The issue of postgraduate funding is an area that I am particularly concerned about, especially after hearing how some students at are struggling to fund their studies resulting in students taking out commercial loans or using credit cards.
I arranged a meeting with my Vice-Chancellor to discuss postgraduate taught funding at Warwick. We had an interesting discussion regarding national policy and the lack of government subsidy towards postgraduate taught education, particularly for Home/EU students. At a local level, we discussed those courses in faculties that receive no external support i.e. social sciences and arts/humanities subjects and how students from these areas are expected to complete an MA if they want to be considered for a PhD. This is a particular area of concern for the future of research in these areas.
I also contacted two local MP’s and was successful in organising meetings with each. Both MP’s were receptive to the issue that affects many of their current and future student constituents. One of them went on to table questions in Parliament about the funding of postgraduate education and the other promised to find out government thinking on this particular issue. Whilst they did not sign the NUS checklist, they were sympathetic to the issue and agreed with the statements. I felt that I had put the issue on their agenda and it would be great if more and more Officers were doing the same thing so that we can enact real change!
Anna Chowcat is Postgraduate Officer and Warwick Students Union and PGT Officer (elect) for NUS.