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      10.04.2002 03:55
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      • "run out of money"

      Gotta love them, they saved my life for i am poor. - Advantages: Give you money for free..., Lovely people once you see them every week, know their pets etc., FREE MONEY! - Disadvantages: Not that much money, only once a blue moon do they give it to you, run out of money

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      25.10.2001 05:57
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      The Individual learning account is (was) a wonderful initiative made by the Government. Any adult can apply, as it is a grant towards personal achievment, your employer cannot back it. The award is 80% off the cost of selected courses, of which there are thousands to choose from, and colleges. The first million people to apply also qualify for a one off £150 saving on a course of your choice. The idea is that it gives people the incentive to better themselves. The majority of the courses available are step-up courses towards recognised qualifications. I applied for a course about 6 months ago, I was lucky to qualify for the £150 one off payment. I have paid out £25 for a correspondence course (on computer maintenance) with the distance learning college, being married with one child and low wages this has been an absolute blessing (I'm currently mid course, doing very well and loving it). Imagine my horror at the news tonight that ILA's are being scrapped!!!! Apparrently the government didn't vet the organisations offering courses very well, as a result numerous unscrupulous dealers have been signing people up for non existent courses, and pocketing the proceeds. One such group being Animal Rights organisations. In conclusion, exellent idea, bad organisation. I'm just happy that I was one of the fortunates. STOP PRESS The website seems to be still active, check out www.my-ila.co.uk

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        16.07.2001 15:18
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        I spent six years working for the Buckinghamshire Local Education Authority, finally leaving in 1990 just as student loans were being introduced. Up until then, the LEA was paying university and college tuition fees as standard, and in addition, a maintenance grant to students dependent on parental income. What that means, is that we looked at the level of income of the students’ parents and determined a parental contribution, with the balance of grant being paid by the LEA itself, up to the maximum amount determined by the Government for that academic year. It averaged at a full maintenance grant of approximately £2000 plus the payment of tuition fees. Things have changed. The Government, in their wisdom (?), have deemed that students should be more responsible for the cost of their own education. Student loans were introduced, with the proviso that students would not have to repay their loans until they had been fully employed for a year or more. This is resulting in students having crippling debts before they even begin working, sometimes running into several thousand pounds for students on longer medical or vetinary courses. One of the favourite parts of my job was as student advisor/counsellor. Many students would pop into my office for advice, and nine times out of ten; the subject of discussion would be finance. My students were struggling to manage on the amounts provided by the LEA, and this was BEFORE the introduction of student loans. In those days, the basic maintenance grant covered 30 full weeks of term time attendance during each academic year. Many students studying at polytechnics and some universities for HND and some degree courses were not aware that as their courses ran for longer than the standard 30 weeks, they were eligible to claim extra for the additional attendance. How times change. Students struggled before the introduction of loans, with the high costs of tuition, accommodation, expensive textbooks
        , food, heating costs etc and now things seem to be going from bad to worse. Some students are finding the financial strain totally overwhelming, and are being forced to leave their courses before completion. Others are working non-stop to subsidise their loans, at the detriment of their studies. So, how can students get the most from their limited finances? And still find time to devote to their studies without having to work every hour God sends? Tip one – shop around for the best student bank account. Most banks and financial institutions offer good deals for students, but some are particularly better than others. Some will give financial incentives to open a student account with them; others offer ‘gifts’ that can be valuable to some in certain circumstances. Some offer students a high overdraft facility, but this is probably best avoided, you’re going to find yourself in enough debt as it is without having to pay a lot of money back to the bank in high interest charges. Plan your budget carefully, and don’t be swayed by a bank falling over itself to offer you an overdraft running into thousands. Tip two – use your NUS card whenever possible. The card gives you discounts at lots of stores and restaurants around the country and can save you a lot of money in the long run. Tip three – make sure you apply for your student tuition fees payment (means tested) as early as possible to your LEA. Some students have been kept waiting for their applications to be approved for as long as six months at times. Call your own LEA for advice, but be aware that they are generally very busy, most handling 8000 applications plus each year, with barely three months to assess them all. Don’t wait until your place at university has been confirmed following your exam results; apply as soon as you have been awarded a provisional place. The same applies if you want a student loan, fill out forms prom
        ptly and be prepared to call the Student Loans company to chase things up if you hear nothing. Tip Four – make full use of the student advisors at your College/University, they know all the pitfalls and can give excellent advice. Some LEAs also have staff dedicated to providing help and support for students on just about any student related subject, job applications and finances in particular. They can also advise you on the LEA’s own discretionary polices and point you in the right direction for further information - each LEA will have different schemes depending on the budgets allocated to them. Tip Five – Make a budget and stick to it. Not as easy as it first seems but if you can manage to stick to it, you should be able to keep a tight grip on your debts without them spiralling out of control. List all your incomings, and list everything you will need to spend money on, accommodation, books, food, laundry, travel costs and so on. Set yourself a weekly amount and try not to overspend on any one area. Tip Six – Look for second hand text books, which can save you a fortune, a lot of ex-students will advertise these either at the college or in the library or in the University press. Or use the books in your college library as much as possible as these cost nothing! Tip Seven – check out your local Charity shops for clothes (they’re not all Granny’s cast offs!), many have some superb bargains on coats, jackets etc which otherwise could really eat into your budget. Top Eight – shop wisely for your groceries, most towns have budget supermarkets that can save you money. Takeaways are all well and good, but most aren’t cheap and you’ll save money if you’re prepared to cook for yourself using honest to good cheap ingredients! Also, visit your local supermarket late in the day and you may just find a range of discounted foods that are approaching their sell by
        date, but still perfectly edible. Tip nine – find yourself a part time job that will give you a little extra income, without taking you away from your studies for too long. Your Student Union will have details of jobs available on campus that generally pay little, but aren’t too demanding. Tip ten – use public transport as much as possible, it’s cheaper than running a car! Or walk or cycle wherever possible, it will keep you fit too! Tip eleven – make sure your budget covers having a good time and being able to relax from the stresses of study with your new Uni friends, but find cheap places to drink or have fun. Or simply have a gang of you get together with a few cheap tinnies in your digs, some good music, and party on dudes! And lastly, write good and detailed opinions on Ciao, DooYoo etc. in your spare time and earn some extra money! Both sites have good sections covering all aspects of student life, and you’ll be able to record your experiences and opinions and make a few extra pennies whilst doing it. You might also want to check the web for other money-making opportunities, but be careful, there are lots of dodgy looking marketing schemes out there, and avoid any that ask for cash from you in the first instance. DooYoo actually list a whole range of student sites and opinions that will prove to be very helpful!

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          24.05.2001 17:54
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          I am doing a self funded Masters course this year and have had find the £2740 tuition fees myself to pay my way through this year. It was only after christmas that I found out about the very poorly advertised Hardship Fund, seen's that I did a three year undergraduate course at this University too and didn't know anything about it then indicates how poorly it was advertised. The plan was that I would work throughout the summer in order that I would be of sufficient richness to afford the payments and living expenses etc. but unfortunately a trip to hospital at the start of the summer to repair a hernia which I had been waiting three years for soon put paid to any work which I was to do as I had to rest for a month or two. So I started my Masters slightly underfunded and when the mention of this hardship fund came up I was quite pleased. I applied to it straight away and within a couple of days I was sent a reply asking for a meeting to discuss how much I was eligible for. Very hopeful I turned up on the day only to be met by very intrusive questions about how I could prove I had a hernia op. and what I spent money on since the summer accounting for every single pound which was on my bank statement. After this meeting had finished I was told that I was only elligible for £700 because I didn't have to do the course I was on and if I became too short of money I could simply withdraw from the course. They pointed out that if I did this however the £700 was to be paid back into their account. Naturally I was a little annoyed at this but thought at the end of the day I had been given £700 which calmed me down a bit. Only a couple of weeks ago though I was speaking to an undergraduate in his first year who made it very obvious that he did not need the hardship fund because his father owned a big business in London and he would never be short of money. However for some reason he applied for a hardship grant and after his meeting he was
          given £1965 to cover his fees. Due to the fact his fees are paid for by his Dad he spent this grant on a car which he says he needs because the buses don't run to his timetable and he has to wait for 20 minutes for a bus to get home from Uni some days. Surely the hardship fund was not given to the University for this type of person. If I'm sounding bitter in this op then I apologise, I'm not. As I mentioned I was given £700 and it really helped me pay the fees off which I am very grateful for. However the way this lad went around and boasted about his new car annoyed me more because I know people who are now pulling out of courses because the fees are too much and the hardship fund say they are not elligible at all. What does the University have to gain from this stance? If most of the students have to leave because they can't afford the fees what sort of image does that give. Well this may be a cynical bit but in this other lads meeting apparently the majority of it concentrated on what sort of business his Dad owned and how big it was etc. finishing on how much it makes in profit each year. Bit different than my meeting. This makes it seems that the University is given all this money and it will spend it on buttering up the richer people because it is better for the Uni to have them in rather than the people who struggle to pay and bring down the name of the Uni. Nowadays when there are no grants it has priced many people out of University but it seems that some University's aren't happy with that yet and want the elitist in the University and the rest don't get a look in.

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            03.04.2001 06:15
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            Im a student at Hull college but I live outside of Hull, in Gilberdyke. When I first started I rang up the East Riding Education Authority to see if I was eligable for any help towards my travel costs ( which were going to total nearly £40 a week!!) They told me that because i am doing A levels i am not eligable for any assistance in either a form of a travel pass nor access fund!! I was outraged and quite confused by this discrimination against A level students! Luckily i managed to gain a pass from the college itself that assisted me with my travel costs. It costs me £10 a year and entitles me to 75% off my travel costs. The thing that really annoyed me though was that when i started college i heard alot of gossip about a funding scheme called the EMA. This is short for the Education Maintainance Allowance and is given to students who live and went to school in Hull. Eligable students get ( approximate) £30 a week for going to all their lessons £50 at the end of each term and numerous amounts of money for completing their exams!!! This really annoyed me because my education authority did not offer me anything but the Hull eduction authority were giving large sums of money each week to what seems like nearly everyoe!!! I have to travel a 50 mile round trip everyday and i get nothing!!! Typical!

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            13.03.2001 04:54
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            I applied for an Access Fund last month and was awarded £100 for rent and £50 for personal use. How you get them is apply to the fund at you college or university. You get a form to fill out with all your personal details to be filled in. There is a section where you write why you want or need it. At the back you have to fill in a section with your average weekly expenditure. To fill it out obviously takes time but if you are going to get money at the end of it then I say it is worth it. I think it is only for people over the age of 18. If you are under that age then I still think you can get some sort of financial help. There is a chance to apply for one every month and the maximum amount you can get is £2000. If you are sucessful you are sent a letter to say when you have to pick your cheque up. Another good thing is the cheque is got cash written on it so it means it clears straight away ( Thank god, no waiting around until it clears). They are meant to be of help for people who are in difficulty with their money. For example if you can't pay the bills, not because you have run out of beer! Good luck to you if you get one and spend it on what you want!

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              04.01.2001 17:33

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              Do u want to get money from college then you must lie through your teeth to the man who interviews you say you are poor and have no job and it costs alot to get eat and provide for yourself at college, say that you need more money to be able to come to college. i know its cheeky but that money is there for all of you, so we must all pull together and get some moneyn so that all 17-18 year olds can have fun and get drunk

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              15.11.2000 01:12
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              If it had not been for access funds my life would have been a complete and utter nightmare. The assistant was incrediably straight with me, I was told right away that I would only be allowed a limited amount of money, because there was no beating around the bush I felt that I was actually being treated as a person instead of a horrible student. I was given £300 to help sort myself out, I had managed to get in to a circle I needed the £300 paid but the only source of money available to me required me to have already paid that particular debt. Without access funds I would not have been able to get out of this situation. The money I was given allowed be to be able to applyfor a Career Development Loan so I was never in the same situation again. Well, the theory was never to get in that sort of situation again! But being a typical student... I don't have an excuse, so I am not going to make one up. Yet again I was broke, and just to rub the salt, in my rent was due. At that time I was having problems getting by CDL - which I had been under the false impression that it was a guarnteed loan. Anyway until I could get the loan I was suck. The wonderful woman in the St Andrews office was, yet again, generous with her money. She gave me enough to pay the rent and have a little to tide me over until the bank agreed to give me my loan. Thank-you!

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              06.11.2000 06:10
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              Advice for all of you students who have little knowledge of the system - which is usually the majority as Universities tend not to shout about free money... I am at Liverpool John Moores Univeristy and I know the system is true for others but you should check. Being short on funds last year (my second year) I went along to welfare who said I could instantly apply for a hardship loan - up to £500 from the student loans company. This was good, well needed..problem being you can only apply once a year, you can get £500 at the most and you have to pay it back. Still if it means you can eat next week... So then I was also told I could apply for an access fund which is like a grant - from the government and non-repayable. Terriffic I thought. You have to give a load of documents but it is worth doing. You can apply each term/semester and can get up to £900. So, thinking that I had sussed it out, I go on into my third year, my loan drops by £550 (being in my final year), and the access fund becomes a hardship fund - so whats my complaint you may wonder... Well..for a start the amount you receive hasn't changed (good you may think) but now you can only apply once throughout the whole academic year. Yes thats right ONCE! In summary: the government are giving my university a load of money to deal out to needy students, the uni don't tell anyone about it, then they change the rules so they can scoff more of it for themselves...for a reason I don't know..but somethings going on.....! My appeal to all readers: please find out details at your university so students get what they are due, instead of what the fat cats think we deserve.

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                09.10.2000 00:50
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                Access funds are a pool of money which every university in the United Kingdom has at its disposal to give out to those students who are suffering particular difficulty in making ends meet. If you are a student at any UK university who is suffering particular financial difficulty(that is to say can't afford food - not can't afford a new Versace dress) then the access fund is there for you to go and get help. The payout amount are not high, usually a couple of hundred, but can be enough to keep you out of difficulty long enough to turn things around again. In principal they are a great idea but as all things have been and are still being abused by those who do not actually require the money. Should money be available to those students who do not budget well in their time at university, do not do extra work outside of university hours and who spend their loan money in the bar rather than on feeeding themselves? Most would agree that the answer is no, but then I can name several examples of those who have done just that and received a grant from the hardship fund at the university I attend...and then done the same next year. This is a shame because I also know people who could really benefit from the available money but refuse to seek help as they feel that it degrades their situation and there are people worse off than them who need whatever money is available. Please, if you are a student, or intending to become one in later months, do not use this fund as you personal piggy bank, as further abuse may affect the availability of this fund in the future.

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                  10.09.2000 23:26
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                  I am a mature student with a daughter and a husband on a low wage. I get help from my local college`s access fund to go towards nursery fees. Without this I would not be able to continue at college to try to get my A-levels for university entrance. This is the only funding that we get so I still have to pay for books as the college no longer supplies them due to theft. The total cost of the minimum amount of books I need is 110.00 pounds. The goverment needs to look at further education funding as well as higher education especially as students are now expected to take MORE subjects (up to 5) in their first year of an A-level course. The most the access fund would give for books is 50% and then you usually have to hand the books in at the end of your course (depending on the college). This means that if the book would be useful in your higher studies you still have to find the other 50%. It`s the governments job to rectify this, they have ensured that education post16 is no longer free as 16-19 year olds still have to pay for books that they need. It`s about time this was resolved as the government is too keen to take our money but doesn`t do anything worthy with it.

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                    13.08.2000 05:40

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                    Wasnt quite sure this was the right place for this one but here goes. An ILA is a new initative brought in by the government to get more people back into learning. If you are aged 19 or over, you can open an ILA. They are available to everyone adn they are especially useful if you have not done a lot of learning before. The only thing is does not cover is graduate or post graduate full or part time courses. To the first 1million that sign up you will automatically get £150 off your course fee - which for me is brill because mine is costing £500 - it is relatively a new thing and I imagine you will still be in with a chance. You need to make sure that the place where you are studying is part of the scheme. It runs from Sept this year. So overall you get 80% off some kinds of learning, 20% off the cost of a wide range of learning, up to a max of £100 in any one year. So it may be worth enquring if you are taking up a course in Sept. You need to ring 08000725678 for an application form. They are pretty fast at processing and you may save yourself some money.

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                    29.07.2000 03:46
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                    I am a divorced single parent doing a University degree and if it wasn't for the access fund I wouldn't be able to continue the course, which will hopefully enable me to get a better job and give my child a more secure future. It takes a long time to process the application,(sometimes up to 8 weeks) which is probably the only downfall, but at my University (Manchester Metropolitan), everyone is really helpful, and you can borrow against the access, or they can offer other ways of helping out. I work as well but only part-time as it is a full time course so the access is a lifeline. It is a lot of redtape to go through as you have to apply for the hardship loan first (unless you have a letter saying you don't have to), and you have to send lots of information, but at the end of the day it is well worth it if you are in need of the money. For me it is the only way I can survive. Go for it, you have nothing to lose by applying, they can only say no.

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                    17.07.2000 05:43
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                    It seems we all could've qualified for access funds but didn't know about it! At least at my uni (De Montfort, Leicester). Yes, it wasn't until friends of mine told me that I, being a product of a 'convential' 2.4, all singiing all labouring family, could qualify regardless. As it seems the university had to return any monies which weren't spread out amoung the poor hard-up student populations. I mention this as I'm sure this policy is in common existance throughout many universities. As with many regional arts boards within the U.K., money allocated by the government is designated to be spent in certain ways. Therefore, any amounts left unallocated, must be returned to the boards. So, typical criteria tend to flex a little when the 'review' period is looming, when bodies want to know how the money has been spent. Friends of mine who qualified for -and gained- various amounts to aid their university living, informed me that not enough people had applied to the university access fund, and therefore, I could - being a student at the university. It was too late by the time this info came my way, and I was in need of money, (despite what LEA's seem to think - this being, because both parents are working you're loaded!) So if you're hard up, but think you're background will prevent you from gaining any support, think again! Pop along to your university Welfare office and see. Quick mind, or you may miss the boat!

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                    14.07.2000 18:41

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                    i will state now i go to University College Worcester, and have just been awarded £500 from the access fund and the £500 hardship loan. I was very supprised i got this i tell you, all i needed to go back within my overdraft limit was the £500 hardship loan!. The hardship loan for those that don't know is a loan of upto £500 given to you by the student loans company at your University's disgression. And It has to be payed back under the same terms as your loan. The Access fund is an amount of money that the govenment allocate to each university so that they can help their students who they see fit need the money to continue their degree. But i don't know what the limit is on this payment but because it ain't no loan, you don't pay this money back to any one. So if you really are stuck for money then go talk to your student advisors or equal oppertunies people and see how to go about applying. It is a nightmare having to fill out the application form, they want to know where every penny of your loan has gone! this is understandable of cause. At UCW we cannot get the access fund untill we have had ALL our loan that we are elligible for and claimed the hardship loan, but in my case i was only trying for the loan and got both. Which was a big supprise! It may be a pain to apply for but if you need the money try and apply, even now in the summer holidays!( i must say i was supprised that they could award these during the summer, as i beleved that they only did them during term time!)

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