Student Poverty

.. nd its definition, how can it be determined if someone is in poverty or not? Sociologist Antony Giddens likes to make the definition of poverty based upon Charles Booths establishment of consistent standard of subsistence of poverty. To try and define poverty he states that Lack of basic requirements to sustain a physically healthy existence – sufficient food and shelter to make possible the physically efficient functioning of the body ( Giddens, 1989.) So in this instance a researcher may organise his research on those who are malnourished, or suffering from physical ailments. This may lead him to base his research on medical records If the type of research you choose to follow on poverty has already been done then obviously the research you undertake will be to investigate the areas not covered, that you feel are incorrect, or not covered to the extent you feel is necessary. Some of the best sociological work undertaken has been based on other peoples studies.

Sociological research has to be systematic when making a careful analysis of poverty. There are many different issues of poverty, which can be studied, all of which can be influenced by prior understanding, brought by other research or the researchers own values. METHODOLOGY A sample questionnaire was the first task given to us to create( a brief example of one of the samples can be found at the end of this report ). Even though the tutor provided the final questionnaire, the experience we gained from doing the sample was of value. The final questionnaire was based on previous years of research, and was ultimately more proficient than any our group had come up with. It is important to point out that much of the data that was collected may be inaccurate, many of the subjects could only give rough figures on their financial situations. Questions on expenditure could only be roughly estimated, and most of the subjects lacked the proper-recorded paper work on other financial aspects.

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I aim to find out, through the analysis of the data collected, weather or not the class of a student effects their financial standing, thus leading to an understanding of how poverty among students should be perceived. ANALYSIS We can begin by looking at a broad overview of the students who took part in the survey. From the above data we can see that a fair balance of men and women have taken part in the survey. However the age groups, and the course years, are not so equally balanced. In both cases the some of the same reasons could be given for these occurrences. Firstly the researchers were themselves first year students, so it is logical that they would know, and therefore interview more first year students, and as most first year students are aged between 18 and 21, so this would also account for the majority of first year students interviewed.

Also Mature students, and students who are in their second third and fourth year are also less likely to live on campus, again lessening the chances of them being interviewed. So this must be taken into account when studying poverty among students, as a large category of students who may be much richer or poorer, than the majority of students interviewed, have been left out. And as a consequence the accuracy of the report may suffer. I will now begin to examine the different classes, and the differences they share or may not share. I have chosen to show the fathers job classification as I will be taking this as the corresponding students class allocation. As we can already see, the lower skilled categories are prevalent among the students interviewed for this report.

It is of some interest that this is a big change from say thirty years ago when mostly those from the higher classes were able to study at university. The Charts on the previous page give us some indication on how students themselves perceive poverty. I was expecting to find that students whose father came from a higher class, would perceive themselves as being more in a state of poverty, than those whose fathers class was lower class. However the difference is not significant enough to suggest that this is so. Reasons for this could be that they receive more financial support from their family than those of the lower classes.

This might suggest that there is a common link between the perception of poverty between all the classes. Or indeed that students are receiving the same standard of living that they had before attending university. Suggesting that most students interviewed are not living in a state of poverty. CONCLUSION The analysis of the questionnaire has shown that there is little difference between the perceived states of poverty among the different classes of students. However discovering if any students are actually living in poverty is a harder question to answer.

It must first be determined exactly what a state of poverty is, which is why I have concentrated on discovering what the students perceptions are on weather they are in poverty or not. In comparison to our own university, I would like to look at an article written about the state of student poverty in Ireland. SFY activists in Dublin have reacted strongly to the poverty to which students are being subjected, as revealed in a Union of Students in Ireland survey last week. The survey, which betrayed the true level of student deprivation in the 26 counties, uncovered such worrying statistics as: a paltry maintenance grant of 45.90 for those living away from home is barely enough to cover students accommodation costs, not inclusive of the cost of utilities. (Pierse 1998) The above statement would certainly suggest from what we have seen so far that the students at the university studied are much better off, than those studying in Ireland.

But over all I would say that student poverty is not a major problem at the university of Greenwich, even though it may well be at other universities. Also class does not seem to be a prevalent variable on the issue of student poverty. STUDENT POVERTY QUESTIONAIRE Sex? M/F Age Year 1/2/3/4/5 Are you a part time or a full time student? time. Were you in full time employment before coming to University? Y/N If yes, what type of job did you have? Were you in part- time employment before coming to University? Y/N If yes, what type of job did you have? Are you in part- time employment while studying at University? Y/N If yes, what type of job do you have? Do you know how much money per week you spend on entertainment? Y/N If yes, how much? Did you have all or part of your tuition fees paid for you? Y/N If yes, who paid them? Did you receive a grant? Y/N If yes, how much did you receive? Have you applied/received a student loan? Y/N If yes, how much did you apply for? Does your father have a job? Y/N If yes, what does he do? Does your mother have a job? Y/N If yes, what does she do? Do your parents help to support you financially? Y/N If yes, how much do they give you per term? Sociology.


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