Bursary rejection leaves Dundee students in fear of rising debt

DISTRAUGHT students at a Scottish university say they will rack up thousands of pounds of debt because their course has been extended for a full year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The dental hygiene students at the University of Dundee claim they are being discriminated against as they have been refused a bursary given to the dental students to see them through the extra year.

It means they will have to take out an extra student loan which only covers around half the costs while the dental students are eligible for a bursary of up to £6750 on top of their student loan.

The oral hygiene students have been left reeling after being told their request for a bursary from the Scottish Government had been denied.

In a letter seen by the Sunday National, the dean of the School of Dentistry told the students the Government had refused the University’s pleas to treat them the same as the dental students.

“This is extremely disappointing and frustrating,” said Professor Philip Preshaw, dean of the School of Dentistry.

He said the Government had given no specific reasons, other than saying that they wanted to treat all BSc students in the same way.

Professor Preshaw added: “I would like to confirm that this issue is being discussed at the highest levels in the University, including with the principal and other senior staff, all of whom share the same concerns that we have. I have also had several conversations with the Chief Dental Officer to repeatedly express our concerns on this matter too.”

The University has now requested meetings with local MSPs about the problem.

The students have not only been told their degree course has been extended for an extra year but this term has also been prolonged into July instead of finishing in May – meaning their chances of finding work over the summer has been greatly reduced.

A spokesperson for the students said that while the dental students found out months ago that their course was being extended and bursaries would be available, they had been told just over a month ago that their three year course would now be four.

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