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O’Neill voices concerns over Medical Students debt

30 May, 2008

Sinn Féin's Health Spokesperson, Michelle O'Neill MLA, the deputy chair of the Assembly Health Committee, speaking after it was revealed that Medical students in the North of Ireland are having a much tougher time financially than their counterparts in England, Wales and Scotland has said it is a matter of huge concern.

Ms O'Neill stated:

"It has been revealed that students, who have already done a first degree, are not entitled to NHS bursaries available to students in England, Scotland and Wales. The average debt for medical students is more than £20,000 and is predicted to double in the next few years.

"This has a negative impact on our students, particularly with more and more students working during their studies and on the high levels of students dropping out of college.

"We cannot afford to have a two tier education system with students from low income families being disenfranchised from taking up university courses, because they can't afford the course they want to do. There must also be an acknowledgement that an increasing number of students are now in debt with government student loans, bank overdrafts, credit cards and personal loans." ENDS

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