Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Cambridge MP Signs Up To Be A Postgraduate Funding Champion

Julian signs the checklist with Francesca Rust Gabbi Foreman
Student Union Academic Officer
MP Julian Huppert has signed up to be a postgraduate funding champion with students from Cambridge’s Anglia Ruskin University.

He has given his support to a National Union of Students’ checklist which calls on the government to “continue to play a key role in funding postgraduate education and ensure that the sector is not neglected in the allocation of public funds”.

And he has promised that as a postgraduate champion he will represent the interests of postgraduate students in Cambridge and nationally and raise the issue in government and in the Liberal Democrats.

Julian said: “Our present system of postgraduate funding means most students have to pay for their courses up front often borrowing money from family or friends. This deters some students from continuing their studies, taking away their opportunities.

“The government must act to address this situation otherwise we risk stifling our brightest young people and harming our science, research and education system and our economy as a whole.”

Julian has proposed extending government loans to graduate students which could be paid back when they are working, similar to the loans offered to undergraduates. He outlined his proposals in a policy paper “Developing a future: Policies for science and research.

He has also been pushing for a Parliamentary debate on the issue and raised it in the House of Commons with Universities Minister, David Willets. He called on Mr Willets to allow postgraduate students to pay back the cost of their tuition only when they are earning instead of paying for their courses upfront.

Francesca Rust, President of Anglia Ruskin University Student Union said: “It’s both refreshing and encouraging to have MPs like Julian supporting postgraduate study in such a public way. All levels of education should be fairly accessible to all students regardless of their financial background.

“In a competitive job market postgraduate study is of growing importance and I for one want the government to recognise this and effectively support students wishing to study at this level.”

The checklist signed by Julian states that: 

Postgraduate education is crucial to maintaining the county’s research excellence and providing the high-level skills necessary for the UK to compete in the global economy. 

The lack of access to postgraduate funding is unfair and denies many students the chance to study a postgraduate qualification because they cannot pay up front for their tuition. 

The government must continue to play a role in funding postgraduate education and ensure that the sector is not neglected in the allocation of public funds through HECFE and the research councils. 

A postgraduate funding model must take into account the diversity of backgrounds and goals that students have when deciding to study at postgraduate level. 

As a Postgraduate Champion, I agree to: 

Represent the interests of postgraduate students in my constituency and the country as a whole. 

Raise the issue of postgraduate funding with the relevant persons in government and my party.