Veterinary Schools Council to ensure that students are able to apply for a loan to cover extra-mural studies
Over the past year, the Veterinary Schools Council has been in discussions with the Student Loans Company about the most effective way to administer student maintenance loans for veterinary students.
Students studying veterinary medicine are required by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to carry out extra-mural studies. Until now, this has not been covered during the assessments for student maintenance loans, partly due to the differences in patterns of each student’s programme. Following discussions with the Student Loans Company and students and their families at the University of Liverpool, the veterinary school was able to register its degree as a long course. This meant that maintenance loans automatically included additional funding for the extra weeks of extra-mural studies, as part of the means-tested assessment.
The Student Loans Company and the Department for Education have announced that providers should be able to include the extra-mural studies within the student loans applications as they see fit. Extra-mural studies are an integral part of the veterinary medicine course and is therefore eligible for any applicable student funding. It has been agreed that the optimal way to ensure that veterinary students have a sufficient living costs loan to cover their course is to allow any veterinary school in the UK to register its veterinary medicine degree as a long course, including the average number of weeks of extra-mural studies.
For students domiciled in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, this will mean an entitlement to any additional maintenance support associated with studying on a long course, according their individual circumstances. These loans are means tested and therefore will automatically be allocated as part of the loan assessment. For further information on the relevant nations additional support for long-course loans, please see the following websites:
This is now being processed by UK veterinary schools. It is hoped this move will help veterinary students to be financially secure for the duration of their course. The Veterinary School Council recognises the additional financial requirements of studying veterinary medicine compared to some other courses, and is helping the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to carry out a wider review of extra-mural studies and how best to ensure that veterinary students meet the high standard of graduate outcomes.
The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) has confirmed that additional funding for long courses is not applicable to Scottish students. As part of a review of the Scottish student support system in 2012, the maximum level of funding available to Scottish-domiciled students was increased significantly, but the package was made the same for all undergraduate courses. Therefore, additional maintenance funding is not deemed necessary for Scottish students studying longer courses such as veterinary medicine.