NPC General Article January 2003

The National Postgraduate Committee
A VOICE FOR POSTGRADS IN THE UK

Ever heard of the National Postgraduate Committee? They represent and promote the needs of UK postgraduates on a national and international stage voicing your opinions to the funding councils, review boards, academic bodies, the media, the government and other relevant bodies. Comprising postgraduate representatives from over 40 institutions including [name of institution] the NPC forms a national support network issuing UK universities and colleges with up to date guidelines and advice on current affairs. These range from recommended provisions of facilities to the instigation of learning contracts. Through regular OGMs - to which all postgrads are welcome - and mailing lists the NPC fulfils the role of a national postgraduate forum contributing to high profile enquiries resulting in reports such as the recent response to the joint funding councils paper Improving standards in postgraduate research degree programmes.

In 2002 the NPC issued the results of a major survey into student funding which looks set to influence the next government funding review and is to be the main topic in discussion at an NPC meeting with the Minister for Higher Education, Margaret Hodge MP. These findings highlight the main sources of funding and the most important factors which influence when, where and how to do a postgraduate degree. 39% of respondents claimed that their choice of part time over full time courses was based primarily on financial considerations while over 75% claimed this as the major barrier to doing a postgraduate at all. The anticipated increase in debt of 2500 however, was generally believed to be worth it as 48% of respondents expected their course to lead to earnings of 22,000 plus (visit www.npc.org.uk/features).

Become an NPC contributor
The NPC are looking for contributors to a new members web-page where articles and comments from students at different institutions can be posted, some of which will be included in the National NPC newsletter pN. Tell us about the challenges that have faced you as a postgraduate student, the issues you consider important to postgraduates and what changes you would like to see to the current system. Anything you can tell us about your institution will be useful when setting standards and providing advice on postgraduate education. Let us know your opinions and experiences of factors such as support, funding and facilities. Send your contributions to Paul Williams, NPC Communications Officer at psmpaw@bath.ac.uk

It is thanks to the support of [name of institution] that the NPC is able to do all it does. If you would like to find out more or attend an NPC meeting contact Tim Brown, NPC General Secretary at npc@npc.org.uk. Take an active role in securing a future for postgraduates in the UK.

Paul Williams
NPC Communications Officer
www.npc.org.uk