Planes, trains, and poor medical students
Picture Tom: an enthusiastic fourth year medical student at the University of Glasgow; he is of a modest background, has two younger siblings, and receives little financial support from his cash strapped parents. He is therefore fully dependent on the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), which provides him with a bursary and student loan.
This money covers his rent in Glasgow, utility bills, and general subsistence—barely. He works a part time job at the weekend to make life a little more comfortable. And he gets by as students do: economically, frugally, carefully.
Tom is allocated a 10 week surgery rotation at Inverclyde Royal Hospital, 25 miles from his flat in Glasgow. Despite the distance, accommodation is not provided on this placement, and Tom must make the round trip five days a week.
This requires a return ticket on the subway (£2.60 [€3; $4]) and return rail ticket (£9.00), totaling