The Government has announced that they will give ‘immediate help’ to students, including student nurses, who have been affected by the Student Loans Company’s overpayment error.
Education secretary Sam Gyimah announced that those impacted by overpayments will not have to pay back the money until after they have finished their course.
Any students who have suffered hardship as a result of the error – where loan payments have been stopped altogether due to previous overpayments – will be able to apply for a £1,000 non-repayable fund.
Mr Gyimah said his priority was to help those who may endure hardship as a result.
He said: ‘These short-term, practical steps will provide immediate help for those who need it so they can concentrate on their studies and their future careers without concern.’
But RCN chief executive Janet Davies said the intervention from the Government was ‘not enough’.
‘This is a small but welcome recognition of the problem. But it does not go anything like far enough. Student nurses will still struggle to pay bills and childcare costs and they must not be forced to turn to loan sharks or even quit their studies as a result.
‘This was not a problem of their making and we will not let them pay the price. The overpayment mistakes must be written off and they need money this month without a bureaucratic nightmare.’
It was revealed back in March that NHS-funded students had received overpayments from the Student Loans Company due to an ‘administrative error’. To reclaim the money, they decided to withhold loan payments until September, leaving affected students with no further income for the remainder of the academic year.
Responding to questions from Conservative MP Gary Streeter, Mr Gyimah disclosed that the error affected more than 800 students across 20 different universities.