New support package for postgraduate students

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Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Jobs & Careers, Politics
Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry has announced the introduction of new tuition fee loans for taught postgraduate students. student2Minister Farry said, “Currently the majority of our postgraduate students cannot access any standard student support package for their tuition fees. The vast majority, particularly those on taught courses such as Masters Programmes, must self-fund their studies. “Following a public consultation exercise, I am pleased to announce that arrangements are now in place for the introduction of a new non means tested tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 for taught postgraduate students from Northern Ireland. “The new loan will allow students to extend the balance on their existing undergraduate loans to receive additional tuition fee support for an additional year of postgraduate study. It will also be available over a number of years for students wishing to study on a more flexible part-time basis. “An expansion of postgraduate provision is a key aim of my Department’s Higher Education Strategy, ‘Graduating to Success’. This solution, which is unique within the UK, will make postgraduate study much more accessible and go a long way towards achieving that vision.” Professor Richard Millar, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Ulster University, said, “Postgraduate study enables anyone, from recent graduates to those in long-term employment, the opportunity to enhance their career development by specialising in a key area, securing necessary accreditation or changing direction entirely to take advantage of new or emerging sectors.
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LearnSpark1“The new loan facility will ensure that higher education is not placed out of reach and I hope it will support and encourage even more people into postgraduate study, particularly those who need more flexible, part-time study options because of work or family commitments.” Queen’s University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, Professor David Jones said, “We very much welcome the Minister’s statement. Any initiative that encourages students to continue their education at postgraduate level is good news for them and good news for the Northern Ireland knowledge economy. There are currently about 8,000 students in UK higher education institutions who could potentially benefit from the new loans. The loans will be available from the 2017/18 academic year.
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