Published on November 13, 2012 | by Morgana Edwards


Priced out of a Postgraduate degree

Female student sitting at table and reading a book in a library

British students are struggling to fund a postgraduate degree [Oliver Creamer]

British students are being priced out of further education as less than one in ten undergraduates go onto study at postgraduate level, according to the Higher Education Commission.

This statistic places Britain in a similar position on the league tables as countries such as Andorra and Kazakhstan.

There is currently no state-backed loan available to those wishing to study at postgraduate level, despite many students and economists calling on the government to provide one.

The financial strain of a postgraduate degree is clearly not an economic gamble worth taking for many.

Although it may increase the likelihood of students getting a job at the end of their course, it does not ensure it.


Courtney Griffiths, SUarts education officer, said:

“Postgraduate study continues to be neglected or treated only as a source of revenue, rather than recognised as a crucial contributor to the enrichment of the UK’s education.

“The idea that postgraduate study could soon be limited to the financially elite is sickening, but unfortunately it may not be far from true.” Courtney Griffiths 

“With arts education more at risk than ever before, postgraduate students don’t need more motivation – what they need is more support to access and fund their studies.“

With many British students being unable to afford the postgraduate places on offer, students from abroad are filling the places.

Unless these students then choose to stay in the UK, the country’s economy is weakened due to lack of employable adults with high-level skills and qualifications.


Furthermore, postgraduate degrees have recently been criticised as a new discriminatory element to the education system.

Due to the cost and lack of monetary support from the government, they are being viewed as a badge of the elite that only those who are already wealthy can afford.

Griffiths said: “The idea that postgraduate study could soon be limited to the financially elite is sickening, but unfortunately it may not be far from true.

“With rapidly rising course costs, fewer grants and bursaries offered, and affordable funding opportunities few and far between, something needs to be done very soon to stop these barriers to education.”

With the job market in the UK more competitive than ever, the statistic released by the Higher Education Commission is of great concern to many graduates.

This is because more employers are seeking higher-level qualifications, particularly in jobs surrounding maths and the sciences.


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