Edinburgh University student forced to crowdfund tuition fees

A postgraduate student has been forced to rely on handouts from strangers to pay her sky-high tuition fees.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 11:43 am
Meg Bishop is currently studying for a degree in Human Geography at Edinburgh University

Meg Bishop is currently studying for a degree in Human Geography at Edinburgh University, a one year course costing £7000.

The 24-year-old full time student took out a £10,000 loan which is used to pay tuition fees and cover the student’s living expenses through the 12-month course.

With only £3000 a year to live on Miss Bishop from Hampshire took on part time work and managed to pay back £6000 of her fees.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But last month she found herself £1000 short due to lack of work during the pandemic combined with increased heating bills.

Devastated by the prospect of dropping out of her course if she did not come up with the cash Miss Bishop set up a Go fund Me page asking for help.

Shocked by how quickly donations flooded in, the delighted student was able to repay her final tuition installment and can now finish her degree.

She said: “In a couple of weeks I had raised £1000, a lot of people in the university donated and people I knew through mutual friends also helped out. A lot of people I didn't know donated which I am really thankful for.”

Miss Bishop said her situation is not unusual and she knows other postgraduate students who have had to crowdfund for their tuition fees.

She said: “I think it's a grim reflection of the way the university and higher education looks after their students.”

A University of Edinburgh spokesperson said: “We know that this is a challenging time for students, and that financial strains are a key concern, this year perhaps more than ever, so supporting our students’ mental health and wellbeing is an absolute priority. We have a team of student support staff who can provide guidance and support for those who may have financial concerns.

“The University, along with government agencies, research councils and charitable trusts, offers a range of scholarships which students can apply for before coming to Edinburgh. We have deepened our commitment to supporting students through our hardship funds, bolstered recently by additional support from the Scottish Government.

“In addition, as part of a commitment by the Scottish Government to support postgraduate research students during the Covid-19 pandemic, £250,000 in hardship funding is available to support continuing PhD and MSc by Research students. The funds cannot replace loss of income but can provide a contribution towards living costs.”

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.