From an International PGT Student: ‘This is unacceptable’

As an International student from outside of the EU I am deeply disheartened to see that the deposit roll-back has not been put into effect for international students as well. While the UK is extremely unfriendly to international students, especially those from the developing world, such as myself, if institutes like Kings continue to mett out such discrimination, I would have to say that this is unacceptable. In any case, we are always asked for higher fees as well as deposits, and to be honest, I made a payment of 2000 pounds last year to hold my place in the course too.

If the fact that International students have to show the visa office full funding to gain a visa is the logic that the admin is showing to say that we must be able to shell out 2000 pounds, please inform them that for many of us who make applications in October -December the college asks for this deposit in April, whereas we aren’t required to show the visa office anything until we apply for a visa, which in mine and many other students’ cases was in early August. So having the two funds are very different for us.


Make a difference: find out more and sign the petition.

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From an International Undergrad: The roll back ignores international students’ needs.

I just thought I’d share my situation with you as an international student.
I have already been at King’s for three years as an undergraduate, and as an international student my fees are significantly higher than home students, which are also subject to an increase annually. I am returning to King’s in September to do an MA and I find it appalling that on top of all the finances that I have already given to King’s, I am now being asked to pay a deposit of £2000. It’s bad enough that this deposit is double of what home students were initially asked to pay, but what makes it worse is that the rollback doesn’t apply to international students even in part (i.e. a reduction from say 2K to 1K).
Luckily, my parents were willing to help out and I was able to secure my place at King’s for the MA beginning September 2016. But what is even more appalling to me is how exclusive this deposit roll back is, and how it is limited to only home/EU students. With all the other problems that King’s has been under attack for, i.e., the treatment of BME students and faculty and so on, I think it’s disgraceful that this deposit rollback has been done only in part and does not apply to international students, especially returning ones who have already given so much in the way of finances to King’s over the period of three years!
I really think that in combination with the stricter immigration laws being implemented by the Home Office, and KCL’s own foolish policies, they’re going to lose out on international students, which is sad because King’s is known for its diversity. And I really hope they don’t reinstate the deposit next year.

Other students have raised the point that KCL shows no loyalty to returning students.
Make a difference: find out more and sign the petition.

From Dr. Ian Barrett (Director of Administration)

I’m happy to confirm the following details:

  • The College has agreed that for the remainder of this year’s cycle no Home/EU student accepting an offer for an Arts & Humanities PGT programme will be asked to pay a deposit. Additionally all Home/EU students who have declined an offer or let it lapse will be informed that their offer can be renewed without payment of deposit being required for acceptance.
  • There will be a review of the scheme across the College for next year’s admissions round, in which the Faculty will be involved.

Applicants who have already paid the deposit as part of their acceptance of an offer will proceed in accordance with the existing advertised lines of the scheme – i.e. the deposit is an advance payment on the rest of the tuition fee. If applicants have any queries regarding fees or funding, they should of course feel free to contact the Admissions Office through the usual channels.


Any students in the Arts & Humanities who have already paid their deposits: please consider writing a complaint or testimonial. Let us know how this expense has affected you.

Students outside of A & H – share, sign, and tell us how you feel. Your complaints will be heard.

Email giovanna.marasco@kcl.ac.uk or get in touch through the ‘contact’ form on this blog. Let us know if you would like your complaint to be kept anonymous, or if you are happy to have your statement attached to your name.

NEWS: MA Deposit ROLL BACK in Arts & Humanities

The following post is reproduced from the petition page. If you’ve yet to sign and share – please do! We still need your names and complaints!


 

On Wednesday 8th June, KCLSU’s Vice-President, Ben Hunt (Arts & Sciences) and I met with Vice-Principal Evelyn Welch (Arts & Sciences) and Paul Teulon, Director of Admissions.

Later that day, emails were sent out to all the Post-graduate Taught course convenors, and all domestic/EU MA offer holders in the school of Arts and Humanities.

These emails explained that the Arts & Hums deposit policy, which was so hastily implemented, has now been suspended for the remainder of the year.

This means:

  1. All current domestic/EU MA offer holders in the school of Arts and Humanities will be able to accept their offers WITHOUT paying the deposit.
  2. Every applicant who declined their offer or allowed it to lapse will be sent a NEW offer. NO DEPOSIT will be required to accept this renewed offer.

The Faculty has informed us that this may not be a permanent rollback. They believe that deposits are still necessary. A decision-making committee will meet later this month to discuss this petition, and the complaints and testimonials we and the teaching staff have compiled. Together we have made the Faculty take notice, and we have created change.

While this movement is a huge step forward, and demonstrates good faith on the part of the Faculty – it’s not enough. It does not acknowledge the difficulties faced by international students, who are still expected to pay exorbitant £2000 deposits; it neglects the students outside of Arts & Hums.

One student who has had her offer reinstated got in touch to offer thanks. She provided us with a copy of the email she received:

Last year the Faculty of Arts & Humanities extended the requirement to pay deposits when accepting an offer for a postgraduate course in our faculty to a number of courses which were not previously covered. Deposits are designed to help us to plan our provision better and provide our students with the best possible experience. However, we acknowledge that the newly introduced PGT deposits for Home/EU applicants has made it particularly difficult for some students applying for certain programmes to pursue their desire to study at King’s. To address this and in view of the continuing uncertainties around the new Postgraduate loan scheme we have decided to suspend the deposit scheme for Home/EU applicants to Arts & Humanities programmes for this year. Current Home/EU offer-holders for programmes in the Faculty will therefore no longer be required to pay a deposit for 2016/17 in order to accept their offer. If in light of this decision you would like King’s to reinstate your offer, please let us know and we will issue a new offer to you that you will be able to accept without having to pay a deposit.

A copy of the email sent out to the PGT leads in Arts & Hums (detailing the change) is forthcoming.


Thank you all SO, SO much for your support and your signatures. Please keep sharing the petition – the more names and complaints we collate, the more likely the deposit will be dropped permanently. Right now we have 1,315 signatures, 200 comments/complaints and 25 individual testimonials on the blog.

With warm thanks,
Giovanna Marasco

 

From an Undergrad (2): King’s statement is misleading

My name is Alex and I am a third year War Studies student waiting to graduate with a First class degree. I have been offered a Master’s in Conflict, Security and Development in the War Studies Department. The deposit required by King’s makes it prohibitively expensive for me to accept my offer as I am awaiting a decision on a scholarship for financial hardship and academic talent. King’s recently published a statement which misleadingly suggested people waiting for scholarship decisions are excluded from the deposit. This has not been my experience, and I have spent much of my third year having my protests rejected. I was told to find ‘another scholarship’ or that if I suffered a medical emergency before the Master’s began I could receive a refund. It is only because one of my professors was outraged by my predicament that I have been able to extend my payment window.

Not everyone has benevolent professors like mine, or a tight knit department like War Studies. This policy is exclusionary, elitist and nonsensical. Thanks to excellent tuition, and a lot of hard work, I have received the highest grades in my year twice in a row during my undergraduate degree. Then I was told because I do not have £1000 that I am unworthy of being able to continue with my education at King’s.

Alexandria Reid
Third year War Studies undergraduate

King’s responds to our petition, we get mad.

The university has sent in this statement, in response to the MA deposit petition (follow the link to find out more).
Read on for KCL’s full statement, and petition starter’s (Giovanna Marasco’s) response.
We recognise the concerns that students have about ensuring the affordability of postgraduate education. It has been King’s College London policy for some time to request a deposit for certain postgraduate courses and this is now being rolled out more widely. Where required, deposits are usually around 10 per cent of the overall fees for the course and specified in the offer. This is a common practice across many Russell Group universities and helps to ensure that the limited number of places on each programme are allocated to students with a serious intention to join King’s. Regrettably, where deposits are not required, some applicants do hold onto their place with no intention to enrol, meaning another capable student misses out on the opportunity to study at King’s.
The deposit is refunded if the student does not meet the requirements of their offer and the department chooses not to accept based on the actual final grade. If the student is successful, the deposit is taken off the overall tuition fee balance. If a student is being actively considered for a scholarship which covers the full fees then the period for paying the deposit is extended and the deposit waived if the student is successful. The new Postgraduate Taught loan will not be included in this scheme.

Here at Angry Masters, we were (predictably) a little bit angry about this.
As the creator of the petition, I’d like to list a few reasons why I’m personally pissed off:
  • They ‘recognise’ our concerns yet dismiss them.
  • The deposits ask for more than 10% (but let’s not be facetious here, what’s £100 between friends (i.e., undergraduate students and an institution worth over £820 million)?
  • This ‘common practice’ is not in place across all Russell Group universities. Why does King’s feel obliged to follow their lead, rather than take a stand on the behalf of its lower-income students? KCL is a world-class institution: we should pioneer, not thoughtlessly conform.
  • That KCL feels the need to make all its MA courses have the same deposit, and to align itself as closely as possible with the Russell Group, only serves to show how arbitrary and out-of-touch the decision was. They did not consult KCLSU, individual students, or teaching faculty in rolling out this policy.
  • The policy ‘helps’ to ensure only ‘serious’ applicants accept their places. Surely the exorbitant £50 application fee (note, this is not an ‘administration fee’) is enough to deter casual applicants? Why does KCL ignore the human cost of this policy? What happens to students who suffer personal loss, illness, sudden financial hardship, or other changes in circumstance? Why punish these earnest students because a handful of undergrads feel like accepting two places at once? Why not simply make a condition of acceptance state: ‘Applicants may not accept their place at King’s if they have accepted a place elsewhere’?
  • Other students ‘miss out on the opportunity to study’ at KCL do they? Does KCL not offer more places than it has, in order to mitigate these exact circumstances? KCL could avoid disappointing applicants, by simply extending their application window, and making some later offers to fill vacant places (many smaller MA courses already do this).
  • Isn’t it nice that we get our money back if we’re not quite good enough for King’s, but King’s keeps it if tragic circumstances stops us from attending?
  • Yes, we understand how ‘deposits’ work. We know it’s not an additional fee. KCL here highlights the sad fact they don’t understand £1000-£2000 takes longer than 1-4 weeks to earn, and most student loans aren’t released until after study begins.
  • WHAT WAIVERS? As far as I, the many undergraduates and their family members who have been in touch, the teaching faculty I have spoken to (i.e., the MA Course convenors who are responsible for accepting or denying applicants) and the financial office are aware, no such waivers or extensions exist. Is KCL lying to us all? Why would they withhold this information if it’s true? If there are indeed waivers in place, this goes to show that KCL is absolutely terrible at communicating with the people at its heart: the students and the teaching staff.

Thank you for reading this especially lengthy post.

tl;dr: This policy was put in place by an out-of-touch administration, who have failed to consider the full effects and human cost of their actions. Weeding out non-serious applicants by testing how much money is in their bank accounts is always going to equate to weeding out non-wealthy applicants.

With warm thanks,
Giovanna Marasco


If you’ve yet to sign or share the petition, please do so here!

If you are a student at KCL, please share the petition with your teaching staff and cohort.
If you have applied for an MA (whether you’ve been able to pay the deposit or not) please consider asking your friends and family members to sign as well.

An Open Letter (7): from Avigail Goodman

In September 2016 a new loan similar to that of the student loan, is being made available to MA students. This loan opens doors to less privileged people with intellect, capability, and creativity, who are not lucky enough to come from a genealogical line of wealth or academia, thus qualifying for scholarships.

Higher education should cost money: it is like any other valued product being sold. However, by charging students before the academic year commences, and before they have been given this funding, results in King’s following suit in the elitist city that London is becoming; bestowing opportunity only upon those who are willing and able to buy it. London has and should continue to be a city for those with potential: allowing the chance for education and professional success.

Continue reading “An Open Letter (7): from Avigail Goodman”