The government has confirmed plans to end bursaries for student nurses and midwives by the end of 2017, sparking anger across the health sector.
Replacing bursaries with loans would free up about £800m a year to create additional nursing roles by 2020 and help more students enter the profession, according to the Department of Health.
However, the Royal College of Nursing(RCN) said the changes were unfair and risky, while the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) argued that the move threatened the future of maternity services in England.
Student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, including occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, podiatrists and radiographers, currently do not pay tuition fees.
They receive a mixture of a non-means-tested bursary, a means-tested bursary and a reduced-rate student loan to help with their living costs.
The government-funded Health Education England decides how many student places are available each year