The Doctoral College should offer funded extensions to self-funded PhDs

Passed: March 2021 (16th)

What do you want? / Why do you want it?

The Doctoral College has acknowledged that COVID-19 has interrupted PhD progress to the point where most students will have to go into the 4th year of their PhD due to COVID disruptions:

  • lack of access to research resources and facilities;

  • interruption of data collection and/or fieldwork;

  • increased caring responsibilities;

  • disability or health (including mental health) condition.

They have offered a pot of money for students to apply for funded extensions - but only to those who were already funded. As of the 9th of Feb 2021, the Doctoral College has finally offered support for self-funded students in the form of a one-off £500 grant. While this is a great first step, the three-month funded extension offered to funded students is worth £1,200 a month (for a total of £3,600). This means that while the Doctoral College is offering self-funded students some support, and acknowledging that they need it, the support on offer is a 7th of what they are giving other PhD students. Clearly, there is still a great disparity in the support on offer.

Other universities like York, Southampton, and LSE have all offered support to PGRs in the form of funded extensions whether a student is funded or not. Self-funded students at other universities have been given either a funded 3-month extension or tuition reimbursement at a percentage that covers the cost of a three - 6-month extension. The University of Leeds should follow this precedent and offer a funded extension to all PhD students regardless of funding or fee status (i.e., to Internationals, Home and EU students - self-funded or not). This should either be in the form of a grant or a tuition reimbursement so that all PhD students can finish their degree without entering economic hardship because of the University’s closure.

Expires: March 2024 (16th)

Submitted By: Kayla Kemhadjian

Officer: Education

Area of Work: Access to Education


March 2021: New Policy