The Irish Independent today reports that "Free Premier League champions tickets and high-tech gadgets like iPads are just some of the perks up for grabs for students" who enrol in University. The University of Sheffield is even offering top A-level students a free master’s programme worth up to £10,000 if they enrol as an undergrad first (hence the "buy-one-get-one-free" headline). Brexit is being blamed, as well as declining student numbers. Universities are struggling to fill places therefore meaning budgets are under threat. The Guardian takes the piss out of this referring to this as "bogof degrees".
Although I'm certain that there are terms and conditions to the University of Sheffield offer, this is a worrying trend. Luring students with free post-graduate courses is silly. It's difficult enough for an 18/19 year old to make up his/her mind and choose an undergraduate programme to enrol in, never mind picking out a postgrad programme for four years later. My strong suggestion to all students thinking of postgrad study is that they should consider doing it in a different College than their undergrad degree. I also think that students should go out and work/travel for a year or two before considering a masters. The decision on what masters to study will therefore be a late one.
I remember in the toilets in Trinity that someone had written "UCD degrees - please take one" over the toilet paper dispenser. Of course this was hilarious in a toilet humour sort of way (I'm certain the UCD toilets had a similar joke on Trinity), but this image comes to mind when Universities and College stoop to desperate measures to get students in the front door.
|Image source: Wikipedia.