On the 1st May 2004, ten new countries joined the European Union. However, for the remaining three or four months after accession, these postgraduate students will still be charged fees at overseas student rate. For a number of postgraduate courses, the difference in fees is in the region of £3,000. NPC believes this is discrimination against such students and not in the spirit of the European Union.
So what has been happening since that meeting? Well, NPC has written plenty of letters to bodies including Universities UK, the body for Vice Chancellors and also it has taken the matter to the Department for Education and Skills, where the matter was also discussed with Alan Johnson MP, Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education. After discussing the matter with Mr Johnson he saw it as open to the institutions to deal with, who may possibly charge fees on a termly basis and so could charge at EU rate for the final term. This was entirely up to the institutions, however, and the only means at present to deal with the matter is to lobby them all individually.
A press release was also taken in by the Guardian Online, which was published soon after the 1st May. This will certainly push some public interest in the issue. NPC was also able to take an emergency motion to NUS National Council where we have their support in the campaign but also the ability to encourage other member organisations of the National Union of Students in Europe (ESiB) to take part. As a means of helping postgraduate representatives and student representative bodies across the UK, NPC has produced campaign material available on the website. You can also email the general secretary on firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Everyone is encouraged to use this in helping the new EU accession students.