Financial help

By | January 19, 2016

Ascholarship for students from India was recently announced by the New College of the Humanities (NCH) based in London. Founded in 2011 by British philosopher AC Grayling, the college offers a liberal arts-inspired undergraduate curriculum through one-to-one tutorials and small group teaching. In September 2015, the college’s first graduates achieved final degree results.

The ‘Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta Scholarship’ is open to students applying to study economics for their first undergraduate degree at the college. Applicants should be Indian by nationality or should have attended school in India for the duration of their Year 12 and 13 (16-18 year olds, pre-university age). The new scholarship ranges from £2,000 to £9,000 towards the college’s annual fees. It will be awarded for the full three-year programme of studies.

Scholarship recipients would have the opportunity to be taught by Dasgupta, a visiting professor at NCH; he teaches on the BSc economics, which he developed. Besides, he is also Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Cambridge and teaches environmental and development economics at Manchester University.

Grayling is also a supernumerary fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford University. On what prompted him to launch a liberal arts college, Grayling, referred to as the Master, New College of the Humanities, says: “I had two motivations: one was to create a self-standing independent higher education institution dedicated to the study of the humanities (there are plenty which focus on scientific, technical and vocational subjects), because the humanities constitute the conversation of a mature, intelligent and reflective society, and they offer a wide view of human nature, the human condition and human affairs — which is what our leaders and teachers all require, so that they can apply the great lessons of the literary, historical and philosophical knowledge of our species to the problems and promises of life, both individually and socially.”

The second motivation was that as the burden for paying for higher education moves from the taxpayer to the direct beneficiary of education, it is necessary to build an endowment model to ensure that no-one is excluded from the best education because they cannot afford the fee. “It takes time to build an endowment, which depends on achieving and maintaining excellence; this is our aim,” adds the academic.

 There has been a lot of focus on the annual fees of £18,000 the college is charging. At the same time, the college maintains it is ‘elite but not exclusive.’ Commenting on whether the high fees are a deterrent to being more inclusive, Grayling says the amounts are “much” lower than US college fees and the same as what British universities charge international (non-UK and non-EU) students. “They only appear high relative to the subsidised fees of home students; those subsidies are unlikely to stay as they are in the coming years,” he adds.
 Following its agreement with SSU, the college can recruit overseas students and now designs and teaches its own degree programmes. On attracting talent globally, he says: “We have scholarships, half and full bursaries (where students pay no fees), and we are interested in individuals – which means, we take each promising candidate on his or her merits as an individual, and welcome interesting and ambitious applicants.”
 Given that education has become more broad-based, the college, alongside the course of academic study, offers professional programmes to equip graduates for the world of work. This means financial literacy, team skills, practical projects, internships in leading companies during the undergraduate years, help with careers planning and applications, and so on.
 On the role of the study of humanities in a market-driven world, Grayling says, “Humanities provide the maturation of mind and the understanding of the world of human affairs that equips those who have acquired a rich understanding of history, literature, philosophy, politics and international relations, economics and law – these are the principal subjects at the core of the each programme — to be informed, attentive, intelligent participants in the life of the world.” He adds, “Moreover, these studies are personally enriching — for, remember, we are not just our careers, but many things besides as human individuals — and a knowledge of the great conversation of humankind is a civilising and maturing adjunct to the vital business of living.”
 Commenting on the debate on the return of investment of a foreign degree, he sums up by saying that “a university degree from a British or American institution in any subject will sooner or later prove its worth. Look at the long-term success and earning of graduates and the argument settles itself.”

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