A young man from Donabate may have his dreams of going to medical school thwarted due to a lack of financing for college fees.
26-year-old Dean Mulligan has been accepted to UCC this September to study medicine, but cannot finance the €60,000 college fees required to complete his four year term.
Dean’s preferred financing option was to secure a special loan from Bank of Ireland, which would mean the loan would not be paid back until he completed medical school.
Unfortunately, as he has only discovered, that facility was terminated in July of this year, leaving Dean, who is from a working-class background, running out of options just weeks before he is due to start college.
Dean speaks to The Fingal Independent about his predicament, which likely faces many college-goers this term: “I’ve wanted to go to medical school since I was a child, but I didn’t get the points in the Leaving Cert, so I went the long way which is the graduate route.
“Basically what you have to do is you have to do a level 8 degree and then you have to sit an exam called the GAMSAT. So first of all you have to get your 2:1 and then you sit your GAMSAT and then what happens is the colleges all come together in July and look at what everybody got in the GAMSAT and then decide who to give the places to based on your GAMSAT score.
“Since the Leaving Cert I went the long way around, I did my chemistry degree, I got my 2:1 and sat the GAMSAT and got an above average score in the GAMSAT then I got UCC which would have been on Friday the 5th of August.”
Dean says: “I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, I’m such a people person, I’ve worked in Supervalu and Lifestyle Sports, I’ve just always been about people but I love science as well. I’m crazy about science, that’s why I went ahead and studied chemistry. I love science and people and when you merge the two of them together, medicine is the outcome.”
Dean has been busy trying to organise finance for college since he found out he was accepted to UCC just a week ago.
The fees for studying medicine in UCC are €15,000 per year, or €60,000 for the full four year term, something which is way beyond his means.
Dean has since been in touch with Fine Gael Senator Regina Doherty, who he says is acting on his behalf in negotiations with Bank of Ireland in an effort to secure a loan.
Dean says: “Regina basically said we’re going to get me into medicine one way or another. Basically what happened is because Bank of Ireland finished that loan scheme this year, Simon Harris is going to try and get something organised for next year. She said that if worst comes to worst I’ll have to just borrow €15,000 this year, and then next year there’ll be something in place to cover the rest of my years at college.
“As it stands now, Regina is obviously in negotiations with Bank of Ireland to see if I can get into the loan scheme. Last year they had told me I couldn’t even apply for the loan without an acceptance letter, but apparently they were letting people apply for that loan in July without an acceptance letter, which wasn’t in any of the literature.”
Dean is just hoping Senator Doherty may be able to negotiate a loan on his behalf, as without a loan, he is left with a college place and no way to pay for it.
A GoFundMe page was set up on Dean’s behalf by a friend of his, and while it was a very kind gesture, it won’t go nearly enough towards financing Dean’s way through UCC.
Dean adds: “The thing about it is, I was already rejected from the Credit Union for a loan. I had said to myself if I get finance for €45,000 maybe I can come up with the €15,000 somehow, so I tried to borrow €45,000 off the Credit Union and they rejected me on the basis that I wouldn’t have enough money to pay for accommodation for college and pay off a loan as well. I think the repayments were €600 a month.
“The other option is Bank of Ireland, like you can borrow up to €65,000 and the maximum term is five years. I was on the calculator and the repayments for that are €1000 a month, which I couldn’t afford because I’ve no financial backing whatsoever.”
If it transpires that Dean cannot get a loan, he must face the very real prospect that he must give up his dream of going to medical school, unless a last minute reprieve comes his way.