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Postgraduate Officer:
Andrew Thompson

Andrew Thompson is the SU's Postgraduate Officer.


  • Wed 21 Jan 2015 16:24

    In the Autumn Statement on 3rd December, Chancellor George Osborne made an announcement that has been sorely needed for many years: the government are introducing loans for postgraduate study.

    Lack of funding availability has meant that postgraduate study has simply not been accessible for many, and it was one of the issues in my elections manifesto which had the greatest resonance amongst students. Postgraduate students at Warwick have been paying the up-front costs of postgraduate courses through means such as credit cards, pay-day lenders, or studying part-time whilst working long hours - and those are just the students who are here. It does not include the many potential postgraduate students who never made it into PG study because of a lack of means to pay for their course being too big a barrier.

    As the PG Officer, it is constantly brought home to me what an issue this really is and has been for postgraduates. It is upsetting every time a student emails me asking about temporary withdrawal, or asking for help with alternative funding solutions (including charities and crowdfunding) because they simply cannot afford to fund their studies or living costs.

    It is also worth noting here that the HE consortium which the University itself belongs to has been publicly opposing such a scheme for quite some time now – their rationale being simply that “our Postgrads can afford to pay”. This means that not only is Warwick one of the most unequal universities in terms of access at undergraduate level, its refusal to distance itself from this stance suggests that they are keen to ensure this trend remains intact at postgraduate level, too.

    At this stage, we do not know all of the details of the loans, but we will update you as soon as more details are announced! This is what has currently been announced:

    - The loans will be income contingent.

    - They will only be available for those under 30 years old.

    - The loans will be available for postgraduate taught masters in any subject.

    - These loans will be up to the value of £10,000.

    - The loan scheme will be available from the Academic Year 2016-17.

    - The loans will be repaid alongside any undergraduate loans.

    - The scheme is designed so that, on average, individuals will fully repay the loans.

    - The Government’s preferred repayment method is to charge an interest rate of RPI+3%, and repayments of 9% of income above a threshold of £21,000, frozen for 5 years.

    - The Government will be consulting on the detail, including repayment, at the start of this year, and will confirm the delivery plan following that.

    - The scheme will be available to both part time and full time students.

    - The scheme is for England only – English domiciled and EU students at any English university.

    - For this coming Academic Year, 2015-16, as a bridge to the new policy, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will allocate £50 million for universities to offer bursaries, on a match funded basis. These will be £10,000 each and will benefit 10,000 students.

    Along with other Postgraduate Officers and members of the student movement, I have been arguing for a more comprehensive national loan system for postgraduate education. The proposed Postgraduate Loans help remove some of that financial barrier, in turn making postgraduate study much more accessible than the current setup. I definitely believe that these measures are a step in the right direction, though we should still aspire to expand the proposals in the future to make them more accessible for all.

    In this General Election year, we have a very strong opportunity to lobby for further improvements in this area – so I’m interested to hear from PG students directly so that I can start building a file of case studies. How have you funded your studies? What sort of impact has financial hardship had on your studies, personal life or teaching? What would a Postgraduate Loan have meant to you? Please email your thoughts to – the more responses we get, the better our chances of lobbying for a more inclusive system!

  • Mon 24 Nov 2014 20:24

    Postgraduate Open Day


    This Wednesday there is a Postgraduate Open Day taking place at the University, offering current final year students, as well as prospective external students, the chance to see what postgraduate study is like, and what departments have to offer. If you are a current Warwick undergraduate pondering the prospect of postgraduate study, then do sign up and have a look and a listen -


    The Postgraduate Open Day gives us a chance to reflect on the extremely large PG population that we have here at Warwick – I shall continue to go on about how almost 50% of the student body are postgraduates! It is something that we do not celebrate enough – all of you postgraduate students bring so much to this University, and to this Union, and it is an absolute pleasure to work for you in improving postgrad life at Warwick. Therefore, Wednesday should also be about you!


    To that end, it would be great to see you in The Graduate on Wednesday, 12-3pm (up the stairs between SUHQ and the main SU building on central campus, opposite Warwick Arts Centre). We shall be making our drinks happy hour prices for the occasion, and we have our burger and a drink offer, as well as our Cheep Cheep menu for you all. There will also be some of our great societies performing and showcasing, and talking about how you can get involved with them.


    If you have any questions or comments about anything postgraduate related, I will be around both The Graduate and PG Hub on Wednesday, as always I am contactable by email at I shall see you all on Wednesday!   

  • Wed 15 Oct 2014 12:32

    So it’s day number 45 for me as your Postgraduate Officer, and I’m now into my sixth year here at Warwick. In my time at the University, and in the Students’ Union, it has always amazed me how much effort and care so many of the staff here put into everything they do. As students we can often be very quick to criticise, and yet not always as forthcoming with praise despite all the positive and great things that go on – I therefore want to use this blog for praise and thanks!

    Firstly, thank you to all the University staff who care so deeply about students here at Warwick – the personal tutors who go above and beyond their duties, the departmental secretaries who respond tirelessly in a cheery manner to all requests and questions, the domestic staff who at times have to deal with some of our awful messes and yet are still there for us as almost parental figures away from home, and all the other great University staff members who make our lives here as enjoyable and as easy as possible. On a personal level, I would particularly like to thank all of the staff at Disability Services – what you do to help disabled students here at Warwick is unbelievable and life-changing; I know I would not be here in this position now without you.

    Secondly, to all you Postgraduates who teach and put in so many hours above and beyond what you are actually paid to do (which in turn helps your undergraduate students no end), I salute you. You are a massively integral part of this University which I am so proud of, and I shall continue to support you all, pushing for contracts where you do not have them and lobbying for transparent and fair pay.

    Next, to our Students’ Union staff – I really do not know how you manage to do it at times! You care so much about our students, and again show that in the many hours that you work above and beyond what you actually get paid for. Thank you for all that the support you have given me in this first month-and-a-half to help make postgraduates have the best time possible, find houses, get involved in Sports and Societies, secure greater representation, and everything else (including all my odd requests and ideas!)

    Finally, to all our student staff - a seriously massive thank you! The first three weeks of term are so hectic, with our venues constantly busy, loads of leaflets and flyers to deliver, and all sorts of logistical things to get involved with. From our bar staff in The Dirty Duck and Terrace Bar to our Street Team members, Copper Rooms stewards and Student Reception staff, your attitudes towards knuckling down with things – not to mention your politeness and courteousness towards your fellow students, even in times of great stress - consistently impresses me. You are a huge part of what makes this Union so great – from myself and my fellow Sabbatical Officers, thank you so much for all you do!

  • Fri 03 Oct 2014 14:24

    Hello all - Andrew your Postgraduate Officer here to just update you all on what has been going on and what I have been up to over the past two weeks.

    Last week was Postgraduate Welcome Week - the first such week the University has run, with all kinds of events held throughout the week. I really enjoyed myself, as it seemed like many of you who attended events did as well! It was great to get to meet loads of you, and hopefully you have also met other postgraduates from all kinds of disciplinary backgrounds. For those of you who could not make the Welcome Week, don’t worry - we shall be continuing to put on events throughout the year which give postgraduates the chance to get together!

    This past week has seen many of you have your departmental inductions, and I have been trying to get round to as many as possible to tell you about the various services that the Students’ Union offers to you. For those of you who I have not had chance to speak to, here is a quick summary:


    1) The Students’ Union Advice Centre

    We have an Advice Centre which is free, confidential, independent of the University and there for all of you to use. We have four trained advisers who can give advice on a wide range of matters including housing, mental health, funding, academic issues and services available for students with dependents. The Advice Centre is located on the second floor of SUHQ, and their contact details can be found on their website here.


    2) Sports Clubs and Societies

    Warwick SU has over 250 Societies and 70 Sports Clubs for you to join. Getting involved in them made up a huge part of my experience at Warwick; being a campus-based University, it is so easy to take part, and it does not matter your age, level of study or discipline! You can get involved with activities which have regular commitments or those which are more informal. All information on our Societies can be found here, and our Sports Clubs here; you can join all of them online as well!

    3) Representation

    You have a real chance to get involved in the direction and running of both the Students’ Union and the University, which is great for CVs and allows you to meet lots of other students and staff members. Each of your courses will have a Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC), where you can be a course rep and directly influence any changes or improvements within your department - more information can be found here, or by contacting your Education Officer via Secondly, there will be elections to Student Council in Week 3, with the nominations for positions open now. If elected, you will sit alongside myself on Student Council, helping to push for improvements to postgraduate life at this University – it is really a great opportunity, and all the details can be found here.

    4) Me!

    I work full-time in the Students’ Union for you. Simply put, I am here to try and help you with any issues that you are having, and to give you my experiences of being a postgraduate at Warwick should you want to know. My office is on Floor 2 of SUHQ, and my email address is Do not hesitate to get in touch!


    As well as all that, I have continued to represent postgraduate needs on the (many!) University Committees that I sit on. Your Sabbatical Officer team has been visiting on-campus kitchens to introduce ourselves, and give you a poster featuring our (not so) beautiful faces and contact details – if you don’t have a poster yet, we shall be popping in to say hi to you over the coming weeks.

    A number of you also have been in contact about second-hand bike sales – unfortunately though we have received word from the University and local Police that there currently are not any plans for this. Apologies for any disappointment!

  • Tue 09 Sep 2014 12:32

    Every year, when students leave their on-campus accommodation, there is a huge amount that is left behind in the halls. This includes books, kitchenware, toiletries and a lot of food! The majority of what is left after everyone has departed is usually thrown away.

    This year, after students left their halls of residence at the end of June, something different happened. A group of students, including members from societies such as Medsin, and People and Planet, set up a scheme called the Reuse and Recycle Room Clearance Project (RAWKUS for short!) where they worked with Warwick Accommodation to collect items that would usually just be waste. They organised for boxes to be sent around the halls of residence, to be filled with food that students were leaving behind, and they then spent the weekend going round kitchens collecting anything else that was left.

    Having been able to help RAWKUS out for a few hours in the kitchen collections, it was eye-opening just how much perfectly good food and kitchenware was left behind; there was not a single kitchen I visited where we did not fill up at least one crate. All of the leftover food, crockery and pans collected were donated to local charities for them to use.

    The RAWKUS scheme is re-running this week, for all postgraduates whose accommodation lets finish. There will be teams collecting items left behind by students next weekend, Saturday 13th 10am-5pm and Sunday 14th September 9am-4:30pm. If you are around the University next weekend, and want to help out with this cause, then RAWKUS would love you to help out and volunteer. The sign-up form for volunteering can be found here -

    If you are a postgraduate moving out this week, and you have any food, kitchenware or toiletries that you are not taking with you, then if you take these items over to the Lakeside 2 Common Room, between 10am and 3pm on any day, they will be donated to local charities.


    Volunteers from the RAWKUS Project at the end of June, showing just a portion of what was collected that would have otherwise been waste.

Contact Me

Andrew's office is on the 2nd floor of SUHQ.

My Election

The election for Postgraduate Officer takes place during the Officer Elections in Term 2.

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