Introduce student loans for PhD students in Scotland

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I have received an admission offer for a PhD programme in Linguistics. Although this admission offer is something that I have worked for for the last five years, I have found myself in a situation in which I may not be able to accept this admission offer. Unless I find funding to cover the tuition fees, I will have to reject this once in a lifetime opportunity.

I am not the only one PhD student who straggles with funding while working on a PhD project. The reality of PhD students in Scotland is that unless a potential PhD candidate receives financial support from family, or is among the lucky minority of candidates who fit they academic interests under the sponsored PhD programmes which change on yearly basis and not all subjects receive funding every year, the rest of successful PhD candidates struggle to cover the costs of tuition fees and living.

Working on a PhD project requires full-time work- it represents at least 36-40 hours of work per week and often it is more. PhD students are adults and many among them, including myself, already have family and children. The lack of funding forces potential students to choose between working on a PhD project or dropping it. Working on a PhD project and having extra part-time work is often suggested as an option for PhD students; however, it is challenging to achieve, and for those with children it is unrealistic. If I worked forty hours per week on my PhD project and an additional twenty hours per week at different work, I would not see my son and husband at all. This would affect strongly my whole family and my son’s development as family is the basic micro -society for a young child whose needs must be met. It is also far from the role model I would like to be for my son.
The student loans are not available for PhD students in Scotland. Undertaking a PhD degree involves no less time and effort than undergraduate or postgraduate (Masters level) degree, that is why PhD students should be treated equally and have access to student loans just like undergraduate and Masters students.

That is why I have decided to ask the Scottish Government to introduce student loans for PhD students. I have sent letters and emails to the representatives of the Scottish Government introducing the reality of PhD students and asked them for a change of the current policy, which denies PhD student the access to student loans.

Please sign the petition and stand with me to support PhD students in Scotland!

Thank You!

Marta

 



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