Responding to the Augar Review into post-18 education, Royal College of Nursing Director of Nursing Policy and Practice, Bronagh Scott, said:
"The reduction in fees will only benefit the highest earners and the average nurse could now be paying back their loans for 40 years after graduation.
"While a portion of nursing students might be reassured to see they could qualify for more financial support, it’s hard to see how this would boost the number of people who study nursing.
"However, Augar’s analysis does show that the Government has to do much more to increase the number of students from a wide variety of backgrounds into studying nursing. The upcoming workforce implementation plan for England’s NHS is a prime opportunity for the Government to show that they have taken this on board. This will require the reinvestment of at least £1bn into nursing higher education along with additional credible investment to support the existing and future nursing workforce.
"Since 2016, when the bursary was removed in England, the number of applications to nursing degrees has dropped by almost a third. A nursing degree is a course like no other and the next generation of nurses need tailored assistance to encourage them to start courses and enable them to keep studying. The upcoming workforce implementation plan for England’s NHS must outline how policymakers intend to show nurses they are valued and how to make nursing an increasingly attractive career route and must fully fund this ambition."Ends
Read more about the RCN's campaign for better student funding, Fund Our Future, here