We hear about student finance enough, particularly after Lord Browne’s charming review. As a result, student apathy is running rife.
However, it is short-sighted to assume that increasing tuition fees are irrelevant to us, already mired deep in our undergraduate degrees which seem endless enough. But even today some consider an undergrad degree to be too prolific to have value, so many more of us are looking to post-graduate degrees and qualifications.
The cost of post-graduate study has been overlooked in the furore over undergraduate fee rises, and it simply means our opportunities are being limited further. Cost has always been an issue in our educational system, but it is reaching unacceptable levels of dominance. The government are withdrawing or limiting the financial support they give us, yet expecting the same results.
My psychology housemate has recently been trying to figure out how she could fund a doctorate: but how is this possible without government help? Is taking a year out to work simply to get some money an acceptable use of her time? And going to the ‘Bank of Daddy’ is usually not an option; for all its allegedly ‘rah’ pretensions, York does not boast a large number of students who have parents that can casually pay for anything their offspring desire: yachts, a wardrobe of Jack Wills, or post-graduate degrees.
it’s short-sighted to assume that increasing tuition fees are irrelevant to us
I’m not saying that there are no structures in place at all, but even before the Browne Review promised to change the higher education system, financial support for post-graduates was limited. In the post-Browne world of sky-high fees and potentially more discipline-selective support mechanisms – such as support for education or social work students – means that postgrads will be left out in the cold. And without postgraduate study, there would be a distinct lack of teachers, accountants and journalists, to name a few.
The worst thing about the way the education system is changing is that financial worth is the yardstick by which our choices are being judged. An English degree is not valued by the ideas on the paper, the analysis of the novel, the bright, original idea that underpins your essay. It is weighed and measured according to what it cost, and post graduate study will suffer even further from this chronic case of ‘fiscal fever’.
Acquisition of skills, ideas and further training will be weighed against the heavy loans we all already bear from our undergrad days. Your future does not have a financial entry requirement. Our aspirations should not be compromised by a lack of financial support. So thank you Lord Browne, for putting a price tag on our ambition.