Monday, July 12, 2010

Students are likely to have to fund their own Masters study?

Victoria University's Salient has popped up a story about eligibility to the student loans scheme for post graduate students.
Some future doctors and those seeking a higher education will be forced to fund some of their own studies after changes made to the Student Loan Scheme earlier this year.

In an exclusive statement to Salient, Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce admitted that the changes made to the Loan Scheme in Budget 2010 will mean that some students will not have access to student loans to cover their final years of study.
This is nothing new. There are limits on how long students can get a student loan and for the average student with a three year degree (and honours) this policy won't affect them. But the Salient article says the opposite.
The loan scheme restructure means students who complete a double degree and honours will likely need to fund any Masters study out of their own pocket, but may then be able to access funding for Doctorate study.
That is simply incorrect.

Most students will be unlikely to have to fund their own masters even if they did two degrees - anyway, most students would do a double major,which takes around the same time as a single major.

Most degrees take fewer than 5 EFTS (effective full time student) to complete. A student who studies full time for about 52 weeks a year is a 0.8 EFTS. An undergraduate can get the student loan for 7 EFTS, with a further 1 EFTS allowed for postgraduate study and 3 EFTS for doctoral study if these EFTS are unused.That's more than eight years of study. The same rules apply for the student allowance. So the average full time student studying to honours level will only run out of EFTS if he or she fails and then resits a good deal of papers - in a second degree.

Where the policy could affect students is post graduate study after degrees that take around seven years - such as medical studies. But it is blatantly incorrect to state that students who complete a double degree and honours will likely need to fund Masters out of their own pockets - with the implication that most students who have done honours will have to fork out for Masters.

You only have to look at the Cabinet papers to find that out. Obviously Salient didn't bother to do that.

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