The bank of mum may not be able to fund postgrad degrees

(62 Posts)
funnyperson Mon 21-Jan-13 15:10:29

I read this article about postgrad degrees in Oxford and my worst fears are confirmed
ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/21/suing-oxford-university-students-wealth?commentpage=2

creamteas Tue 22-Jan-13 22:12:19

Leaving aside the Post-grad stuff which is (curently) funded like undergrad (PGCE, social work etc), at most uni's, the majority of Masters are self-funded or company sponsored. For PhDs, it varies by discipline, more are funded in the sciences that arts/humanities.

Can't speak for Oxford, but can't see why it would any different, they certainly don't seen to advertise any more scholarships than anywhere else.

yellow - I had thought you could get cheaper living costs in college, but I've never been an undergrad in Oxford so I expect I'm wrong. I've rented here since 2008, though, so I do know that their expectations of private rent prices are off. They think you might be renting a room for over 500pcm plus utilities. It's not likely you would choose to do that unless you were well off.

I don't think the majority of Oxford post grads are fully funded, but I don't have stats to hand. In my discipline, I think they fund rather less than half the Masters students - but I only base that on knowing people from year to year.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 22-Jan-13 22:23:27

I had cheap housing as an undergrad in Oxford. I would have dearly loved to have continued studying, either at Oxford or somewhere else, but there just wasn't the finances for it in my family (over 10 years ago). I was most envious at the time of friends for whom it was possibly to just "carry on". Is it much different?

I'm guessing no, it's not much different. This bloke who is sueing, it sounds as if he is making a stand, rather than he thinks he's really unusual. I think it's the same situation all over the place.

takeaway2 Tue 22-Jan-13 22:35:32

Think there are a couple of issues here.

The 'proof that you have £12k' is a common thing that's required of international students both ug and pg. parents or sponsors had to write a letter accompanied by a bank statement or even a letter from the bank manager saying that I confirm that daddy/mummy of said child has the funds to support child for x number of years. And this is before said child takes on any work hours. Or not.

As for the REF requirements, there is a criteria within the REF that marks departments down if the phd completion rate is below the requisite 4 years. There was a push in 2007 in many big name universities to rid their long staying students from the phd programmes regardless of sponsorship status. I imagine they'll start doing that this year in prep for 2014.

The time completion I suppose is a reflection of the quality of academics one has in the dept who can get student completions on time.

Copthallresident Tue 22-Jan-13 22:43:26

The main source of funding for Humanities students is the Arts and Humanities Research Council who will fund around 300 Masters in Arts subjects a year to 2013, 100 in English and History. Those are spread across 48 institutions, including the art and drama schools.

www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Postgraduate-funding/BGPs/Pages/Studentships.aspx

icebowl Wed 23-Jan-13 00:03:04

I am doing an MA which is only possible because DH is paying the fees, my parents are quite poor so I would never have considered asking them. I applied for AHRC funding but it's very rare to get it in my field. I don't know anyone on my course who was funded externally - it was mostly by parents or through work/savings. There are a few on scholarships (I have one) but it only pays a tiny percentage of the fees.

I think the socio-economic mix on my course is slightly skewed towards the higher end (especially with the international students), but there are some students here who came from quite dire backgrounds and are determinedly working to pay their way. I am from a low-income background myself but was just lucky that I met and married DH who managed to get a very high-paying job out of university.

There was no requirement to show any existing funds though, just a threat that our student cards would stop us accessing the building if we didn't pay fees.

creamteas Wed 23-Jan-13 18:35:00

The proof of living costs for international students was not a university initiative it is from what now is the Borders Agency and in line with other visa rules. There is no good reason for universities to apply it to any one who doesn't need a visa.

The ESRC is the research board for social sciences and funds similar low numbers.

ubik Thu 24-Jan-13 11:06:32

I know one girl who is doing a phd. Or was. She is from Saudi and was funded by the Saudi government through her first degree, and on to phd. Her living costs and flights home were also funded. She has now been told her work isn't up to scratch after bring given many chances. She now faces paying back the entire funding package. This is hundreds if thousands of pounds.

amillionyears Thu 24-Jan-13 12:02:26

Trouble is, even funding them yourselves, as others have done, is going to get more and nore out of reach, when you and or partner have student debt. And are earning enough to gradually pay it all back.

LaFataTurchina Fri 25-Jan-13 16:09:24

I'd love to do a PhD when I've finished my MA, and the only way I'll be able to do it is if I get ESRC funding or a studentship.

Every now and then uni sends us emails encouraging us to write things which they'll try and get published (in industry magazines). I'd love to write something and get it published to make myself a bit more attractive when it comes to filling in applications next Autumn, but I'm always at blinking work and I barely have time to do my MA work let alone extra stuff!

I don't really have a point, I'm just having a moan.

TheCollieDog Fri 25-Jan-13 16:39:34

In my department (nationally top five for the discipline in a tip top of the league table university) has 3 funded AHRC Doctoral studentships, plus 3 funded by an international collaboration, for 2013-14 academic year.

To get one of these, students will need pretty much First Class honours and Distinction or near distinction at Masters level. That's about the level of competition and the numb of studentships, as actually a good 2, i and a good project will suffice (that's what I had back in the day, and was offered a studentship and a job straight out of my BA).

So the fact that someone doesn't get offered funding can be related to a number of issues. But it's usually a very individual admissions process, so applicants offered a place but no funding are likely to be told why if they ask.

I count myself very lucky to have funding off a 2:1. But my peers who didn't get it were certainly not told why - and I know they asked. I think maybe it varies from discipline to discipline?

There are four of us in my year with some kind of funding - I forget whether two or three are AHRC, but one definitely isn't.

We were simply told it's partly a matter of luck, and that they will often find that a project that isn't funded is perfectly good. Of course, it's quite likely we don't get told the real reasons - but that does make it harder for us to know what's going on.

(That sounds grouchy, and I'm not: I appreciate that I am dead lucky. I just find it hard to understand the process.)

amillionyears Fri 25-Jan-13 18:28:38

The person I was talking about had a 2:1 at degree level, but a distinction in a fairly relevant masters. The the jobs he did after the masters, particularly one of them, also helped. And he was willing to apply and travel anywhere.

takeaway2 Fri 25-Jan-13 20:16:21

My first phd student I supervised was on an ESRC +3 scholarship (them days!). I have also had a v highly rated project (rated by ESRC) that didn't get funding. I tweaked it, and got university funding and a phd student to work on it. Several other phd students are either funded by their organization (nhs) or government (other country's university).

The is a lot of competition but there is money. Just got to hunt a bit more...

But I thought the government had decided to do away with funding for stand-alone MAs?

LaFataTurchina Sat 26-Jan-13 15:58:04

My stand alone MA is funded (2011-2013). It's not teaching, PGCE or medical related but it is in a 'useful' subject.

Also, I think 3 plus 1 still exists at some uni's. i.e. at my old uni if you got a 2.1 in some departments you could stay on and do a free MA (I graduated in 2010).

amillionyears Sat 26-Jan-13 16:51:29

Yikes.
It is going to be even worse than I thought.

mathanxiety Sat 26-Jan-13 17:49:44

Professor Steve Smith, vice-chancellor of Exeter University, said: "The latest data is that 1.8% of GDP goes on research and development. The average in the OECD is 2.34%. That is a third more. And a lot of our competitors, Japan, Korea, are above 3%.

The UK is seriously shooting itself in the foot here. Postgrad research drives technological breakthroughs and therefore industry.

amillionyears Sat 26-Jan-13 17:57:02

Agreed.
Also, tbh, having only a load of people from very wealthy backgrounds being able to do research, would seriously impact on quality imo.
[wince] I feel I am being richist here.

TheCollieDog Sat 26-Jan-13 20:45:31

Yes, the research future of this country is in terrible trouble. I think we'll look back in 20 years and look at a first class world standard (2nd only to the US) education system, relatively open to any qualified student, and wonder when was the actual moment a government pressed the destruct button.

mathanxiety Sun 27-Jan-13 02:07:56

Worse, the only people who can afford postgrad degrees may be students from abroad, so essentially Britain is exporting expertise. A brain drain always costs a lot more than the cost of supporting brains at home.

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