I attended a talk last night entitled “how to fund your way through medical school”. I (perhaps naively) thought that it might offer some helpful suggestions on how to access funds and apply for bursaries that I hadn’t heard of, maybe some useful tips in how to approach companies etc.
Although the talk had some interesting content it did not actually offer any advice for people in my situation, i.e. graduates on the 5 year medicine course.
In case you aren’t aware, graduates are NOT entitled to a tuition fee loan from student loans company (regardless of whether or not they had one for their previous degree- I did not!)
Graduates are required to pay the £9000 fees up front every year.
Neither are they entitled to apply for the bursaries and grants available from the universities themselves, as these are only for undergraduates.
When I raised this during the Q&A session at the talk, it was if this group of medical students hadn’t even been considered. True, there aren’t many of us – BECAUSE IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO FUND! but no-one had any help to offer, other than look at websites and ask people.
The thing is, none of us are looking for hand-outs we only want to be able to borrow the money. We will pay it back.
Many of us don’t know how we are going to fund our full 5 years and it is such an added pressure (especially with having a family as well) on top of a ridiculously stressful degree.
It isn’t just the fees, travel to placements, books, equipment it all adds up. It is just such a shame that when medicine talks about widening access to people from less privileged backgrounds that they don’t consider how to help graduates.
Being a graduate doesn’t mean you are from a privileged background (I did an OPEN UNI degree from home over 5 years as I hadn’t any A-levels and this was my only way to apply for medicine).
Medicine is missing out on some wonderful people, people who have had life experiences and are in a much better position to be able to communicate with patients.
And it is still missing out on some fantastic young people who wouldn’t even consider medicine to be an option simply because of money.
So come on medicine, please. Lets have a really wide variety and diversity of doctors. Lets not make money the barrier to entering this profession.