UWA stu­dents seek clar­ity on fund­ing cuts

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - So­phie Gabrielle

UNIVER­SITY of WA post­grad­u­ate stu­dents are still in the dark about fund­ing cuts to the univer­sity’s schol­ar­ships.

UWA Cuts Hurt cam­paign co­or­di­na­tor and post­grad­u­ate re­search stu­dent Peter Der­byshire is urg­ing the univer­sity, through its grad­u­ate re­search board, to make its po­si­tion on cut­ting the Com­ple­tion Schol­ar­ships clear.

Mr Der­byshire crowd­funded a pop-up soup kitchen at UWA last Wed­nes­day to feed hun­gry post­grad­u­ate stu­dents.

He said his Safety Net Top-Up Schol­ar­ship brought in an ad­di­tional $60 per week and made a huge dif­fer­ence.

“When you are star­ing into a cup­board at your last packet of pow­dered soup and pay day is two days away, or call­ing your par­ents to trans­fer $20 just to af­ford a train ticket home, you would give any­thing for that $60,” Mr Der­byshire said.

He said the an­nounce­ment that the Com­ple­tion Schol­ar­ships would be dis­con­tin­ued came af­ter it was re­vealed the Safety Net TopUp Schol­ar­ships would be phased out.

Mr Der­byshire said UWA’s pri­or­ity was to in­crease the num­ber of in­com­ing stu­dents rather than main­tain fund­ing for ex­ist­ing stu­dents.

“Peo­ple said the soup kitchen was a great idea - a lot of staff said that,” he said.

“The aca­demic staff re­alise the amount of post­grad­u­ates fin­ish­ing is an in­di­ca­tor of their per­for­mance so they want to help.

“We want a let­ter con­firm­ing the Com­ple­tion Schol­ar­ship round will go ahead at the end of this year and if it con­tin­ued for another year that would be fan­tas­tic.”

A UWA spokes­woman last month con­firmed that the univer­sity had made an an­nounce­ment to some stu­dents that the Com­ple­tion Schol­ar­ships would be dis­con­tin­ued.

“The an­nounce­ment in­di­cated that this may be the last round of Com­ple­tion Schol­ar­ships this year, although no de­ci­sion has yet been made,” she said.

“The univer­sity highly val­ues its re­search stu­dents and the fo­cus through the univer­sity’s New Cen­tury Cam­paign is to raise funds to fur­ther sup­port more schol­ar­ships for ex­ist­ing and new stu­dents.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d439818

WA Cuts Cam­paign Co­or­di­na­tor Peter Der­byshire with PhD stu­dent Mar­jorie Fer­nan­des.

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