Debt Deters Postgraduates - NPC Market Failure Report Available

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The NPC / Prospects research into the Market Failure of Postgraduate Education undertaken by Quad Research is now available.

The report was highlighted in the Times Higher Education Supplement and The Times with the headline 'Debt deters postgraduates'.

Debt deters postgraduates

STUDYING for a PhD can be costly and increasingly it is only the very well-heeled who are pursuing postgraduate study.

"Debt is a major concern for students, especially those from lower socio-economic backgrounds," says Simon Felton, the general secretary of the National Postgraduate Committee (NPC), in The Times Higher Education Supplement (Aug 4).

Research by the NPC and Prospects, the graduate jobs website, found that 77 per cent of potential postgraduates from working-class backgrounds said that financial concerns strongly influenced their decision over whether to enter postgraduate study but only 33 per cent of those from upper middle-class backgrounds felt the same.

"We wont necessarily see the implications of this for ten or fifteen years, when the current crop of academics retires," Felton says. A paper by Paul Wakeling, of Manchester University, supports the NPC findings.

He found that those from the highest socio-economic classes were nearly three times more likely to progress to a research degree than graduates from the lowest social classes.

Wakeling adds that, although there is a risk that future academics would come primarily from the highest social groups, academics today do not reflect the diversity of wider society.

"Given the ageing and skewed demographics of our academic community, we need to look at ways to encourage more able students from all backgrounds to consider postgraduate study," says Janet Metcalfe, the director of the UK GRAD programme, which offers support to postgraduate students

The Full report is available below:

Background to the research proposal is available from: