Press release

million+ comments on budget announcement

18 Mar 2015

The university think-tank million+ has responded to the budget statement today (18 March) from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP.

Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University and Chair of million+ said:

“We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement that the funding of postgraduate research is to be reviewed. This will provide a long overdue opportunity to consider how the talents of students and staff in all universities could be better supported.

“The plan to extend postgraduate loans to PhD and research-based master’s degree students recognises the financial difficulties encountered by those who wish to study for a postgraduate degree. However, it is likely to have only a marginal impact initially.

“In 2012-13 there were 296,470 postgraduate students of whom 27% (79,140 ) were studying for a doctorate and  some of these students would have been supported by the Research Councils.

“Only 3% (8945) of postgraduate students were studying for an MRes. The proposal to extend an income contingent loan scheme to these students and some other research students is a first step in the right direction. However, much will depend on the detail of the scheme and whether it will be available to a bigger cohort of students in the long run.”


Notes to Editors

1. For further information or to arrange an interview with Professor Gunn, please contact Rochelle Owusu-Antwi, Press and Communications Officer, million+ on 020 7717 1658 / 07527 336 795 or email
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information can be found at
3. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his intention to introduce a postgraduate loan scheme for postgraduate taught students in the Autumn Statement delivered on 3 December 2014 although there has as yet been no consultation on the detail of the latter. Our comment can be found here.