Exeter University offers students £10,000 and free accommodation for deferring medicine course

22 July 2021, 17:57

Prospective Exeter University students have been offered a cash bursary and free accommodation if they defer a medicine course
Prospective Exeter University students have been offered a cash bursary and free accommodation if they defer a medicine course. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Exeter University medicine students are being offered a £10,000 cash bursary and free accommodation if they delay starting until 2022.

A record number of people have applied to study the course there in the autumn.

The Government caps the number of places on medicine courses, and now the university has offered financial incentives to anyone who defers starting medicine studies until next year.

They will get a guaranteed place in 2022, along with free accommodation and the five-figure bursary.

Professor Mark Goodwin, deputy vice-chancellor for global engagement at the University of Exeter, said: "We've seen a significant upturn in the number of outstanding applicants prioritising the University of Exeter as their first choice for medicine this year.

Read more: More than one million children missed school last week for Covid-related reasons

Read more: School bubbles to end and pupils will only isolate if positive for Covid under new plans

"All medicine student numbers are set by the Government to ensure that we can accommodate everyone in a way that provides a high-quality education and stimulating student experience, as well as safe and secure NHS placements.

"To maximise the choices available to our students, we are offering a range of options, including financial incentives, deferral or studying a post-graduate programme, prior to students commencing their medical studies next year."

The BBC said the number of students applying to Exeter to study medicine was up by a fifth compared to last year.

A record number of students are expected to start university or college in the autumn, according to Ucas, with the number of applications and offers made to students having risen.

Dr Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group, which Exeter is part of, said: "The significant increase in applications this year and the uncertainty generated by the introduction of teacher-assessed grades means it has been much harder for all universities to anticipate the number of students accepting their offers and achieving the required grades.

"This is particularly the case for medicine, where the number of places is capped by the Government.

"While our universities are being as fair and flexible as possible to students, ultimately the Government decides the number of doctors that can be trained.

"Given its long-term ambition to raise the number of NHS staff trained domestically, the Government could capitalise on the extra demand this year by expanding the number of places available and providing extra funding and clinical placements accordingly."

Teachers in England will submit their decisions on pupils' A-level grades next month, after the summer exams were cancelled for the second year.

The cap on medicine places was lifted last year when universities warned they had limited space for students who attained higher results.