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Funding Distance Learning MSc in Scotland

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I am Scottish, living and working in Scotland and studying towards a MSc at a Scottish University. To gain my MSc I need to pass 8 modules and write a dissertation. To date I have completed 4 modules which entitles me to a PG Cert qualification and I would really like to complete the rest of my studies to gain the MSc qualification. The problem....money.

When I started out on my course the modules were £1,250 each with the dissertation being more expensive. The university has increased the course fees every year so now the modules are £1,530 each with the dissertation costing over £4,000. I contacted the university to ask how they could justify increasing the costs as we are distance learning students and do everything online. The only real cost to our course is the staff costs and I very much doubt the staff have seen such generous pay increases. The university palmed me off and suggested it was the fault of the Scottish Government. I then contacted my MSP who in turn forwarded my questions and concerns to the Education Minister at the Scottish Parliament. In all honesty banging my head against a brick wall would have been more productive. After several rounds of generic answers that didn't answer any of my questions I came to the conclusion that as far as distance learning courses go the universities have carte blanche to charge what they like.

I did look into salary sacrifice where I would at least save on PAYE and NI but the government scrapped this in April 2017 so I would only now be able to save on NI. I'm not eligible for career development loans because the MSc will take longer than 2 years. I looked into funding via SAAS but the eligibility criteria for part time postgraduate qualifications states, "You must be studying a course that has a taught element and is not completely distance-learning." :wall:

I am going to contact the university for advice about how to fund my course but I am not holding my breath. Does anyone on MSE have any advice or ideas on funding options I could look at....other than forget about the MSc which is an option I am seriously considering right now.

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  • Voyager2002
    Voyager2002 Posts: 15,373 Forumite
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    Find out how Open University students fund their studies: they of course are in a similar position. The OU student enquiry service is actually very good, and might give you some ideas that you could use.
  • BorisThomson
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    Find out how Open University students fund their studies: they of course are in a similar position. The OU student enquiry service is actually very good, and might give you some ideas that you could use.

    The SAAS rules differ for OU as opposed to other DL courses. They offer funding for OU as standard but not for entirely DL courses from campus based universities.
  • [Deleted User]
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    I thought I would give an update after I received “help” from the university. I was provided with a link to the finance and scholarships page for postgraduate students which I had already looked at prior to contacting the university so I already knew that DL postgraduate students are not eligible for any of the funding sources listed.

    There is a link to alternative postgraduate funding but RGU don’t appear to be registered for that service. :wall:

    I’ve asked where there is a link to a service that is RGU students can’t access but so far radio silence. Great service for a £15k course. :cool:
  • [Deleted User]
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    Could you start again, and do a taught post graduate degree or OU postgraduate degree for which there is funding as far as I understand it?

    I realise its not ideal, but it might be the only way.
  • [Deleted User]
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    I had looked at the OU previously but not many of the modules were all that relevant to me. The course is accredit by the Engineering Council which is one of the criteria I was looking for. I was actually thinking of switching to something a bit different with the OU like maths and statistics.
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