Ill Feeling

Health Science students have criticised the University in a new survey about travel costs to and from work placements.

A total of 149 students completed the survey, which has shown that a dramatic majority of participants struggle to pay the travel costs required for their work placements.

56% of students had to pay for their travel costs using their personal overdraft, whilst a further 44% did not know whether they had made use of their department’s own travel advance scheme.

For those using such schemes, 34% of students received reimbursement for their travel costs between seven and eight weeks after submitting their claim forms to the department.

The high costs of travel to work placements and the time taken by the NHS Bursary Unit to reimburse the costs, has angered students.
One student commented: “Travel expense costs and the problems they cause are a serious issue for health-care students and a better system needs to be in place to help with these costs.”

Another added: “Seven to eight weeks is too long for travel expenses to come back to students. Myself and other students have had weeks where something has to give ‘food or travel’. It’s not right that we should have to make that choice!”

The survey revealed that many students feel financially unable to continue with their course due to the hefty costs of travelling
Another student told Vision: “My monthly income is lower than my travel expenses, and thus I am having to quit my course despite being academically and vocationally capable.

“It’s crushing to be told this, as it’s impossible to find part-time work when my placement hours do not allow this. To be sent to a placement which is pretty much inaccessible by public transport takes away five hours of my time each weekday.”

Indeed, a number of other students have expressed their frustration at the current system, with another student telling Vision their costs mean “paying my rent and living costs are a struggle.”

Students seeking financial advice can visit the Support Office in Market Square, or contact them on 01904 324043.