After months of debates, NPC finally passed policy to decide its stance on postgraduate funding at the Cranfield OGM. To make a start on this campaign, a postgraduate funding charter has been written to present the case to the outside world. The first edition was produced in time for NUS Conference in April, but suggestions for additions or alterations to future additions are still welcome.
The last NUS Conference turned out to be rather successful in making NPCs voice heard. For the first time, substantial policy on postgraduate funding was debated and passed on the main Conference floor, and there were more NEC candidates than ever before who included postgraduates in their manifestoes. However, it remains up to NPC to ensure that these policies are acted on.
NUS Conference was only the first of many audiences this charter is aimed at. It is also intended to go to bodies such as the DfES, the Education Select Committees, the Comprehensive spending review, and so on. With a concise statement of NPCs position readily available to all, it is hoped that the student funding campaign wont be stopping with the traditional 18-21 year old undergraduate home student.
The key points of the charter
Postgraduates should have to finance their living costs at the point of entry, no matter what programme they are studying. The student loans system should be extended to include postgraduates.
Institutions are prohibited from charging additional fees for undergraduates but many charge excessive premium fees for postgraduates. This should stop. Hidden course costs, such as library charges and bench fees, should be phased out.
Almost all postgraduates were undergraduates once, and many begin their postgraduate courses carrying over debt from undergraduate courses. Undergraduates should be adequately financed. In particular, commercial interest rates would hit postgrads very hard and should be opposed.