Medical students from low income backgrounds are graduating over £13,000 more in debt than their better off peers, says a new report from the British Medical Association (BMA). 02/11/2011
The results from the survey also indicate that the number of students from the lowest income brackets in medical school has declined in the past 12 months from 14% to 11%.
According to the report the average medical student debt on graduation has risen from £23,909 to £24,092. However, those from lower income brackets are graduating with a projected debt of £37,588, up from £26,324 in the past 12 months.
The findings are revealed in the BMA’s Medical Student Finance Survey 2010/11 which surveyed more than 2,800 medical students and raises concerns about the government’s plans to widen access to medicine from low income groups.
‘Medical students are now facing extremely high levels of graduation debt. Many are clearly heavily dependent on financial support from their families and friends to get through the intensive, five to six year medical course,’ says Elly Pilavachi, co-chair of the BMA’s Medical Student Committee and a medical student from Brighton.
‘Ministers are running the risk of restricting access to medicine to those with the ability to pay rather than the talent to succeed. As someone from a modest background who is struggling under the current fee regime I would have thought twice about going to medical school if I had to cope with the predicted £70,000 worth of debt that many medical students could face under the new fee regime from next year,’ she added.
The rise in student debt means that according to the report 44% of medical students are relying on financial assistance from relatives and friends, averaging £3,702 a year. If your family aren't able to help then take a look at our money section for advice on budgeting, saving and managing debt.
If the debt hasn't put you off, find out more about working in the health industry.
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