As we all know, from September 2012, fees for undergraduate degrees in England and Wales can be as high as £9000. But the question of how this will influence the prices for postgraduate degrees is still looming to those who are considering studying past undergraduate level.
At present, the postgraduate fees are the same, they are slightly higher than an undergraduate degree, for example Loughborough University charges £4500 for the majority of its humanities and arts degrees at full-time postgraduate level.
However, next year, with the planned increases for undergraduate degrees, a postgraduate degree will be cheaper per annum. In September, the Guardian newspaper reported on how the increased fees would inevitably affect postgraduate numbers as students may be apprehensive to take on more debt.
After all, there are no student loans offered to those who take postgraduate degrees, and so students are forced to take out a career development loan from a bank, rely on relatives, seek sponsorship or work their way through a postgraduate degree. Scholarships are available to some, although they are few and far between in most academic fields.
A poll by ‘The Student Room’ proved this theory to be true when a survey revealed that less than 50% of postgraduates would have taken their studies further if they had been paying £9000 fees for their undergraduate degree. This is understandable, with most students graduating after 3 years with around £20,000 in debt.
Professor Morag Bell, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching), commented that, “It is not possible to predict the impact of increased undergraduate fees on the number of students that go on to postgraduate study, but we hope our reputation for the quality of the student experience and high graduate employment rates keeps us attractive in an ever more competitive market.”
The other looming issue which is highly discussed in student circles is the matter of postgraduate fees and their vulnerability at this point. The three-fold rise in undergraduate fees was debated, protested against and passed extremely quickly and there are concerns that it is only a matter of time before the government announces that postgraduate fees are to increase too.
Label asked Jayde Savage, VP Education, for her thoughts on the proposals, “I hope the predictions aren’t correct as it may hinder the number of postgraduates choosing to study at Loughborough. We have great postgraduate opportunities and it would be a real shame if students refrained from filling these positions because of financial problems.”