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Vets Concerned About Lord Browne Report

Responding to the higher education review by Lord Browne in the run-up to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, the British Veterinary Association raises concerns about the impact of the reforms on young people studying longer degree courses such as veterinary medicine.

The British Veterinary Association President Harvey Locke said:

“The proposals would put a heavy burden on veterinary graduates starting their careers just above the income threshold suggested by Lord Browne. After a five to six year course veterinary graduates would take many more years to pay off the larger than average debt that would accumulate under these proposals.

“Despite the Government’s likely protestations of fairness, it is unfair that young people should be saddled with over £30,000 debt in course fees alone simply for choosing a career in veterinary science. And that’s before any interest rates increase the amount
 
“Veterinary students are already unable to earn money during the vacations because of the extra mural studies (EMS) requirements and actually incur costs for EMS.

“The BVA has been raising concerns about student debt for some time. Costs for a veterinary degree add up quickly and graduates would be left with a mountain of debt when they start working in their chosen career.

“These proposals are unlikely to help the profession widen its appeal when it already attracts a narrow demographic.”

Jennifer Hall, President of the Association of Veterinary Students (AVS), and final year student at Nottingham Veterinary School, said:

“Veterinary science students are already paying more than others because our degree course is at least 5 years long.

“By removing the cap on fees the Government could put the veterinary science option out of reach for many school leavers.

“According to the 2009 AVS survey, over 35% of students rate their financial difficulty as either difficult or severe. 55% believe themselves to be suffering from stress and attribute 22% of their stress to financial difficulties. 

“Instead of going into a highly paid job at the end of it most newly graduated vets will not expect to earn much more than the threshold for repayment, so the burden of repaying fees will be felt disproportionately by us.”

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