STUDENTS across South Tyneside are being invited to apply for a share of £3m in postgraduate funding.
The cash has been made available to North-East universities so they can offer £10,000 postgraduate scholarships for under-represented groups to do a masters degree.
A total of 610 students in the region will receive a £10,000 postgraduate scholarship award, aimed at supporting those unable to pursue further study through issues such as financial barriers or family responsibilities.
The Postgraduate Support Scheme was launched last year and the number of students who will receive an award for 2015-16 has almost tripled for some universities.
Tanya Thirtle, of Hebburn, South Tyneside, was among the first to receive a scholarship award at Newcastle University last year, and says the funding has been vital for her career development.
The 36-year-old, who is doing a masters in Sociology and Social Research, said: “The scholarship award has been life-changing, without it I would not have been able to afford to do a master’s degree.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to advance themselves academically and the postgraduate scholarship award is a great way to enable people from lower economic backgrounds to do this. It is fantastic that almost triple the numbers of people have been given the funding for the next academic year at Newcastle University – it makes me proud to be studying at this university.”
Newcastle University has boosted its numbers from 48 last year to 146 this year, with students studying a variety of disciplines.
Professor Suzanne Cholerton, pro vice-chancellor Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University, said: “These scholarships have the potential to significantly change the lives of students who receive them and we are delighted to almost triple the number of students who will receive a scholarship this academic year.”
Northumbria University has been allocated £775,000, Durham University, £750,000, Newcastle University, £730,000, The University of Sunderland, £445,000, and Teesside University, £350,000.
Lesley Griffin, assistant director for student recruitment at the University of Sunderland said: “Our 89 postgraduate scholarship awards will cover tuition fees and some living costs and are there to support those underrepresented in higher education looking to enter postgraduate study in the next academic year – boosting their career prospects.”