Oxford lets paupers be postgrads
End of the ‘wealth test’ greeted as a victory for access
Postgraduate students no longer have to prove they’re rich to study at Britain’s oldest uni.
Previously, any applicant wishing to study postgraduate courses had to produce proof of up to £12,900 in liquid assets, not including potentially even more in tuition fees, demonstrating that the university was not selecting candidates based solely on academic brilliance.
Twenty-seven year old applicant Damien Shannon, studying for an MSc in Economics and Social History at St. Hugh’s College, legally challenged the university for discrimination against the poor after it was found that any offer a postgraduate applicant receives is conditional on this proof of wealth.
The university has since abolished what some are calling a “wealth test”, now opting for a slightly diluted version – a “financial declaration.”
This demands proof of funds to cover the tuition fees for the first year, and asks for “assurance that you are able to meet living costs” for which no evidence is required.
A second-year at St Anne’s College said: “I think it’s disgusting and unnerving that Oxford shows such willingness to open its doors to poorer students for undergraduate courses, but was unable for such a long time to do the same for post-graduates.
“It deters the brightest from continuing their education and deepens the notion that the economically elite alone are afforded the best possible opportunities.”
A spokesman from Oxford said that this clause was in the candidates’ best interests, favouring their welfare: “It is still intended to prevent students dropping out during their course, which is in the interest of both the welfare of individual students and of the institution.”