PhD Funding



I'm actually emailing on behalf of my Mum - hope this is ok?

She is in her final year of her PhD and has submitted her draft. Every year she has had 75% of her fees waived as she did receive the carers allowance (she now receives OAP pension). However, this year the University have declared that they will not wavier the 75% and she has to pay the full amount.

She is some what distress as when she signed up she received a letter from the University stating that yes she was eligible for fee wavier and therefore, committed herself to the MPhil/PhD, and now they are saying the rules have changed and now in her final year she is no longer eligible and she feels that after 13 years ( 9 years in total as she had to take time out due to being a carer) of hard work she can not afford to continue.

Is there any ruling that the University has to fulfil their commitment as they originally agreed to wavier the fees? She has shown them the letter they sent and they aren't budging.

Hope someone can help



This sort of thing is a grey area because financial directors at unis tend to have a lot of discretionary power. I started my 2nd undergrad with a special fee arrangement at the uni and was also given a letter stating the arrangement. Between the 2nd and Final year that director left and the new one overturned the decision and I ended up having to go a route that left me in financial peril. I had to abide by the new arrangment or else drop out and I wanted to complete.

It's probably a good idea to look closely at the university regulations for fees for phds and see what their financial regs say. Maybe speak to someone senior in finance or ask the student services/student help/stud guidance whatever they call it at your mum's uni and ask them to liaise with finance. There are also law firms that specialise in Higher Ed cases but this is a last resort due to the costs. Have you looked at any government Dept for Education and Skills websites to see what they say about exemptions for people on a pension?

I hope something in here might be of help and that you find a solution that let's your mum get her phd


Sorry to hear about that Moofa :(

What about your mum's supervisors? Can they get involved and lobby on her behalf? I imagine they, and the department, would be eager for her to continue without this getting in the way considering how close she is to finishing.


In my uni if you have a draft of your thesis and aim to complete in the next 12 months you can enter the write-up stage whereby you only pay a small amount of the usual annual fees. I think it represents about 25%. Is this an option for her to do?


If your mother is in her final year of the phd, she should (at many universities) be paying reduced fees because it is her "writng-up" year i..e minimal supervision etc. At my university (large northern redbrick) the fees for the writing up year (i..e fourth year full time) are much reduced i.e. £250 as opposed to £3,700 for the normal rates. The nominal fee covers library usage etc. You should fef make sure you mum is paying for completion rather than the full rates.... even if she didn't get a waiver for that, a smaller amount is perhaps possible to pay?



Thanks everyone for their help!

I have passed on your kind messages and advice to my Mum. To be honest her supervisors are not much use and have gradually been more difficult to work with and despite doing everything they have requested of her they seem poor in communication. In fact she got a second opinion with regards to the work she had completed and the academic said it was excellent and ready to submit, yet her supervisors still keep coming back with more work for her to do......