Students will be forced to drop out if their grants are cut.

By Aisling Short

Many students will not be able to continue in third-level education if grant cuts are announced on budget day, according to the newly appointed Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr Lisa Looney.

Dr Looney said “some students simply won’t have the option of continuing their education,” and stated that cuts will have a disproportionate effect on students opting for the humanities or social sciences because funding and investment are more available for research and business.

She also said that making cuts in fourth level education would be against Government policy of trying to raise the amount of level 9 graduates to match the European level. She added that it would hinder recovery from our financial turmoil and prevent the growth of a “smart/knowledge based economy.”

When asked if postgraduate study could be seen as an easier target for cuts, Dr Looney said, “some [in Government] might see or refer to fourth level education as a luxury.”

At an early morning presentation held last Tuesday, a small group of students assembled to gain information on postgraduate study. Entitled Discovering the World of Postgraduate Study, it was presented by Head of Student Support and Development, Muireann NíDhuigneáin, and Dr Looney.

The fees for a taught degree can range from under €4,000 to €10,000.The charge for an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) can be as high as €29,500.

The talk urged students to remember that a higher degree is no guarantee of success in the job market and that it should not be seen as a way of deferring important career decisions. It was added that a more expensive degree does not necessarily mean higher quality or greater prestige.

Given the academic effort required to obtain satisfactory results during level 9 or 10, she said it couldn’t be described as a lazy or easy option.

She said that around 40 per cent of postgraduate students currently at DCU receive some amount of funding from a local authority. Other ways of obtaining funding include: fellowships, scholarships and research councils.

At a student council meeting a couple of weeks ago, a class rep said that postgraduate funding is a waste of money stating that people only go on to study a post grad because they’re too lazy to find a job.

However, Dr Looney disagreed, “I don’t believe that at all, those who enter postgraduate study make a huge personal commitment.”

When discussing why a student would go on to postgraduate study she said it was to become more specialised or develop expertise in a chosen area, to improve employment prospects and to achieve a complimentary qualification to a primary degree.

Dr Looney was given the task of overseeing postgraduate study at DCU last month.

For further information on funding or finding the right post grad course for you, visit or avail of the information and advice of the college careers service.

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