Poverty for Postgrads Blog Discussion

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  • reen_3
    reen_3 Posts: 81 Forumite
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    dontcha just love it when people says that "taxes" should be used to pay for things, as if tax money miraculously appears from thin air. i work 45+ hrs per week while studying full-time. i pay for my tuition, rent, etc. i have never received a penny of benefits. between national insurance (which i will never get to claim) & income taxes, around 1/3 of my salary goes to the govt. and you know what? i don't mind. i think taxes should be higher, not lower. but i also think that they should be spent in a way that benefits everyone, not just middle class parents who don't want to pay for their kids uni. (btw, when i say 'don't want', i mean 'don't want'. if i can afford to do it working as a bartender, then so can almost anyone. it's not like it was an unexpected expense.)

    when i have children, i plan on sending them to private schools because, with few exceptions, the state eductaion system leaves much to be desired. not every problem can be solved with money, but a lot of them can be. the system should be flooded with funding, but instead, money is wasted on all those students getting 3rds in their BAs in communications.

    no one should be denied the chance to go to uni, but nor should the public have to pay for it.
  • critical1
    critical1 Posts: 71 Forumite
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    A very serious debate here and one close to my heart as I wish to pursue a Masters this year... and am considering renting my body to science(NOT) but am really stuck for funding for my course 

    Taxes well I've paid loads of that hmmm I rarely drink and don’t smoke, so I don’t put a strain on the health services, as a student I still pay taxes no perks for me.

    And as my partner and me are trying to get ourselves out of a rock and a hard place by education... the last few years have been very difficult, we also have a 10yr old daughter and I'm not some 20 year old who has loads of energy I wish I did, I know just how to us it, us mature students seem to have a more difficult time in the job market… please don’t say that as your way over 35yrs you should not try to better yourself, I had a rough start and it’s taken me a while to get were I am now, what with me being Dyslexic and other issues.

    But the main point here is that any society which wishes to maintain an economic, cultural and progressive advanced country must have the educational skills and training to support itself, for instance the UK has a long history of not learning languages ditto... now that China is becoming a major international player with the Mandarin language outnumbering English by 2-1. I believe we should be learning the competitions language and getting ready to do business otherwise we will be left behind in the world, with no skills to speak of since we were too tight in training educating and inspiring current and future generations. The USA has loads of opportunities in education and languages if we are not quick we’ll be left behind the rest of the world economically and socially the UK may not be part of the G7/8 anymore…

    Society as a whole depends on lawyer, doctors, artist, builders, musicians, linguists, scientists, etc and I would support any society that promotes these, I ask myself sometime why does the UK still have a skills drain why are our nurses /doctors/ scientists/ builders and some of our best talent going abroad to work??? :confused:
  • reen_3
    reen_3 Posts: 81 Forumite
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    critical1 wrote:
    please don’t say that as your way over 35yrs you should not try to better yourself

    of course you should. as i've said before, everyone who wants to should have the opportunity to get a good education. no one should have to pay any tuition up front. this is the best way to level the playing field without penalising people who have had the foresight to save for education. rich or poor, everyone should pay the same amount in the end. but no one should have to pay up front.

    anyway, i'm not so sure that parents should be held responsible for paying for their adult (over the age of 18) children. why are all decisions regarding financial aid, etc based on the parents' income? my husband's parents didn't pay for his tuition, though they could afford it, yet he received no aid. let the child pay for their own eductaion after they have a good job. what the parents have is irrelevant. it's up to them whether or not they want to pay, the same way as it's up to them whether they buy their little darling a car. you cannot stop some parents from giving their children extra help, but nor should it be expected from everyone.

    reen (--off to work in a couple hours so that i can pay the £8.5k tuition for the upcoming school year)
  • jojo2004
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    reen wrote:
    (btw, when i say 'don't want', i mean 'don't want'. if i can afford to do it working as a bartender, then so can almost anyone. it's not like it was an unexpected expense.)
    Why should parents pay for their children's education, if "the taxpayer" (and forgive me, it's actually not some sort of badge of honour to pay taxes, it's perfectly normal, what every person does, doesn't actually make you specially put upon) doesn't have to???? I have never been hospitalised, I don't drive and I don't get het up about the fact that I have to pay for hospitals and roads, nonetheless.
    Also, it WAS an unexpected expense for people of my age, as the government ended student grants, introduced student loans and introduced fees all in the same year, and I had no inkling of that (neither did my parents, and none of us is deaf or lives in isolation on a small hill-top farm, I think we are pretty well aware of current affairs) until a year before I was due to go to Uni. So it WAS totally unexpected, and it was even more unexpected that I would go on to postgrad study - how can any one predict that???
    I think you are being rather churlish about the fact that some people get funding and you didn't. I think you must have worked bloody hard to get through whilst working as a bartender, and good on you, but maybe you should be proud of that, without being resentful of others who don't have to.
    :grin:If at first you don't succeed, then sky-diving isn't for you
  • emujuice
    emujuice Posts: 930 Forumite
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    It's an interesting debate. I do think that in Science and engineering subjects, if you can't find a funded PhD place then you're not up to doing a Phd. They're bloody tough in many ways and working outside your PhD is not a realistic possibility. For one, you're expected to do at least 40 hours in the lab, plus weekends when required. Also your supervisor probably won't allow it, certainly the research bodies don't allow it if you are getting a stipend.
    There are funded Masters places for some science subjects, but not a lot admittedly. There are also some grants for art students, but they are competative and few and far between, however postgraduate study is for the most intelligent and/or most enthusiastic students and if you really want to do it you should be willing and able to compete for funding.
    However, it's all a bit of a moot point. I got funding (£10,000 untaxed in my final 2 years and £8500 in my first) and lived off it just fine. I didn't go out drinking etc.. and acting like a student, because I'm not one. I work 9-6 like the rest of the lab and a student lifestyle isnt an option.
    BUT, I didn't really want to do a PhD! I wanted to do medicine as a postgrad course, but couldn't afford it, as there isn't enough funding. I wasn't willing to get several part time jobs to fund myself, which sugggests to me that I didn't want to do medicine enough to put myself through that. which is perhaps fair enough. However, I believe the NHS has lost out on a potentially good doctor. I think a postgrad makes a better medical student than a 18 year old who really doesn't know what they want to do in life, yet they recieve more financial support!
    I'm not sure where all this ranting is going to be honest! I'm in my own little limbo. I've finished my phd (nearly, 2 weeks till my viva) and i have enjoyed it, but it's made me realise that academia isn't for me. its' too pettty and too poorly paid. I've done some valuable research into the causes of congenital gut malformations, but I'm not sure what I've gained myself.
    I don't feel any more employable than i did as a postgrad...and I still don't know what do with myself!!
    sigh!
    (still I'm chuffed to have submitted! - 3 months after my funding ran out, but my supervisor arranged 3 months pay for me out of his overheads budget, cause i'm very lucky!)
  • lush_walrus
    lush_walrus Posts: 1,975 Forumite
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    reen wrote:
    two things...

    firstly, those who think that the govt should be paying for you to study should take a moment and consider who is actually paying for your self-improvement. it's not the govt but the TAXPAYER. the majority of people paying taxes did not and will not receive a higher education at all, much less a postgrad. why should the guy working at mcdonald's pay for you to study?

    Reen, I half agree and half don't, but this just stood out from the rest for being pretty bizzare as a comment. Tax is a collective system there to help fund a whole array of activities not just education! Ok so the guy who works in McDonalds might not have benefited from higher education but he may well benefit from tax in another way, such as having an operation, having the police investigate a crime against him, or the fire brigade stopping him from having his house burnt down. That is the whole point of paying tax that those who need a specific service can receive it without having to fund it, and in my opinion is education is part of that.

    I was lucky in that I studied while grants were still available and fees were paid. But I feel that I have more than paid that back through the fact that since completing education, I have been in the higher tax bracket for most of that time, I have also set up my own business which in turn pays plenty of tax back into the system and have never claimed a penny in benefits, so I feel that society (ie the receivers of my taxes) have made a good investment by subsidising a few years of my life I am now off of their hands and self suficient, so I am bound to over life pay more back into the system than I have taken out so far. But I dont regrudge a penny, if you go to America where you get what you pay for you will soon see why.

    In order for a country to remain at the cutting edge and therefore successful, you need to ensure that those who are bright enough, or willing enough or enthused enough push through the system and become the thinking people of our time. Its all very well and good making studying difficult for those who can't afford to pay themselves, but if the rest of the world is making it easy for their up and coming, which country do you really think will be the most profitable and successful in years to come? The one preventing their youth from becoming educated or the one who is embracing it?
  • Holden_2
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    I'm coming toward the end of a p/t MSc, taken to further my career prospects, and I'm pretty wound up by the previous posts from people saying that postgrad students should just get a job and stop complaining.

    Financial assistance of all stripes in the UK seems to be an evangelical discussion of personal rectitude and individual responsibility. I'm one of the (roughly) 8-9% of people from poor families (what used to be called working class, now not sure what to call it) lucky enough to get into uni, let alone postgrad study. I wouldn't have been able to continue studying without college assistance, and even then it has been as struggle.

    Do we want a nation of people prepared to stick it out in the first job that comes along? Or do we want the best education available for all, including mature students and career changers? Judging from some of the posts here we should be happy to just be in waged employment. This is a dismal prospect.

    I must say also the British tendency to see taxation in personal, transactional terms is in full force in some posts here. Taxation is by its nature a collective excercise -- I myself don't use many of the panoply of state services available to me which are funded by my taxes. But if any of us wants a glimpse into a tax free future, get yourself along to the US, the Land of Opportunity where uninsured women in childbirth are ejected from hospitals and and bridges fall down, killing dozens, because regional finances are so scarce.

    agree with the post saying that colleges squirrel away their funding opportunities -- seek and you shall find! They are there, but buried away in some obscure link. Worth looking for though.
  • celyn90
    celyn90 Posts: 3,249 Forumite
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    critical1 wrote: »
    I ask myself sometime why does the UK still have a skills drain why are our nurses /doctors/ scientists/ builders and some of our best talent going abroad to work??? :confused:

    I am applying for jobs elsewhere in Europe at the moment. The salary is twice as high in some cases as the equivalent position here. The tax is also lower. My advisor was joking he should apply for the position he's just recommended me for on the grounds of salary alone.

    I want to improve my language skills and in my line of work, working abroad for a while is seen as a way of showing you can cope in an international environment. Plus it's a new adventure and it might be fun :)
    :staradmin:starmod: beware of geeks bearing .gifs...:starmod::staradmin
    :starmod: Whoever said "nothing is impossible" obviously never tried to nail jelly to a tree :starmod:
  • princesspinchie
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    I totally understand why postgraduate study isn't fully funded - to stop people being professional students methinks! However, I find it really unfair there is no funding available at all in some places. I want to do a Masters in HIstory - I'm paying for it myself, if the tuition fees weren't so extortionate for so little return perhaps universities may get more interest, better quality students and better chances of getting research funding.

    I really take exception to a comment in this thread that 'if you can't get funding you aren't good enough for postgraduate study'. The sheer number of talented applicants to some subject areas means that some students will be disappointed and rejected.

    I feel the UK is heading in the wrong direction funding Undergraduate degrees in almost anything, many with very little academic rigour and yet continually underfunds the postgraduate sector.
    DRO granted 17/10/2009
  • melancholly
    melancholly Posts: 7,457 Forumite
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    i think the comment about being good enough for funding does have a point for phds - if you self fund a phd it will not be considered as good as that of someone else who competitively won funding.... fair or not, that's how it is. the worry is that for non-vocational training, as is the case for many masters courses, there isn't any point giving funding to anyone who wants to do it as it's just too expensive and takes the money away from giving everyone access at an undergrad level. access to some level of student loans would be a help, but most of us had to spend a year or more working to save up to pay for postgraduate study..... however that may be a good thing as it means only those who really want to do it can be bothered (unlike a lot of undergrad degrees where students are there for the sake of getting a degree rather than any interest in that particular subject).
    :happyhear
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