Back when I first decided to enter postgraduate education, opportunities for financial aid were few and far between. Ambition and outstanding grades didn’t necessarily translate to a Masters or a PhD; if you couldn’t afford the fees or the living costs, you would have to concede your place on your dream course to somebody who could.
While this situation certainly seems to be improving – with the introduction of Masters’ funding this year, and PhD funding come 2018 – I wrote this article for the Times Higher Education to highlight the still-prevalent, popular distinction between the educated and the poor. While I make the point that the Brexit ‘experts’ debate seems to be the most recent manifestation of this distinction, the reason I wrote this piece was to get a few things off my chest about the more generally damaging attitudes towards working-class academics across all class boundaries. Hopefully we will eventually reach a stage where the notion that a person can begin their life in a disadvantaged position and still thrive academically isn’t too shocking to people; however, it seems clear to me that there is still a lot of work to be done before we arrive at that point.
You can read Ryan’s article here.