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Scottish Medical Students Facing 'Extreme Levels Of Debt'

Oct 16, 2007
Medical students in Scotland could be set for some of the most pronounced debt difficulties of people within the profession, the publication of a new set of figures intimates.

In research released by the British Medical Association (BMA), those studying in the country are set to leave university with a typical debt of more than 16,000 pounds - some 50 per cent higher than the average graduate. Meanwhile, after the first year of their education in Scotland, students owe some 5,000 pounds.

In a nationwide survey of over 1,700 British medical students, the BMA showed that 55 per cent of respondents have a bank overdraft averaging some 1,426 pounds, with six out of ten with at least one credit card in which they are some 967 pounds in the red.

Although the typical undergraduate is shown to receive financial support from their parents, while 51 per cent of medical students have worked during term-time, the BMA chief asserted that the nature of training for a career in the profession means that it is often more difficult for students to undertake work.

In addition, the majority (54 per cent) of such students rely on either loans, grants or bursaries to supplement their funding. And with students facing such difficulties with managing their money while in education, they could also be set to struggle in serving other areas of their spending in later life, for example personal loans and overdrafts.

Commenting on the figures, Anna Riemen, chair of the BMA's Scottish Medical Students Committee, said: "The prospect of graduating with such extreme levels of debt is a huge deterrent for individuals who aspire to a career in medicine. A large number of medical students rely on financial support from friends or family but for some this is just not possible. A career in medicine should be determined by academic ability, not affordability."

Although Miss Riemen welcomed moves by the government to abolish the graduate endowment scheme to help alleviate the financial pressures felt by students, she asserted that "it is only a small part of the overall debt burden on students and the wider issue of student debt needs to be addressed".

The BMA chair also reported that those medical students outside of Scotland and people doing a second degree also need monetary assistance and - as they are liable to pay tuition costs of up to 2,700 pounds - could be under "even more financial pressure".

Upon graduation, those consumers who find that they are struggling to manage their finances as a result of owing money via various avenues such as credit cards, unsecured loans and student borrowing may wish to consider applying for debt consolidation loan. And by taking out such a loan, borrowers may be able to merge all of their existing debts into one low-rate monthly repayment.

Speaking earlier this month, Becky Boden-Wilkes, spokesperson for National Debtline, reported that credit, whether this is through a debt consolidation loan or other means, is there to help Britons through the "ups and downs". However, she suggested that there needs to be more education to help young people develop a more responsible approach to handling their finances in later life.
About the Author
Tom Dawson writes for Essentially Home Loans where visitors can apply for secured loans online, we also specialise in bad credit loans for UK residents. Visit Today: http://www.essentiallyhomeloans.co.uk
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