extra paid work so I may have to consider whether or not I can remain on my course as a result of the error."
The errors came to light as the number of applications from would-be trainee nurses continued to fall.
Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said:
“When we face such significant nursing shortages, trainees should be supported and encouraged. The Government can ill-afford to have even more turn away from the profession. A sharp reduction in loan payments could have a catastrophic effect on limited student budgets and drive some to leave their studies.”