As many of you will be aware, NUS has been putting together a major campaign on postgraduate funding.
In November 2012, NUS published a report, Steps toward a fairer system of postgraduate taught funding, which outlined the injustice of having a system of unregulated postgraduate fees that students must pay up-front when finance is usually scarce and inadequate. NUS have argued that access to PG study is now based on ability to pay, not academic ability and potential to succeed.
This is why NUS proposed an income-contingent loan scheme for masters students, with financial support coming from employers for part-time study, from professional bodies to improve access and widen participation in professions like law and journalism, and a government-backed scheme for masters students similar to that at undergraduate-level.
Since the report, NUS has been speaking to the HE sector and to Parliament to address the neglect of postgraduate funding. A Parliamentary round-table was held jointly by NUS and the think-tank Centre Forum, and brought together MPs, Lords, civil servants and experts from the HE sector to discuss the issue and the NUS proposals.
Now it is time to ramp up the campaign and make the student voice truly heard in Parliament and around our universities!
On Friday, April 19 (or as close to this date as you can organise), we are asking students’ unions to take part in a constituency lobby of their local MPs.
The aim of the lobby is to get MPs to sign up to become ‘Postgraduate Champions’. This will involve a discussion with them about the key funding issues for postgraduates and will culminate in convincing them to sign our ‘Postgraduate Champions Checklist’, which contains several statements with boxes next to them for the MP to tick, showing their approval and compliance.
If your MP agrees with the checklist, try and get with them holding up the checklist and publicise it. Indeed, you can pressure your MP by publicising if they don’t sign as well!
Guidance on how to effectively locate, contact and lobby your MP can be found in this briefing document.
To download the postgraduate champions checklist, click here.
We have also made a checklist for Vice-chancellors to agree to. Try and find time to meet with your VC on or around April 19 and discuss how they can champion postgraduate issues at your university and in the sector more widely.
You can download the VC checklist here.
We have attached some small web banners for the campaign, which you can use on your website or email correspondence.
If you require any further information on the campaign, please contact Adam Wright at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And make sure you let us know what you’re planning to do so we can publicise it!