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09.04.18

RCN calls for nursing student loan overpayments to be written off

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has called on the education secretary to investigate and write off loan overpayments made to students.

Last month it was revealed that administrative errors that resulted in loan overpayments meant that many student nurses would not receive any further loan payments this year.

Around 800 NHS-funded students from 20 universities have been told that their next loan instalment will be either reduced or withheld entirely following overpayments ranging from £600 to £6,000 earlier in the year.

According to the RCN, the errors have left many concerned over rent and living costs for the next six months, and some feel forced to quit their courses.

Janet Davies, its chief executive and 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.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are aware of the issue and we are investigating as a matter of urgency.

Our priority is to support those affected by the overpayments. We will be taking steps to minimise financial hardship to students affected by the error, and students affected are encouraged to contact the Student Loans Company.”

A Student Loan Company spokesperson added: “We do not want anyone to suffer hardship as a result of a reduced entitlement and will use our discretionary powers to defer the recovery action, where appropriate.”

Top image: artpipi

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