Science students get significantly more for their £9000 investment in tuition than those studying English, Nouse has learned.
Funding is unevenly distributed across departments, with the University typically covering equipment costs for semi-practical courses, such as Biology and Chemistry, but expecting that English students purchase their own primary texts.
Chemistry students receive, for free, a text book worth £50, a data book, nitrile lab gloves, goggles, a lab coat and a molecular model kit. Biochemistry students are also provided with two text books, safety glasses, a lab coat, and a molecular model kit.
According to a survey conducted by Nouse, English students, however, spend on average £110 per term on books, which amounts to almost £1000 over the course of their time at university.
When asked, Dan Bowen, second-year English and Related Literature student, told Nouse: “I think it’s outrageous not because we have to pay for our books, because most English students do, but because science students get their books subsidised when their equipment and staff must already be exceeding the amount they put in.”
However, Jenny Cao, also a second-year English student said: “It doesn’t bother me so much as I assume that our student maintenance loans are there to help to cover these costs.
“Obviously, everyone has different loans and grants but for me, it’s only a small proportion out of what I have to spend on everything else. It would be different if I was a science student as equipment is much more expensive.”
A number of English students also expressed concerns over the availability of key texts in the library. The general consensus was that it would not be possible to go without purchasing at least some books, because there are often only one or two copies of key texts available.
Buying second-hand texts is often impractical because of the delay in delivery, when students have a limited time to order and read in preparation for their modules.
For science students, however, circumstances are different.
Rosie Holland, a second-year Biology student, told Nouse: “It would be possible for me to complete my degree without paying for a single book, or piece of equipment, bar my lab coat. Resources are almost always made available in the library or online.”
When asked whether the University would consider offering bursaries to accommodate equipment costs that fluctuate from course to course, David Duncan, University Registrar, commented: “We have no plans to introduce bursaries for textbooks at this time. However, we do strive to make as much reading material as possible available via the library, either in hard copy or online.
“There may also be a case for standardising the distribution of bursaries and reviewing the incidental costs which students in different disciplines face. We will raise this with student representatives via the Student Life Committee.”