I am seeking a bit of advice. I am a DEL funded (northern ireland) phd student at the end of my third year and was wondering if i dont submit a thesis am i eligible to pay back every penny i received from the studentship? My primary supervisor has been off on long period of time on numerous occasion (25 months in total out of the phd) and i am allowed an extension to july 2013 due to this. i am very behind on my work also and just feel i wont be completed even with the extension. As i get no more money i have no income and also since i cant work full-time while doing this i dont know whether to move back home and try to complete or leave the phd and get a job in order to keep my house. Im scared though that they will bill me for the grants i received?? thanks
======= Date Modified 18 Sep 2012 19:31:50 =======
I can't be sure of the Northern Ireland stipend / grant situation as regards repayment, but feasibly how can anyone expect you to pay back grant plus Uni. fees? That said, that's exactly what they're expecting with undergaduates in England (wrong, very wrong).
A few questions from someone who's a long time since through and out the other end:
1) I understand what you say as regards balacing fulltime work with PhD write-up, but that's exactly what I faced juggling first post-doc with PhD write up. But how do you know until you try?
2) Can you do a parttime job whilst writing up your PhD if you feel fulltime is unmanageable?
3) Given your primary supervisor has disappeared for such a long length of time, have you looked into asking for a new primary supervisor? Even if not exactly in your field, general guidance may be possible. Has the Uni. not suggested or advised this?
4) I think as well as an extension, because the situation is no fault of your own you should be entitled to a funding extension. Someone I know got six months extra money from the University itself as a mistake not of his doing, significantly delayed him. Have you asked?
5) If the situation has significantly compromised you, I think you might also have a case for compensation. Have you talked to the student union as they may be able to point you in the right direction as regards your legal situation?
6) An extension to July 2013 is not very much given you've been without a supervisor for 25 months. Have you pushed for longer?
I'm no solicitor, but it seems to me the Uni. has seriously failed you (and the funding organisation) and you have a strong case against them. But before resorting to legal recourse, I would exaust other channels first (rocking the boat is normally frowned upon as you've probably gathered).
Universities normally like difficult situations to quietly disappear and if you left now, I think it would be problem solved from their point of view. However, you've already put in nearly three years and they're only going to give you (at a guess) 9 months extra unfunded when 25 months of supervision have been lost. That's not good enough and I would want answers.
Keep us up-to-date with what happens, as any feedback may be helpful toother on here.
Thanks very much for your reply. It has only been in the last few months that we have discussed getting a new supervisor on board. It was me that suggested this to them, they agreed, but things have been very slow, i have made contact with the 'new supervisor' technically they cant pay him or bring him fully on board, maybe just pay him or a few sessions, even though hes 250 miles away. (he is the expert in my specific field). Im currently working part-time but it ends in a couple of weeks and I am trying elsewhere. I havn't much money to travel places to do more research as all what i have goes on rent, bills etc. I just dont know whether to cut my ties altogether (without the threat of thousands of pounds over my head) or try my best to get it finished.
======= Date Modified 18 Sep 2012 20:24:54 =======
A quick call to the research office should confirm whether or not you have to pay the money back (you don't need to give your name if that concerns you).
Normally terms and conditions can be found online.
You might like to see if you would be entitled to JSA, if you are actively looking for work and while you are job hunting you could perhaps work Frantically on your PhD.
Hi Postgrad, I know you asked mainly about paying back and already have received replies about this...and it sounds to me as if you are feeling pretty low right now buttt....
how far through are you-not in years but in actual data collection-research and writing? If you took the extension (continuing to work part-time)
and then worked full time-yes you could finish writing up while working full time. You would have drafts now I take it, so writing up is shaping up the thesis and polishing-making it coherent, etc.
This can definitely be done while working full time-it won't be easy but it is certainly possible. Many of us on the forum are working full time and doing their PhD-and while we are doing it part-time- the reality is many of us do it sort of half and half. There are times when we do very little on it because we are working on something and have a few life issues and then there are times when we are working on it almost full time as well as our full time job. It gets done.
If you took say, the 6 months extension and then allowed maybe another 8-12 months of finishing the write up while working full time, then you are late but you have finished it. The other thing is once you have finished the grant-you can work full time. The rules preventing you from working only apply while the grant is in place and not once it has finished.
Could you move back home for 6 months-sublet your house to students for 6 months, then move back in, get a job and finish the write up?
Sorry if I am being painful with my -"you can do it speech"-but the thing is it is such a lot of time and work to just let go of and I think you might regret doing this. Also while universities used to be more forgiving about these things, they are increasingly becoming far more competitive with regard to future offers. So you probably won't have to pay it back but it is going to be very hard to get another such grant in the future if this happens. Extreme reasons for non-completion or pulling out are accepted (medical or similar) but my observations and conversations with colleagues doing doctorates in the last few years (3-5 since GFC) have been that scholarships and entry are far more competitive and universities don't give many second chances (whereas once they did). Good luck. Think about all of that hard work you have already put into this and know you can finish if you really believe in yourself.:-)
I think you're right Ian-sorry Postgrad-I thought your extension was paid and that you could then take further time to submit after the grant finished. It does make a difference and hopefully Johnny has put your mind at rest. One other thing though...is it possible to take the extension and submit a thesis that (even if it doesn't qualify you for a PhD) would give you a Masters qualification?
Good luck with your decision whichever way you go...it is a tough decision to make(up)
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