Students at Exeter University who are prepared to delay starting their medical degree by one year will be rewarded with money and free accommodation.
The number of places for medicine in England is capped by the government, but there has been a record number of students applying to study this autumn – an increase of 20% from last year.
As a result, the University of Exeter has written to students who have already accepted an offer to study medicine this year asking them to delay until 2022.
If they do, they will be offered £10,000 cash, as well as free accommodation for their first year.
The money would be offered “to spend on preparing yourself”, while a spokesperson told Yahoo News UK that there are no conditions on how the money is spent.
Savings on accommodation would be in the thousands, with the university's Rowancroft building normally costing £6,574 for an en-suite room or £7,611 for a studio flat, according to the BBC.
The letter to students says the university understands a deferment would mean "big changes" to their plans but their place next year would be secure, provided they get the grades specified in their offer.
In a statement, professor Mark Goodwin, the university’s deputy vice chancellor, said: “To maximise the choices available to our students, we are offering a range of options, including financial incentives, deferral or studying a postgraduate programme, prior to students commencing their medical studies next year.”
He said that the number applying to study this year was “unprecedented” but the university’s “number one priority” is that students “enjoy high quality, safe and fulfilling education”.
The government’s cap on medical student numbers is in part down to the £180,000 cost for a medical degree, which is largely met by public funding.
Medical students also need to undertake placements in the NHS for the last three years of their degree, with a limited number of places available.
There are around 7,500 places available for medical students in England every year.
The government has not yet announced whether extra money will be available for additional places in 2022.
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