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More than 100 Canterbury University PhD students miss out on scholarship increase

PhD students are urging Canterbury University to extend a $7000 scholarship increase to more students.

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The university increased its Doctoral Scholarship from $21,000 per year to $28,000 so it matched the university's other major award for PhD students, the Accelerator Scholarship.

But the increase applied only to people who had enrolled since November last year.

PhD student Samatha Alloo said about 145 students who already held the scholarship had missed out on the rise.

"They're still on the 21 for however long they have left of their doctoral studies. So for me I've still got another two full years and then the people who started before me have another one year where they're going to be out of pocket $7000 and me $14,000 because the uni's failing to grandparent their scholarships," she said.

Alloo said it was frustrating because $7000 per year would make a big difference for a lot of students.

She said the university had advised students to decrease the scope of their doctoral study and finish their thesis before the end of the tenure of the three-year scholarship.

The university's deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Ian Wright, said he understood the decision not to "grandparent" stipend rates was challenging for those affected.

"The decision was based on the significant additional cost of applying the increase to all currently enrolled PhD students, at a time when university income from international student tuition has dropped significantly due to Covid-19 border restrictions over the last two years of the global pandemic," he said.

Wright said he had met with some of the students and other interested parties to discuss the decision and what more the university could collectively do to assist the students.