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to be confused about admissions policy for NHS-funded postgrad courses?

(7 Posts)
JessieMcJessie Thu 08-Jan-15 11:46:11

I'd love it if someone who either works in University admissions or in the NHS could explain the policy reasons behind this to me.

Certain UK postgrad courses for jobs as healthcare professionals (dieticians, chiropodists, speech therapists for example) have their tuition fees funded by the NHS.

However, to be eligible to have your tuition fees paid you must have been been resident in the UK or EEA for 3 years before the first day of the course. British citizenship is not relevant here - a British citizen who has spent a period of time in the last three years working abroad outside the EEA will not qualify. (there are some limited exceptions if the absence was "temporary" as defined by them).

So far so logical, really: why should the British taxpayer pay for someone who might disappear off abroad again after graduating? And Brits who have worked abroad have probably not been paying UK tax for that time.

But here's the part that confuses me: these postgrad courses have a number of places available on them for international students who will self fund. But many of the Universities will not award places to British students who are ready and willing to self fund by paying the same fees as the international students. I have checked with at least one Uni, who have been very clear that anyone with British citizenship cannot count as international even if they have been living outside the UK for many years.

Now, I'm not saying that they are being unreasonable, but I am baffled why Universities are bothered whether their full fee-paying students are British or international? Is this because they have a duty to create a multicultural student environment? Or does it somehow create inequality amongst British students?

To be clear, I am not talking about buying one's way in with lesser qualifications by the way, I am working on the basis that all students on the course, NHS-funded, British fee-paying or International fee-paying have the same academic merits.

Can anyone who knows about education funding policy shed any light?

MaybeDoctor Thu 08-Jan-15 13:48:01

I don't know about the residency requirements, but I think the reason for not allowing British students to self-fund is because they want to match the flow of qualified students with the availability of the necessary training places in the NHS.

Mumzy Thu 08-Jan-15 14:00:02

The main constraint on these courses is the clinical training element of the course. Most NHS trusts can only offer a small number of them per year as they take up a lot of working staff time to train and supervise students on the job. Nowadays there are almost no non uk/ eu students on these courses

JessieMcJessie Thu 08-Jan-15 15:48:50

That makes sense on one level, but couldn't it just be addressed by fixing the number of places on the course to match the training places, without specifying whether the places have to be filled by NHS funded or self funders? If it turns out there are some self funders amongst those who make the academic grade, the NHS benefits as it pays out less.

plecofjustice Thu 08-Jan-15 16:13:35

There are also fundability rules about home students. Assuming you meet fundability criteria, you are considered fundable, regardless of whether you choose to self fund or not. The penalties for recruiting too many fundable students can be severe.

There's no mechanism for a fundable student to rescind their fundability.

In contrast, overseas students are never fundable, so are limited by the constraints imposed by the university.

See the HEFCE website for more information

GraysAnalogy Thu 08-Jan-15 22:31:11

It's a strange one.

The first self funded nurse training course is being launched now to combat the shortage, doubt it'll extend to other areas yet but I have no idea.

GraysAnalogy Thu 08-Jan-15 22:32:56

No idea why

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