Bank won't fund my medical course in England
Q&A:Last June I completed a biochemistry degree in Dublin and moved to England to start graduate medicine. When I started to look for ways to finance the degree, I hit about a 100 brick walls. My parents are not in a position to fund me.
I went to the local branch of the bank, where I have always banked, and was told there were no such loans for graduate students but to apply for a student loan with a reduced rate APR. Although a four-year course, I was told to apply for the funds for year one and to review it in year two.
The initial €11,000 interest- only facility proved to be too little. When I went to top up my loan to €20,000, the student officer became involved. She was surprised that a loan for the four years wasn’t put in place, but when I tried to get a four-year plan in place for a loan of €80,000, I was told I would need to put up front some sort of security. They released the extra money for first year but are looking for that security before releasing more funds and that they will probably want me to start full repayments on the loan.
The bank said they could look at topping up my parent’s mortgage on an interest-only basis and they could give me that money, but their mortgage isn’t with the AIB. I cannot afford to make full repayments either until I am a qualified doctor in 2015. Essentially, I am making the interest repayments from the loan money.
I need to find a solution as my funds will dry up in August and if I cannot get the financial support I will have to quit college to get a job and pay back this €20,000 the bank has already given me.
Ms S.O’B., England
There are two issues here. First, you are in an incredibly difficult position because of the rules covering grant aid across national boundaries; second, your bank appears to have been, at best, unhelpful in the mixed messages it has given on funding options, especially in your original application for financial support.
Desperate to fund your course, you have embarked without a clear four-year funding plan. I don’t have a clear answer for you and am running your query as much in the hope that someone may provide an answer to your plight as anything else. If colleges are accepting cross-border students, I would assume there must be some funding options available as not everyone is in a position to fund €80,000 or more from their own, or their parents’, resources.
If the bank is seeking security from a student whose parents are not in a position to provide financial support, it is effectively saying “we will support you but only under terms which we know are unobtainable” – a tidy way for it to tick a box saying it has offered finance while it has also imposed impossible conditions.
If your parents cannot fund your course, they are unlikely to be able to take on greater mortgage commitments – and in any case banks are supposed to be moving away from such approaches.