…while graduate debt levels keep on rising

The BMA is calling for graduate medical students to be allowed to defer fee payments until the end of their course instead of paying top-up fees of £3,000 at the start of each academic year.

Students are already carrying debts of up to £53,000, the association’s student finance survey has revealed. For graduate students under the top-up system, average debts of £21,755 could rise by over 50 per cent.  

‘Graduates should be on a level playing field with undergraduate students,’ said Emily Rigby, chairman of the Medical Students Committee.  

Undergraduates pay their fees back on qualification.  

High debt levels and the need to find significant sums to pay for medical education are threatening the government’s aims of increasing numbers of UK- origin doctors specially from lower income groups, the association says.  

‘People who would have added a lot to the profession are going to think twice before applying,’ Ms Rigby said.  

The full impact of top-up fees on graduate students may be still to come as applicants realise what they are letting themselves in for, she added.  

Only one student in eight came from a blue-collar income family, the BMA survey found.  

Debts are rising year on year and levels among this summer’s graduates averaged more than their first year’s pay, the survey showed.  

More than one student in eight had debts of over £25,000, while one student owed £53,350.

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