Student nurses at University of Suffolk left struggling after loans error
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A Suffolk student nurse impacted by a national loans blunder has said she is considering selling her car so she can complete her studies.
Hundreds of nursing students across England – including several at the University of Suffolk – have been told their future payments will be cut off or reduced after an administrative error saw them paid too much at the start of the academic year.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has called on the Student Loans Company (SLC) to write off overpayments that range from £600 to £3,900.
Students queried payments but were reassured they were correct, RCN claims, and some are now unable to cover rent and living costs for the rest of the year.
University of Suffolk student nurse Leanne Arnold said: “Since I have been affected by the blockage of my second payment I am having to contemplate selling my car in order to raise finances to continue my course.
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“I am so upset. I was reassured over and over about how the assessed amount was correct even though it was not.
“I just hope they can show some remorse and offer students a solution so they can carry on with their studies.”
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Sam Chenery-Morris, head of nursing and midwifery at the University of Suffolk, said several of her students had been affected.
She added: “The amounts overpaid, in cases reported to our student services, range from a few hundred to a couple of thousand pounds and the university is doing the best it can in supporting these students.
“With the Students’ Union we have offered drop in sessions alongside our existing appointment system.
“We met with students today and will continue to do so.”
Helen Maw, RCN Eastern senior officer for Suffolk, said the largest overpayments were made to the poorest students who received means-tested grants.
She added: “This issue is causing incredible anguish among the students affected at a time when they are trying to focus on their studies and forthcoming exams.”
Teresa Budrey, RCN Eastern regional director, said students nurses already faced financial challenges as the placements they undertook as part of their studies meant they were unable to take on paid work.
An SLC spokesman said: “We are investigating exactly how this error occurred and we are in contact with the students and institutions affected to make them aware.
“We do not want any affected students to suffer hardship as a result of this issue and will use our discretionary powers to defer the recovery action, if appropriate.”
Impacted students can email: firstname.lastname@example.org