$10,000 offered to delay dental study

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An oversubscribed course has forced the University of Otago to offer dentistry students $10,000 to delay their study.

Faculty of Dentistry dean Prof Paul Brunton said the intake for the bachelor of dental surgery course this year had a limit of 60 domestic students.

For this year’s intake, more than 60 people were offered places to begin their first year of study and there had been “an unprecedented response in acceptances”.

Students were given the choice of starting the course this year or “deferring” their study a year, he said.

Deferring students were offered $10,000 towards fees for 2019, Prof Brunton said.

“We have had a positive response to our offer from a number of students.”

He declined to reveal the number of students the course had been oversubscribed by or the number of students who had accepted the offer.

“The number is changing daily as we work with individual students on their options.”

When asked what effect the course being oversubscribed this year could have on the intake next year, he refused to speculate.

“Every year some students defer their offers of place into all of our professional programmes so there is always movement in available places from year to year.

“There is a possibility that more places may be available next year.”

Otago University Students’ Association spokeswoman Katrina McLennan said OUSA president Caitlin Barlow-Groome had heard of dentistry students “deferring” their study but as no student had approached the association with an issue, she declined to comment further.

“If students are having issues we welcome them to talk to the president or student support.”

The New Zealand Dental Students’ Association did not respond to interview requests before deadline.