Hundreds of student nurses affected by loan error
Students have been overpaid by hundreds and are being told they won't receive their next loan instalment as a result.
Student nurses across nine different universities have been overpaid by hundreds of pounds by the Student Loans Company. As a result, many won't receive their next loan instalment, affecting their ability to pay rent or even remain on their course.
Overpayments range from £600 to £5,000 per person, and the Student Loans Company have told students they won't be receiving any more money this academic year.
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The Royal College of Nursing is supporting students affected by the error and calling for the overpayments to be written off.
Students budget according to loan forecast and a sudden withdrawal of payment can have disastrous results, such as inability to pay rent.
Who's affected and why?
So far it appears that second and third-year nursing students from at least nine different universities are affected, including Derby, Southampton, Suffolk and West London.
The Student Loans Company has not stated exactly how many students are affected, but says it will be contacting students on an individual basis.
Reports suggest the error occurred because the Student Loans Company has failed to take into account the NHS bursary these students still receive. The NHS bursary was scrapped for new students in 2017.
It has also been reported that some students have received grant funding, despite their grant applications being rejected previously.
Poorer students have been affected most, particularly those receiving means-tested grants, mature students and those with children or caring responsibility.
Why was this not picked up on earlier?
Many students are claiming that they had flagged the overpayments up previously and contacted the Student Loans Company, but were told everything was correct.
Speaking to the BBC, third year children's health nurse Jess Champion said:
People say, ‘why didn't we just not spend the money', but last academic year we rang and we checked twice to make sure it was correct.
Emma Moss, from the University of West London, had a similar experience.
When I called the Student Loans Company in September to question my payments, they told me that there was no error. Now they tell me that I owe almost £800 and will not be receiving my next instalment. If they take this money from me, I have no idea what I’m going to do next.
The Student Loans Company has been aware of the problem since January.
Students being told they won't receive their next student loan instalment will now not receive any more money until September, leaving many struggling to budget for rent, bills and other expenses.
How have people responded?
The RCN today revealed that the Student Loans Company is stopping further loan payments to London's nursing students due to an admin error. This is totally unacceptable & will leave those effected in severe financial difficulty over an issue that is no fault of theirs. pic.twitter.com/GXFOJkMAg3
— Bernell Bussue (@BernellRCN) March 16, 2018
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have called on the Student Loans Company to write off the overpayments and continue loan payments as normal, to prevent students falling into financial hardship. RCN chief executive Janet Davies said:
I am very concerned about the considerable amount of distress and disruption this error and subsequent action is causing. Student nurses, or indeed any students, are simply not in a position to cope with a sharp reduction in expected loan payments.
Jessica Sainsbury, a Southampton student who has been affected by the error, suggested many students might have to drop out of the course as a result.
The past couple of weeks turned the world upside down. Some of my peers see no other option than to drop out if they are unsuccessful with the hardship fund application from our university.
As well as being extremely upset, students are shocked at how the Student Loans Company have managed this situation, with information sent in dribs and drabs and some students notified weeks after their peers.
On Twitter, some have noted how this latest gaffe, alongside the scrapping of the NHS bursary, will do nothing to to rectify the UK's nurse shortage
So @Jeremy_Hunt shafts them by scrapping nursing bursaries, makes them pay HIM to work in hospitals whilst training, hits them with 50k of debt & extortionate interest & scratches his head as applicants drop 27% when we have a desperate shortage of nurses https://t.co/UQj539jMSs
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) March 17, 2018
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