Postgraduates fear funds loss

They said most postgraduate students were outraged with the announcement that Completion Scholarships were also likely to get the chop.

�The Completion Scholarships really help the most disadvantaged postgraduates � they are given to people who will not complete otherwise,� Ms Barry said.

�At UWA, it takes a postgraduate about 4.4 years to complete and we run out of funding in three years.

�Every single postgrad I’ve talked to in my department said they were going to apply for it and are hoping for the best outcome.�

Mr Derbyshire said the reduced funding in the Top-Up Scholarships, down from $5000 to $3500 per person, would put students below minimum wage.

�The Completion Scholarship cut didn�t go through any committee or any board,� he said.

�It has just been a decision made by someone but we don�t know who.

�We have hopes that the Completion Scholarships will be brought back � a lot of staff have started to voice their opinions.�

A UWA spokeswoman said despite scaling back the scholarships, expenditure on scholarships had increased over the past three years from $26 million in 2012 to $31 million in 2014.

�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,� the spokeswoman said.

�The university recently announced a new round of Completion Scholarships to offer assistance to students completing PhDs.

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

Mr Derbyshire said postgraduate students produced almost 20 per cent of the research journal output of UWA.

�Postgraduate students do a lot for the reputation of the university, a lot for the research and by our very completion we bring in money to the university,� he said.

�We�d just like to be listened to and treated like the resource we are.”

Other Perth universities, including Curtin University, Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University, confirmed they had not made any cuts to scholarships in the past two years.