Magazine article Times Higher Education

Poorer Applicants 'Disadvantaged' in Postgrad Fun Ding Struggle

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Poorer Applicants 'Disadvantaged' in Postgrad Fun Ding Struggle

Article excerpt

Nearly half of the richest applicants to postgraduate degrees expect to rely on their parents for funding, while as few as one in eight students from poorer backgrounds can say the same, according to a major study.

A survey of 1,226 taught postgraduates who enrolled on science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses at 11 UK universities last year found that 41.2 per cent of students from the most affluent families said that their parents would be their main source of funding.

In contrast, the results for students from the least privileged backgrounds were as low as 12.8 per cent. These students were much more likely to rely on their own savings or personal income, and were also more likely to take out loans to fund their studies.

Researchers at Kingston University argue that their study, conducted mainly in post-92 institutions but also including the University of Edinburgh, demonstrates how students from poorer backgrounds are being marginalised from postgraduate study.

Lack of funding was one of the key reasons why students dropped out of the application process, and those who did start courses were more likely to say that they regarded fee levels as being very important if they were from a poorer background.

Some 61.7 per cent of the UK students aged under 25 who were included in the sample had study debts of between £15,000 and £25,000 before enrolling on their master's, and all of these completed their undergraduate studies prior to the introduction of higher fees. …

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