Paying for Degrees

This German PhD story [via] reminds me of that blissful moment in recent British political history (February 1994) when Michael Portillo went on one of his xenophobic rants about furreners, claiming that in Britain students earned their A-Levels rather than, as elsewhere in Europe, either buying them or ‘being a friend of the minister’s’, only to be asked by some journalist or other just which EU countries in particular he had in mind, and could he explain what he did to acquire his Cambridge MA?

3 thoughts on “Paying for Degrees”

  1. When I worked in the library in Oxford Brookes (probably my favourite job ever, by the way, and if anybody working there reads this blog, do pass on my continued appreciation) a colleague was unwise enough to tell me that she was going to pay for her Oxford MA. This led to a number of conversations along the lines of whether she could pick me up a couple of A-Levels for a tenner, etcetctetc….

  2. I paid for mine, but only because I read the Magdalen statutes when I became a fellow there in 2000, and they contained the bizarre regulation that if you were eligible for an MA but failed to take it, you would be “deemed to have vacated your fellowship” after a year, or some other similarly weird form of words. So I filled in the form.

    I didn’t have to pay anything, though, as it turned out I still had a battels credit at Balliol, and the reason I had that was that I was on rent strike in my final Trinity Term, so was paying my rent into the JCR rent strike fund, instead of to the College, and the settlement that was agreed (after I graduated) meant that for some reason I don’t understand my battels account was left in credit. And that ended up paying for my MA. But it is all a bit embarrassing.

  3. Portillo is obviously not the man he was back then, but on Sunday this passage did rather leap out of his Sunday Times’ article on Lockerbie:

    “Yet now we are meant to accept that one of the worst terrorists in history should go home after serving only eight years, simply because he is unwell.”

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