- Relative to its undergraduate equivalent, postgraduate provision has suffered neglect from successive Governments.
- Even before the recession, the number of UK students taking up postgraduate degrees increased only marginally between 2002 and 2008.
- The removal of over 80% of teaching funding to universities by the government in the comprehensive spending review will hit postgraduates particularly hard as they are not eligible for fee loans.
- The proposals for increased scrutiny of international students is likely to put many off, choking off this source of funding for universities; which risks universities raising further their already high postgraduate fees.
- This combination means many are excluded from postgraduate education all together, while many are partly funding their course through ‘highly unstable’ sources such as overdrafts or credit cards and many others have to work such long hours it hurts their studies.
Labour Students believes:
- The UK’s future growth, both economically and socially, rests on a highly skilled population and we cannot rely upon attracting international talent to provide this base for the future; we must therefore seek to encourage more students to take up postgraduate study by working to remove financial barriers.
- No one should be unable to take up postgraduate study because of their financial circumstances.
Labour Students resolves:
- To work towards an NUS policy of lobbying for a system of low interest Government loans, as are available to undergrads, for up to £10,000 of postgraduate fees; not to be paid back until the graduate is earning over £21,000.
- To work towards an NUS policy of lobbying for better terms for Personal and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) and to make these more widely available.
- To encourage NUS to lobby and work with universities to encourage them provide better and more widely available bursaries, targeted at students from lower income backgrounds.
- To encourage NUS to lobby and work with industry to encourage them to sponsor postgraduate provision; and efforts must be made to encourage employer sponsorship of individual students.
(motion was passed)
(motion was passed)