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Survey: cost of studying architecture to hit £88k

The cost of an architectural education has doubled in the last ten years and could now be as high as £88,726, according to a new survey by two recent graduates

The survey by Pol Gallagher and Zohra Chiheb is part of a wider project to build a ‘pavilion of protest’ highlighting the ‘prohibitive’ cost of studying architecture which will tour UK architecture schools next year.

Their report, which surveyed 1300 students, claims the cost of an architectural education has ballooned since 2000 with the average student outlay rising from £36,680 before the turn of the century to £63,726 in 2010.

When tuition fee hikes slam into force later this year it is expected the cost of a full architectural education could rise to a shocking £88,726.

‘The figures speak for themselves, architectural education is becoming more and more elitist,’ said Gallagher.

‘If it carries on the way it’s going the only ones who can afford to finish will come from very wealthy backgrounds.’

Gallagher and Chiheb – who are standing for election to RIBA council – hope the pavilion will be a ‘manifestation’ of the survey, with an exhibition featuring their own montage (pictured) alongside ancillary boards by other UK students.

The course is prohibitively expensive for students from low income backgrounds

‘If the University fees are going to treble it has to be justified from the student perspective in terms of [cheaper] printing costs, material costs and study trip costs,’ he said.

An unnamed student who responded to the survey said:  ‘The course is prohibitively expensive for students from low income backgrounds.

‘Either you are filthy rich and get on okay or you have to work part time to fund your studies which puts you at an academic disadvantage since studio/project work generally takes up all your time.’

Another added: ‘It is ridiculous, you aren’t aware how much the course is NOT going to provide you.

‘Site visits are endless and model materials endless, [even] excluding printing [costs]. All this should be factored [in] or at least considered when applying and there is no notice of this at all.’

Gallagher claimed that in certain cases schools scheduled two or more foreign trips a year with each costing up to £1,000 per student.

One respondent complained a £600 trip to Amsterdam had left them without funds for the rest of the term. They said: ‘It is outrageous, elitist and un-necessary.’

The pavilion will be launched in September to coincide with the start of Brady’s inauguration as president and the start of the new academic year.


Readers' comments (3)

  • All university courses are becoming more expensive. The university, your LEA and the SLC will financially support you to a significant degree.
    I graduated from Manchester (part II) last year. It is difficult, but there is time to work part time if you need to in order to support yourself.
    I think that the reason it's becoming so expensive is because university has become a business. Universities need to be better at telling people "no, I'm sorry, you're not good enough to continue" instead of just grabbing the money and running.
    It is definitely a sad state of affairs that the affluent can buy their way onto courses, whilst brighter, but less-well-off students are priced out of the market.

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  • If studying Architecture's too expensive, architectural technology is a terrific alternative with a strong emphasis on design backed up by the technical know-how to actually achieve those designs, from briefing to end of defects. And it's only a 3 year course (full time) or 5 years part time.

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  • Agreed VS BIRD. Doing an Architectural Technology course part-time will also put you in a much better position in the employment market. You will have the skills to design AND construct rather than just produce visuals as many graduates churned out by architecture schools.

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