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Bursary Evaluation 2017 Evaluation Report Autumn 2017

Responses to the question: ‘14. Please tell us about any other ways that financial support from RVC has helped 1 you?’ Responses complied using Tagxedo. Answers submitted via password protected online survey, n = 159


Contents 1. Aims of Evaluation

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2. RVC Context

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3. Respondents

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4. Impact: responses 4.1 Paid work 4.2 Financial Support 5. Summary

2 Report compiled by Dr Grace Mackintosh Sim


1. Aims of evaluation This evaluation report aims to summarise the impact of Bursaries for Royal Veterinary College students. Data was collected in December 2017, using a survey protocol shared from St George’s, University of London, and adapted to the RVC context. The survey was sent to a random sample of 415 students identified as having received bursary support, or due to receive bursary support, by Finance Support Manager Fola Oloyede. Survey responses were collated on Dec 12th 2017, with n= 159 respondents. Evaluation aims to: • Better understand the financial context for RVC students • Provide evidence to meet increased reporting requirements • Collate evidence about the impact of bursary provision • Provide insight to inform future RVC Access strategy

Evaluation Process

Online survey

Evaluation report

Interviews

• RVC students identified as having received bursary support are sent an online survey linked to a password protected spreadsheet

• RVC staff and students are invited to comment on the evaluation report

• Students are selected for interview as the next stage in the evaluation process, to inform 2018 provision

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2. RVC Context The RVC is a small specialist college, established in 1791, with approx 1750 students studying a range of degree courses related to animals such as: • BVetMed- 5 year Veterinary Medicine course • Gateway course- 1 year foundation course for veterinary, open to Widening Participation students • Biological/Bioveterinary sciences- 3 year biological science course with solely animal science related content • Founbdation or BSc Vet Nursing, 3 or 4 year course • Masters/Msci Wild Animal Biology- 1 year Masters course joint with London Zoo, accessible as an Msci or Masters • Other postgraduate courses include Masters in One Health, joint with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and PhD research. There are intercalation and year in industry options. For a full list please see www.rvc.ac.uk/study

The RVC has two campuses, in Camden and the Hawkshead Campus in Potter’s Bar. Students on our largest course, the BVetMed course, typically spend the first two years based in Camden and the subsequent section of three years based in Potter’s Bar to attend lectures at Hawkshead. Previous evaluation taking place in December 2016 (focus group) showed us that RVC students face unique challenges: • • •

Cost of living in London PLUS doing an intensive workload course makes it hard to work to earn money Veterinary courses require additional equipment such as farm clothing, expensive anatomy textbooks Placements working with animals are compulsory in order to successfully complete the course; however these (particularly for large animal placements) are in rural areas which either require a car to attend, or considerable inconvenient public transport spend.

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3. Respondents The survey respondents had the following characteristics, n= 159. This demonstrates that a wide variety of our students completed the survey. The question about accommodation was asked in order to document the increasing number of our students who have to live in their family home and commute to university, for a variety of reasons.

Degree Course BVetMed Bio veterinary science Gateway Bsc vet nurse MSci Wild Animal Biology Fd vet nursing Accelerated BVetMed Bvetmed (gateway) Veterinary nursing (unspecified) Biological Sciences Vet nursing Msci Bioveterinary Research Animal Behaviour, welfare and ethics MSc Bio Science BvetMed (intercalated) 0

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Number of respondents

Year of course (159 responses)

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3. Respondents (continued)

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4. Impact This section presents questions and answers asked in the survey. Consistent with the approach used at St George’s, we asked about Paid Work and Financial Support.

4.1 Paid Work From which personal sources did you fund your participation in higher education in the most recent academic year, 201617? (tick all that apply). N = 159 Earnings from work during holidays Personal savings Earnings from work during term time Money from family or friends that you don't have to repay Money from family or friends that you do have to repay Solely student finance Inheritance Not in HE in 2016-17 Grants from organisations and educational foundations Earnings from freelance work 0

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Number

From which other sources did you fund your participation in higher education in the most recent academic year, 2016-17? (tick all that apply) n = 159 Statutory tuition fee loan (from Student Finance England), , Statutory maintenance loan (from Student Finance England) Bursary or scholarships from RVC Statutory financial support (maintenance grants;‌ Grants or Scholarships from employer or other organisation RVC Hardship or Access funds Student Finance Wales none was deferred Not in higher education last year SAAS for maintenance and tuition fee loans 0

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160

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4.1 Paid Work (continued)

4. During which holidays did you work? (tick all that apply) n= 159

15% 26% Christmas Easter Summer 37%

None 22%

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4.1 Paid Work (continued)

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4.1 Paid Work (continued)

7. What were your reasons for undertaking paid work? (tick as many as apply) n = 159 To pay for essential living costs (rent, fuel bills etc.) To help pay the costs of books, study materials, field trips‌ To enable you to do other things outside of university life‌ To have a more comfortable life while studying To save for a specific purpose (e.g. a holiday, car etc.) To have employment experience in field of study To avoid student debt To support family Travel to Uni 0

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Number

In this question, a number of students commented that placements meant it was not possible to undertake paid work. Likewise, many felt that completing the course successfully required too much energy and time for additional work.

Not important

Very important

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4.2 Financial Support

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4.2 Financial Support

Not important

Very important

12. Which of the following costs would you most likely have had to avoid if you didn't receive financial support from RVC? (tick all that apply) n = 159 Socialising with friends (e.g. eating out, cinema, theatre etc.) Travelling between home and RVC when desired Leisure (e.g. holidays for self and/or family) Buying course books and materials Family treats (e.g. birthday presents) Participation in a sport or other hobby Participation in a RVC or Students' Union club such as sporting societies etc. Buying connectivity resources (e.g. phone and broadband contract)

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Number

For this question, ‘other’ included: • Travelling to EMS placements • Paying accommodation costs • Running a car • Pet ownership (only small furries but vet bills add up) • I cannot afford to do the things listed above • I already avoid most of these but I an am also a carer for my mother and the fund allows me to travel home unexpectedly if she is in need of help • I literally have not got enough money to survive without the rvc bursary • food

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4.2 Financial Support (continued)

Other

Afford to participate along with my fellow students

Be able to concentrate on my studies without worrying about finances

Feel less anxious than I would have felt otherwise

Be able to balance commitments such as work, study and family relationships

Be included on social and study trips

Feel part of the RVC community

Feel more satisfied with my life as a student

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4.2 Financial Support (continued) Please tell us about any other ways financial support from the RVC has helped you: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• •

A good back up (instead of overdraft) Allow me to cover car running costs for EMS and travel to home Allowed me not to work as many hours. allowed me to pay for a car to travel to ems placements Allowed me to purchase equipment such as a stethoscope and practice suture kit. Allowed my parents to focus on my twin rather than worry about both of us Allows me to stress slightly less regarding my financial situation, without it paying rent, bills and feeding myself would have proved tough Any money I didn't use at the time given, I would put into my savings account for a rainy day (normally for January where my rent is due before my SFE loan comes in, or for a deposit on the following years house then the current security deposit hasn't quite been returned yet) Be able to afford the dyslexia testing Being able to pay for my car insurance Buy food Christmas in particular, it just gives you something to use during this more expensive time. Going to Placements, Dyslexia testing Have had to worry less about food bills Having financial support has allowed me to fully focus on my studies without having to worry excessively about all my other living costs, it also helps me during my commutes to and from uni and allows me to know that I can afford to travel to uni help towards car insurance which is required for placement Helped cover rent when student finance fell short, allowed me to visit my parents during holidays Helped me insure my car, which is essential in placements and for work. Helped me join the IVSA, knowing I could put some money towards my exchange trip to learn about Vet schools abroad. Takes some pressure off paying for extra heating bills in the winter months. I can afford my rent for this year. It allowed me to finance my dissertation research It has given me peace of mind while I'm studying as money worry is a constant source of stress. So having that financial support helps alleviate that stress slightly. It has given me the money to be able to travel to my mandatory work placements. If I could not do this, I would've had to pull out of uni. It has helped me to take pressure of my parents trying to fund me whilst in the process of paying for a divorce It has meant I have not felt I needed to ask my family for money, which I know they cannot afford to give me It has meant that I haven’t had to tap too much into my savings, which I will hopefully be using to fund a house/help support me when I graduate and over rotations It has relived a lot of stress and allowed me to keep focused on my work. It was used as emergency funds for a new laptop over the last academic year. It’s helped knowing that the £1000 bursary comes in at different times to student loan so it’s always handy having an additional £500 in months I wouldn’t usually be getting a chunk of money not from employment Made me feel much less concerned about money worries than I would have been. Mostly stress related to finances, and the associated problems that come along with that. Also less pressure on having to take more shifts at work, allowing me time to actually study. Much reduced money stress impact on my mental health. not being in an overdraft Previous support has helped me invest in a weekend car restoration project that will hopefully make me money in the future, however unexpected costs are hindering progress and working so few hours a week between uni doesn’t support me long term. Smaller bourdon on me to work, less stress knowing I'll definitely have the money coming in where as job hours aren't as stable Supplementing lower (half as much) capped maintenance loan from SAAS in order to pay for rent in London and continue my studies at the RVC. The main help is that it comes at a time after student loan has been used on bills and transport and allows me to spend holidays studying instead of working. The main way in which the bursary has helped me is for travel costs for placements, some of which have been a fair drive and this year to help towards accommodation for large animal placement as my area is full of small animal only practices, it's been really important to me to enable me to gain experience with animals I am passionate about and will hopefully make me more employable for mixed or large animal work which is my aim compared to if I had only attended the small animal practices in driving distance of home. The RVC bursary helps me pay for petrol and car insurance to get into school and pay for essentials such as course clothing, equipment and books. With rent and travel during placement blocks

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Other comments We asked students for any other comments which reveal a range of issues:

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As a result of a lengthy divorce, my parents have both run each other into the ground with legal fees exceeding £80,000. They clearly didn’t have myself and my younger brother in mind as now there is no money left to fight over as we have had to move out and buy a house with the remainding money. As a result I am seeking support to ease some pressure from my mum as she is now working 2 jobs and I am struggling to work more hours. As nice as the bursary is, to be honest it's not big enough to really make any difference to finances. When you're going into £20k debt a year, getting £1k back from RVC is pretty insignificant, although it does make you feel valued and like RVC is at least trying to care "Due to the payments from RVC coming in March, it means that financial stress during the beginning of university was enormous. As soon as I moved to London I had to get a part time job and have been working over sixteen hours a week so that I can be able to afford food and participating with my peers. Of course I am very grateful for the support that will be arriving shortly, but its just that this time, in terms of money, hasn't been easy." Has been especially useful in order to afford items of technology which have been invaluable on this course and makes life a lot easier. Healthy food can be quite expensive and it’s easier to go for more unhealthy options, the bursary means it’s easier to make healthier life choices I am so grateful for the RVC bursary and the opportunities it has allowed me to excel in my course with. Thank you! I felt the when you worked bit was a bit hard to be specific - so for example this year I have used money from holiday work I put to one side in previous years of the course to help with accommodation costs for placements which I had foreseen rather than holiday work in this academic year as I have not been able to work in holidays due to EMS this past summer. I studied the first year at Leeds university and received £3k, so £1k living in London doesn't cover 1 months rent. That said, anything is better than nothing. I think the bursary from the rvc would be good over the summer when we can’t work and don’t get a loan I wish more support was available, but of course I am very grateful for every help so thank you sincerely. I wish loans from RVC were available, payable as soon as you graduate or leave the uni, but just to help know that funding options are available. It feels a little like you don't know where your next meal is coming from as you'd give up food (and social activities like I already have, or comfort like affording to go home) just to fund your studies, unless your parents are rich or earn a lot, which is not the case for myself. I work full time in the holidays (I have quite literally no time off, unpaid work experience take up week day daytimes, and I do paid work in hospitality in the evenings and weekends). Between my savings through the holidays and the bursary, it gives me the ability to not have to work in the term, and limits the amount I have to take from my family (I hate using their money). It means that I can concentrate on uni work much more efficiently. I would include in questions if you've worked in other years and are working this current year It was difficult to have any paid work which could allow me the time off needed to get the work experience as a requirement to get accepted onto the course. This causes issue where the paid work would otherwise have been useful. More financial support would be welcome, I know it has been decreased this year. Simply thank you. It would be helpful to know when/if bursaries are available BEFORE starting the course / year to allow for financial planning. If the finance people like SAAS don''t pass on the info to RVC then it is left completely up to students to sort it out and argue their case when money isn't paid - not very helpful on top of studying / exam stress. Thank you so much for my bursary. Thank you. The bursary is a really good idea, but I didn't know about it until I received a letter at my home address, maybe making it more known prior to starting at RVC will help many students. The bursary is very necessary for many students The RVC bursary is only a drop in the bucket of what you need to live but every little bit helps and it is hugely appreciated. Working during term time is getting more and more difficult each semester and I will be significantly scaling this back from January 2018 (second year, second semester) - so this will become increasingly important. This academic year I have not received any bursary, which I was wrongly or rightly not expecting. I had already made a decision to undertake placement which required accommodation away from home at quite an expense. Unfortunately due to this financial deficit I have found this first term very hard without the support of the bursary and not being able to work outside of placement hours. I wish there had been some indication that the bursary would not be received every year, despite home circumstances not changing, to allow students to plan their placements or studies better.

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6 Conclusions

A range of students took part in the survey, with 159 respondents representing 38% of the students contacted. The data provides a reliable snapshot of bursary provision at RVC, and shows that current bursary provision does assist students in their studies, however varying personal circumstances means that the extent to which they rely on them varies greatly. Significantly, this survey highlights that bursary provision contributes to wellbeing in helps of reducing anxiety and allowing students to take part in activities known to improve wellbeing and retention (such as social activities and student society participation). There appears to be a lack of clarification for some students about the timescale and amount of bursary which they will receive, and diversifying methods of communication regarding this would be useful to explore to ensure the key financial info is not lost when they are attending to course information. At this stage, the survey data is being shared with staff for comment on which areas would be worthwhile to follow up with interviews to further investigate the nature of the challenges faced by RVC students and the impact of bursary provision.

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Rvc financial bursary report 2017  
Rvc financial bursary report 2017  
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