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NHS Bursaries for 5th/6th year Medics

(18 Posts)
lesstressy Sun 22-Oct-17 12:17:22

We're trying to plan ahead and understand how much support the DC will need for their 5th and 6th years at Medical school, assuming the arrangements stay the same.

I tested the NHS bursary calculator with some hypothetical figures and it came up with this:

Bursary Calculation Breakdown
Basic Award
£2,643.00
Extra Weeks Allowance
£1,176.00
Dependants Allowance
£0.00
Parental Learning Allowance
£0.00
Total Gross
£3,819.00
Contributions
£5,754.00
Non Means Tested Grant
£1,000.00
Total Net
£1,000.00
Placement Expenses Contribution
£0.00

I know this means that DC will only get £1000 non-means tested grant and they/ we will have to find the rest somehow, but does this mean we as parents are expected to contribute £5754 per year or is it worse and they expect us to contribute £5754 + £3819 = £9373 per year?
I think DC can get a reduced student loan, (reduced as they are expected to get an NHS bursary and will be minimum student loan anyway due to means-testing).

Has anyone been through this recently?
Yes, I know the DC should be doing this and they will but they have a tendency to leave things to the last minute and we need to plan ahead.

New parents of aspiring doctors beware- Medicine is a very expensive business (particularly if you have a household income of over £62000!) Clinical students only have 4 weeks holiday in the Summer and 2 weeks at Christmas and Easter so very limited opportunities to earn extra money after the first couple of years.

Arrowminta Sun 22-Oct-17 12:51:37

Yes and no. There was lot's of help for us due to low household income so not the same as your situation.

We were worried as thought funding would be reduced in years 4 and 5 and I couldn't contribute but went to the university and they helped bridge the gap in lost money.

It doesn't seem right that funding should be reduced does it? Maybe a student loan could top it up.

lesstressy Sun 22-Oct-17 13:10:50

Thanks Arrowminta, it does seem very complicated. I'm glad your DC managed to plug the gap in funding.

I've just found some information on the BMA website- it has a booklet explaining everything though it's a little out of date (2014).

www.bma.org.uk/advice/work-life-support/your-finances-and-protection/medical-student-finance/england

It looks as though the "contributions" line on the NHS bursary calculator is a glitch in their system. DC will get the minimum, which will be the £1000 non-means tested grant and then the flat rate reduced student finance loan from SFE which I think is the same for everyone- it is currently £2324.

So DC will get a total of £3324 to pay for 44+ weeks rent and living expenses in years 5 and 6. Wow.

Arrowminta Sun 22-Oct-17 13:30:23

I thought maintenance loan was at a reasonable level for all students but the sliding scale based on household income isn't great. Sorry I'm out of touch as it's nearly over for us.

At least the NHS funding isn't added to the scary debt.

peteneras Sun 22-Oct-17 13:52:22

Your DC won't be paying 44+ weeks rent in the 5th and 6th year. If anything, s/he is going to save quite substantially on rent in the final 2 years as they'll be put on placements at district hospitals all over the place usually with free accommodation. My DC never asked for more money - instead, I had to ask him if he had enough and he always said Yes.

lesstressy Sun 22-Oct-17 14:03:21

Thanks Arrowminta and Peteneras.

Arrowminta- my understanding now is that the NHS grant of £1000 is flat rate and non-means tested, the student finance England is also flat rate and non-means tested (unlike for the first 3 years) but the main NHS bursary is means-tested. I should have said 'my DC', rather than just 'DC', will get the minimum. Sorry for any confusion!

Peteneras- how did that work for your DC? My DC1 (just started clinical) has had to rent a house in their uni town for the year with other medics and although they do have placerments with free accommodation (DC1 has just had a one month placement at a disctrict hospital) this is interspersed with weeks back in the uni town so it wouldn't be possible for them to rent for less time. Unless this changes significantly for the final 2 years?
Their housemates are also on placements at different times e.g. some of them have just finished a placement but others have been in the house for a month and are about to go on a month's placement themselves now.

It would be great if they don't need to rent a house for the year, but I'm not sure how that would work?
Did your DC just move from placement to placement without a "base" house to live in?

Arrowminta Sun 22-Oct-17 14:34:48

Mine had placements within commuting distance last year but free accommodation this year. It was only for 5 months so kept the flat share on in university town which is wasteful but saves the headache of having to find temporary accommodation before exams.

peteneras Sun 22-Oct-17 19:51:20

Sorry OP, I didn't quite make that clear as my son's situation was quite different from most of the medics in general. DC went to a medical school in Central London and had a choice of either to live at home with his parents (less than an hour's tube ride away on the same tube line) or to live outside in private accommodation nearer the uni (not eligible for uni accommodation). When he first started in Yr 1, he decided to live away from home and ended up in a purpose-built private commercial students accommodation just 3 tube stops away from where we live. In spite of the astronomical rent (greater than my annual mortgage) I didn't discourage him as I thought he deserved everything he wanted for having succeeded in going to med school in an exceptionally competitive year - this being the last year at the old uni tuition fee before the big increase from £3000 to £9000 the following year. In other words, his success meant us saving £6000 in tuition fees annually for the next 6 years.

DS shared a house much nearer the uni from the 2nd year onwards for the next three years moving from one house to another in different years and with different friends. By the end of the 4th year, it became evident that different individuals had different programmes, each going their own way to different placements, etc.

The final two clinical years involved time spent away from London at different district hospitals at longer periods i.e. one term at one particular hospital and only coming back to London occasionally for special lectures, etc. Some even went overseas for their electives. Needless to say, DS found it more practical and cheaper to stay at home in this latter stages of his medical training which also involved visiting GP surgeries in London. By now I had given up asking him anything about his work/studies etc. as he seemed to be very busy running from one place to another. All I remember is sending him to various places in different parts of the country and bringing him home again after sometime. And as if by magic, an official letter suddenly dropped in the letter box one fine morning in June this year addressed to him as 'Dr XXX'

Wow! Suddenly it drawn on me, all that anxieties, worries, stress, etc. throughout the years have now come to an abrupt end! Is it all worth it? Most difinitely!

goodbyestranger Sun 22-Oct-17 21:55:35

OP my DS is at Oxford in his 6th year and has had to live in rented accommodation for his 4th, 5th and 6th years. His placements don't cost extra in rent but he still has to pay rent in Oxford. Money has been very tight but he worked at a cafe to earn enough to get by despite his other commitments. He's due to go on a ten week placement to a very exotic location in the early part of next year but will still need to pay Oxford rent. I've told him that I'll reimburse him for the cost of this ten week placement as soon as I'm able since I feel it's extremely well deserved (for the moment the air fares etc are paid on credit). Money is not flush for 5th and 6th years from normal or low income families, especially those who can't live at home.

Decorhate Mon 23-Oct-17 07:17:46

OP I had understood that 5th & 6th year students more or less ended up with same amount of maintenance overall but the student loan was reduced by the amount they received via the NHS bursary. I think I had a thread about this a while back.

awishes Mon 23-Oct-17 07:23:25

2016 entrants will be the last intake to receive the NHS grant for Years 5 and 6 won't they?

goodbyestranger Mon 23-Oct-17 09:15:57

All I know is that DS1's situation in Y5 and Y6 is significantly worse than previously Decorhate.

Daisy62 Mon 23-Oct-17 09:44:29

We've found that's it's a difficult situation financially. Our son got the minimum student loan in the early years (about £3500), due to our income being just over the threshhold. We paid his rent and he lived on the loan, plus work in the holidays.

In year 5, he gets the £1000 non-means tested bursary, plus the reduced minimum loan for yr 5-6 medical students, £2324. That gives him £3324 for the year. No one seems able to explain why the loan is reduced by more than the bursary.

But he has to pay 48 weeks rent this year, to reflect the number of weeks he'll be in residence (Cambridge, so the norm is to live in the medic hall, and it's reasonable value) plus his living expenses. So he has less money to cover a lot more weeks, and doesn't have the holiday weeks for working that he used to have.

Unlike students who are entitled to the higher rate of bursary/loan (ie. lower parental income), he is not eligible for extra weeks allowance or for travel costs to and from placement. Cambridge will help students who are in financial need, but not students who are not in financial need according to their parental income... and that's perfectly fair.

His situation is not the same as the poster above, who described her child moving around and not needing permanent accommodation.

It would be fairer if he could borrow more from student finance, but he can't. It's capped at £2324. We will consider whether we can give him more (we'll probably cover the extra weeks rent), but it makes it difficult when there are other children in the family to consider too. Possibly we will lend him the extra and he can pay it back as if we were student finance (but without the interest).

We were happy to subsidise him in the first three years, as that's the system and we can afford it, but I do think he should be able to borrow more from student finance now that he does the extra weeks and has travel expenses.

The BMA have commented on this issue, but have not been able to bring about any changes.

goodbyestranger Mon 23-Oct-17 10:03:32

Yes daisy, it's a real problem for DC like ours.

lesstressy Mon 23-Oct-17 10:15:49

Daisy - DC1 is in exactly the same situation (same uni, though I've not heard about the medic hall, mine is in a houseshare). I do now have a much better understanding of what they should get next year, thanks, and it is worrying. We have another medic child to support as well and goodness knows what will be available by the time they get to fifth year.
It is situations like this which makes the mantra "anyone can afford to go to Uni" such nonsense.

Peteneras and Arrowminta - your Dc were lucky to have the option to commute for some of the time- no chance for ours unfortunately as we are several hours away. Congratulations on your son's graduation P, it's nice to hear it is all worth it in the end!

goodbye stranger- An exotic elective sounds great, I hope your DS has a fabulous time. They work so hard to get to that point don't they?

alreadytaken Mon 23-Oct-17 11:20:38

Mine moved for their clinical years so is in London and there are many complaints from the students about being worse off in year 5, year 6 will be worse as they have their electives. Most do go abroad and we are budgeting on £5k. There are cheaper options but not many of them and students who have an idea about future specialty may want to chose an elective with that in mind so more limited choices.

There seem to be more possibilities for work in term time in London for those who are prepared to take them up but the financial pressures are perhaps why students dont always attend lectures/ turn up at hospital when they should.

I believe some London students rent out their rooms when off on their elective but even if they can manage it that has risks. Renting through spare room and giving the room up while away might be an option, most students can couch surf with friends for a week or two. Giving up a room for placements isnt likely to be an option for those without a family home to go back to.

For those whose non-medic friends have started work there is also the pressure to join in with things they cant afford. It's a tough couple of years and why all aspiring medics should earn as much as they can before they get to these years.

Once they graduate there are still going to be years that are not well paid with fees for specialty exams, possibly house moves if they cant get the location they want.

The Army has sometimes helped those with no family support into medicine, I'm not sure if they are recruiting now.

Daisy62 Mon 23-Oct-17 11:39:37

lestressy, I think they're usually referred to as medic houses actually - houses just for medical students. AFAIK most of them live there, but I'm not sure if they're college specific or for all the colleges. The 48 weeks is a big jump from 26 weeks rent - although I know they are lucky at Cambridge to only have paid 26 weeks in yrs 1-3. I wish it had been made clearer to us at the outset, as I would have advised my son to try to save some money for the leaner years, but we didn't realise the loan would be so low and the no. of weeks rent so high in the later years.

goodbyestranger Mon 23-Oct-17 11:43:38

Thanks lessstressy yes a ten week elective for these DC is very well deserved. I'm completely happy to wing it on credit for a while to make it happen. It's something I promised ages ago, so I can't let him down. Hope it works out for your DC too.

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