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University offers students £3,000 to defer medical studies

Prospective medical students expecting to start medical school this autumn are being offered £3,000 to defer for a year after the course was oversubscribed.

Dundee University said a significantly higher than usual proportion of students — around 10 per cent more — had accepted the offer of a place on its medicine degree. It is now seeking 10 volunteers to give up their places this year and start in 2013 instead.

A university spokesperson said while it was ‘delighted’ that so many students achieved the high grades required to take up their offers, it meant there were more students due to start the course this autumn than anticipated.

The spokesperson added: ‘As the number of students that we can take for medicine is restricted, we are asking some of our new students to defer entry for one year with an absolute guarantee of a place in 2013. This is not an unprecedented action for a university to take.’

BMA Scottish medical students committee chair Mark McInerney said more should be done to manage student numbers — particularly with the spectre of medical unemployment looming.

He said: ‘Medical schools have a key role to play in the workforce planning programme and it’s important to manage student numbers so that we are not putting graduates in a position of generating high levels of debt then finding there’s no job at the end for them.’

Volunteers needed

National Union of Students Scotland president Robin Parker said that the Scottish government and universities should work together to increase the number of available places and reduce the pressure on students attempting to get into universities.

He said: ‘In this economic climate, universities shouldn’t expect students to delay getting a start on their education. We hope that Dundee University, like all Scottish universities, would accept every student they possibly can who has the potential to succeed. This would also ensure that everyone, no matter their background, can access courses of all types, including professions like medicine.’

The university is seeking volunteers for deferment and the option is open to students from Scotland, the rest of the UK, and the EU.

The Courier, Dundee’s local newspaper, reported today that £3,000 payments were being offered. The university spokesperson said he was not disputing the figure.

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