Report of meeting with EUSA and NUS Scotland

At our meeting with Marco Biagi MSP, he suggested we try and link up with Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) and NUS Scotland.  We met on 1 May.  Present was Russell Gunson, the Policy and Public Affairs Officer at NUS Scotland, Matt McPherson, President of EUSA, myself plus additional staff members and the EUSA postgraduate students convener.

We had some productive discussions although our agendas are different. LSC is trying to keep the focus as narrow as possible, making a special case for the DPLP on a basic ‘fair access to the profession’ basis.

Understandably, NUS and EUSA are arguing on a much broader basis, linked into the benefit of postgraduate education for the wider economy or even just for its own sake. Obviously, there is much common ground, but LSC is keen to keep the emphasis on the Scottish Government being able to address the specific issue for law without any fear of ‘opening the floodgates’ or setting a precedent directly applicable to the wider postgraduate support question. Whilst it’s a worthwhile aim to have much greater access to postgraduate studies all round, it is a very much bigger discussion and based on different considerations – and, of course, much greater funding implications.

Despite the differences in our approach, Matt McPherson undertook to mention our campaign again in the margins of a meeting he has planned with the Cabinet Secretary the week after next, which I’m sure will help visibility of the issue. However, LSC would still be keen to keep narrowly focused on the living costs for DPLP aspect and not get caught up in a wider review of PG funding, which will inevitably be at least a few years – and no doubt much politics – before we see changes.

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