College leaders have recognised they cannot yet match “fierce competition” in postgraduate funding from North America, as it was revealed as one of the aspects of university life Oxford students are least satisfied with.
54 percent of 2,785 postgraduates surveyed said they were happy with “the availability of financial support/bursaries provided by the College”, according to the Barometer survey – the lowest score of any question.
Among many low scoring colleges were St Hugh’s (39 percent satisfied), Wolfson (37), and St Cross (27).
Some did score highly, however, with Jesus and St John’s obtaining satisfaction ratings of 84 and 83 percent respectively.
Oxford received a boost late last term with a £26m scholarship scheme donated by widow of the Atlantic Records founder, Ahmet Ertegun, but 62 percent of research students and just 41 percent of taught postgraduates were satisfied with funding from the University or their subject department.
Sir Michael Scholar, St John’s President, said: “We’ve put a lot of effort into this area, with, for example, our Lamb and Flag scholarships which are funded from the profits of the pub. But we, like the rest of Oxford, are up against fierce North American competition in graduate funding, which we cannot yet match. We’re making this an important target for our fund-raising efforts and I have high hopes of securing new funding for graduates in the years ahead.”
Jesus Senior Tutor, Alex Lumbers, said: “Our postgraduates can apply for a very generous yearly research allowance of up to £782 pa to help with the cost of travel to carry out research, conference attendance, purchasing equipment etc. in addition to our grants, scholarships and studentships funded by old members and other donors.”
“Despite the current economic climate which inevitably means that we need to be very careful with our finances, we have prioritised financial support for our students,” she added.
A University spokesperson said: “It is always useful to get student feedback and we look at the results of the Student Barometer Survey with interest.”