Student finance shenanigans

just an update on my student life, will get to why the title in a mo. this year i was doing whats called the Professional Pathway (PP) scheme with Uni which meant i did a uni equivalent of a modern apprenticeship – work 4 days study 1 etc. i have to admit initially it was a great thing but it came with its own challenges the biggest of which was time management and particularly with the switch between, work and studies and back again.

one of my biggest problems this year was that because my job involves a lot of first line support there would quite often be urgent issues coming in on a tuesday which was my day when i attended lectures, Tuesday being the offices busiest day never helped either. this often left me the dilemna of do i focus on fixing the work issues or switch off and focus on the lecture material. i have to admit here i let work take the priority more than not, in some situations it was entirely approriate but other times it really could have waited until later that day or the following day, i have been lucky that it didn’t affect me too much

my second issue for which is one of the primary reasons why i am not going to do PP next year (i will be returning back into full time studies in october) was that PP students were still expected to meet the same deadlines as full time students, i raised this issue several times with no resolution but to put it into perspective so that it doesnt sound like a small thing, full time students in second year this year were only attending university 3 days out of 5 a week, this mean if we just rule out a day at uni as busy and only take week days into consideration full time students had 2 free days a week in which they could do personal studies and coursework (now i will admit that i would likely have spent it working part time to combat some of the student loans etc and many students do) a PP student on the other hand spends 1 day at university attending lectures and the other 4 days working by basic maths it works out that full time students have 2 days per week extra time in which to do the work set, when you set the same deadlines that full time students found hard to meet then you can understand how much harder it is for PP students.

this wasnt the main reason i decided to return to full time studies though, the other was that i felt the organisation of the PP course was utterly shambolic, there were times when i asked for help and got nothing, there were several times where said i was unable to do something or meet a deadline due to work related changes meaning i couldnt do my original project proposal and effectively had to start again (1 week before the first deadline was due) i got nothing but an ok, submit an extenuating circumstances form and let us know when you had a proposal, the lecturer ignored my question asking about other alternatives if i couldnt find a new project proposal, let alone my questions about the further deadlines. as a result i was basically ignored, missed the deadlines and was as good as screwed. this was all at a time when i wasnt motivated about uni which did not help at all so it ended up that i will fail the main module from this term. the options for me were to quit uni altogether (i dont want to give up again) repeat the year (if this year was anything to go by it wouldnt solve the problem) or go back into fulltime education, the choice was a logical one to make.

so that leads me on to the post title, because i wont be working fulltime (i may only have odd freelance work and i have to support myself) i need to apply for student loans, went through the process fine no bother and get to the end and am told i can have the maintenance loan but not the tuition fees loan (approx £3300 for 2010/2011) upon querying it i have since found out that students only get full support for the years of there degree plus an extra year (to account for repeats), this shouldnt be a problem for me because my degree was a 3 year one and i had only just completed my second year (it was part time so i have to effectively restart the second year to do the missed modules) so i should be on my 3rd year of support out of a max of 4, i have since been told that they took my first attempt at uni into account as well so i have technically already studied for 3 years. no problems i should get the 4th year of support….

not exactly, the 4th year is always reserved for the final year of studies. which leaves me in a sticky situation and begs the question that i am sure many people who have gotten into similar situations as myself have no doubt asked. if the fees loan is reseved for the final year so i cant get the loan for this current years studies, how do they expect me to even reach my final year?

so at this moment in time i have no idea how things are going to turn out. Student Finance have clear rules and will not deviate from them. i have to work out how to effectively come up with £3000 to pay for uni tuition fees to get through this year, i have savings but if i used that i would be clearing them out and would have no saftey buffer if things really did hit the fan (besides i was saving that money for future rainy days/buying a house deposit/getting married? – ok being presumptous on that one but a man can plan cant he?). i am praying that i get most of my deposit back from the old flat so that i can at least have a safety margin again of something, and i am praying that i get a lot of freelance work that i can do in my spare time to help fund things

i have to admit that i am pretty annoyed at this although in reality its just the rules of the situation so i have nothing to be annoyed about except myself, i am just pretty annoyed that the rules werent clear in the first place. but oh well life moves on, i can only pray that God reveals the correct solution to the problem because he has already made it clear that it is the right path to be on so i am quietly confident that it will all come good.

wow long post, but glad to get it off my chest.

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