PhDs in poverty

May 7, 2004

So rising numbers of Australian students depend on food handouts ("Students forced to live on charity", April 30)?

While I sympathise with impoverished undergraduates around the world, I would point out that the situation is even worse for poor UK postgraduates.

I have offers to study for a PhD but cannot afford the fees, let alone my living expenses. If I wished to be a schoolteacher, the course would be free and I would receive a grant plus a bonus on entering the profession in a shortage subject. But as I plan to become an academic (madness, I know), I face stiff competition for funding.

Is it not irresponsible to fail to invest in those of us who desire to contribute to a vital and growing area of the economy? Do we not need more lecturing staff as student numbers continue to rise?

Richard Wilson

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