UWA students seek clarity on funding cuts
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.”
WA Cuts Campaign Coordinator Peter Derbyshire with PhD student Marjorie Fernandes.