Does financial support for medical students from low income families make a difference? A qualitative evaluation



Claridge H & Ussher M (2019) Does financial support for medical students from low income families make a difference? A qualitative evaluation. BMC Medical Education, 19, Art. No.: 153.

Background The 2015–2020 strategic plan from the Office for Fair Access calls on institutions to provide contemporary assessments of the impact of their financial support for disadvantaged students on retention, progression, success, wellbeing and participation, throughout the student lifecycle. In response to this call, this article describes the first evaluation the authors are aware of, of a financial support scheme for students from lower income backgrounds attending a medical school. Methods A qualitative study of a bursary scheme for undergraduate medical students was undertaken at a university in London, England. One-to-one, audio-recorded interviews were conducted, transcribed and thematically analysed in order to ascertain eight recipients’ experiences of receiving the bursary and its influence on their financial situation, academic studies and quality of life. Results The data were best explained by five main themes: impact of the bursary, communication, financial management, support preferences, and administration of the bursary. Conclusions The participants, who were in receipt of various bursary amounts, generally regarded it as a good scheme with it providing a financial buffer and enabling them to focus on their studies and extracurricular activities rather than seek paid employment during term time.

Financial support; Bursary; Undergraduate medical student; University; Qualitative research

BMC Medical Education: Volume 19

Publication date31/12/2019
Publication date online17/05/2019
Date accepted by journal24/04/2019

People (1)


Professor Michael Ussher

Professor Michael Ussher

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Institute for Social Marketing