Students will now be expected to contribute 10% to the cost of their treatment and assessmentsLouis Ashworth for Varsity

Staff at Pembroke have privately announced that they are reducing the funding available for ADHD and autism assessments.

Students will now be asked to contribute 10% of their medical costs, including any assessments or counselling they receive. Previously, the college had covered 100% of these bills.

Under the new policy, students will be required to apply to the university’s Medical Support Fund (provided by Crane’s Charity) for treatment and assessments costing more than £500.

The college has told Varsity that if a student is experiencing financial difficulty, they will still be able to apply for 100% of the cost to be covered by the college.

Pembroke staff claim that their policy is in line with practices at other colleges. However, sources present at the meeting in which the change was announced have stressed that this is a departure from the usual policy at Pembroke.

During the meeting, staff are said to have claimed that “evidence suggests students who contribute financially engage better with the treatment”.

With demand for autism and ADHD assessments increasing in recent years, NHS waitlists have often become too long for a diagnosis to be of use for access arrangements during a student’s time at Cambridge. This has driven many students to seek private assessments that cost between £800 and £1200.

A member of the student body present at the meeting, who wished to remain anonymous, told Varsity that Senior Tutor Robert Mayhew said that the College “could not afford to become the NHS”.

Whilst conceding that this argument was “completely reasonable”, the student added that it was “frustrating when an institution with so much money, and one that spends so much of this money so frivolously on items such as expensive wines for fellows at formals, tries to make cuts of this nature”.


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“The reasons behind implementing this change”, said another student present at the meeting, “have always seemed to me to be kept very vague, and any inquiry as regards to it has been met by extremely condescending statements”.

“All in all”, they continued, “I think this is a step backwards for a college which seems to pride itself on being a warm and welcoming environment for all kinds of people”.

A spokesperson for Pembroke College told Varsity: “All students are able to apply for 100% funding in the case of financial hardship; in other cases students are expected to make a small (typically 10%) contribution to the cost of treatments”.