As UKRI increases stipend; Int’l PhD students overlooked amid cost of living crisis

2 minute read
As UKRI increases stipend; Int’l PhD students overlooked amid cost of living crisis

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced earlier this month that stipends would increase by a further 10% coming to effect from October 1, 2022. However, for international students, these increases will hardly cover the cost of their high fees.

While asking for a larger amount of financial support needed, especially by international students, George Aylett, a PhD student at Leeds University, told The PIE News that: “The announcement by UKRI over stipend increases is a good step forward however it does not go far enough.” 

“Many self-funded Post-Graduate Researchers (PGRs), especially international PGRs, are facing the squeeze during the cost of living crisis alongside paying for extortionate tuition fees and everything else,” he further added.

As UKRI said in its statement regarding the stipend increase, it was responding to direct calls from supervisors, students, research organisers as well as other mission groups, as it was the priority.

Melanie Welham, the UKRI’s executive champion for people, culture and talent, claimed that the response on this issue had made it clear that work on stipends had to be prioritised instead of other things under the New Deal for Postgraduate Research.

This new deal was called to establish a positive research culture where doctoral training is affordable, attractive, as well as accessible. Moreover, it is to make sure that research is financially sustainable.

Although Brexit has meant opening more scholarships for international PhD students, more and more have been losing out as the competition has been getting tougher.

The University and College Union (UCU) Postgraduate division has been asking has been raising its voice on the stipend situation for some time. However, it is still unsatisfied with universities’ response – claiming that no universities confirmed whether they will disperse financial support to self-funded PhD students, out of which many are international students.

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