The SNP Government is offering a bursary of up to £6,750 to dental students who repeat a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This support will help mitigate the financial impact on students following the necessary decision taken by Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee Dental Schools to defer graduation.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, final year dental students have been unable to gain sufficient clinical experience of aerosol generating procedures - which often result in the release of airborne particles - to allow them to graduate.
Graduation for students at Glasgow and Dundee Dental Schools will be deferred until summer 2022, with all other year groups repeating the 2020/21 academic year. Final year student graduation at Aberdeen will be deferred until Christmas 2021, while all others will repeat the 2020/21 academic year.
Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon MSP said:
“This difficult but necessary decision by Scotland’s Dental Schools will be extremely disappointing news for dental students.
“This is not their fault and that’s why the Scottish Government is doing all we can to support them and ensure they do not suffer financially.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Aerosol procedures are common in dentistry placements. Therefore, despite the wider impact on clinical placements for subjects such as medicine, nursing and midwifery, students on those courses will not be required to repeat a year and any course extensions will be covered by other arrangements.
“The quality and calibre of dental treatment in Scotland is outstanding and must be protected by taking appropriate measures to ensure future dental professionals have reached the General Dental Council’s standard of clinical competence and can enter the workforce with confidence.”
Students should contact their Dental Schools for further guidance.
To help mitigate the impact of repeating a year of study, dental students who repeat a year can apply for a bursary to the value of their normal student loan award which varies depending on household income, from £4,750 to £6,750.
Students with particular circumstances will remain eligible for other sources of bursary support such as the Dental Student Support Grant and SAAS bursaries and they can also apply for a student loan if they wish.