We are delighted to tell you that Aisling Gallagher from the NUS’s Disabled Student’s Committee is putting together a guide to support disabled and chronically ill students through the application process for postgraduate taught or research degrees in the UK. To make sure it genuinely meets the needs of disabled and chronically ill applicants, she’s creating a survey, and she needs our help to do it.
Hello! My name is Aisling Gallagher (@twoshadesofhope) and I’m a disabled student currently doing my part-time MA in Goldsmiths. I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in July, and moved to London soon after.
In addition to studying, I sit on the NUS Disabled Students’ Committee. I was elected at the 2014 conference standing on a platform promising to try and do more to help disabled postgraduate students, and disabled potential postgraduate students. The NUS Disabled Students’ Campaign and Postgraduate Campaign have neglected disabled postgraduates for too long.
When I was applying for master’s degrees, I had no idea what to do or where to go – for advice on funding, on courses, on loans, on benefits, on DSA… I found the process more stressful than my finals.
So I want to create a guide for disabled undergraduates who are thinking about going on to further study and need to find out where to go for help and advice.
I won’t be able to include everything I’d like to, but at the very least, I want the guide to act as a signpost for other disabled students who were in the same situation I was.
This is where I need your help – in order to know what I need to put in the guide, I need to find out what kind of problems and barriers (and good things, if there were any) you came across when you were applying for and/or starting to study in postgraduate education.
Did you have any idea how to go about looking for funding?
Were you aware of the funding systems that exist in the UK for postgraduate education?
Did you know what support was available at the institution for disabled students?
Did you worry about having to relocate, and the extra expenses that would incur due to your disability?
Were you worried about losing your DLA/PIP?
Did a bank turn you down for a loan because of your disability?
This is by no means an exhaustive list – anything relating to your experience as a disabled student applying for postgraduate education in the UK will be useful for this guide.
In order to gather some data for the booklet, I will use this feedback to inform the questions I will include in a survey. The survey will be for disabled postgraduate students, disabled postgraduates who had to drop out of their course, and disabled undergraduates who are thinking of applying for postgraduate studies.
If you have any ideas, questions, contributions, etc., please get in contact – feel free to tweet me, or send me an email (agallagher896 at qub dot ac dot uk). I will begin to write and then release the survey in two or three weeks, so I need feedback as soon as possible. Everything will be anonymous, and please don’t feel obligated to disclose the nature of your disability.
Image: ‘The Most Curious Customer Feedback Survey I Have Ever Seen’ by nate bolt (via flickr). Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.