Unit Six – Ins and Outs

There isn’t really a lot I can write about on Unit Six as there wasn’t really a choice involved when applying for further education. I had previously studied two years at Staffordshire University, one year I studied a BSc in Film Production and Music Technology, but left due to the course not reaching my expectations and the second year I studied a BA in English and Creative Writing to pursue screen-writing. Unfortunately all screen-writing modules were dropped indefinitely from the course. And now I am here, doing a FAD in Art and Design at the college I studied my BTEC.

Student Finance only fund four years of higher education and a degree is a three year course. Now, I originally thought that I could receive funding for the first and second years of my course, but Student Finance are much to clever for that. After a phone call, I learned that my funding would be for years two and three. This was obviously an issue as I would have to pay up to £9000 in a year. I have a part time job and only work weekends. I make about £5000 in a tax year. Although it affects me in quite a big way, I understand why these rules have been put into place and they are fair. After finding this out, I took a day trip to my old college and asked about scholarships and other funding. I met with the finance advisers and they told me that this sort of funding is only available for continuing students. Obviously this was quite a hard blow as I thought I would never have a degree due to the mistakes I made and the lies my old University had told me. Just as I thought my luck was finally running out, my old tutor caught up with me and offered me a place on his Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. This, for me was a God send. Not only could I go back to University after this course, but I also gain another qualification and experience. So, I started the course and so far it has been going exceptionally well for me.

Now, I mentioned earlier that I had little or no choices when it came to University choices, I also talked about my lack of funding and  I talked about finding for continuing students at Blackburn College. Since starting the FAD Art & Design, I automatically became a continuing student, which means I will be eligible to receive help with funding. So, I applied on UCAS almost instantly, I paid me fee and there it was. Set in stone. I ad also applied for Student Finance as I was still able to receive my maintenance loan.

Change of plan. 

I had another meeting today with the finance advisers at the College and they told me I was too old to receive any of the scholarships and grants. I guess owning a degree is a dream after all.

Change of Plan.

I have two years of funding right? I could do a foundation degree! a two year course with the option of a top up to a full degree. If I saved my loan and my grant from student finance, I would easily be able to pay for my top up. I’ll have to phone Student Finance to confirm it’s possible, but there is hope! I decided then to change course as the course I have applied to (BA Art & Design Integrated Media) isn’t a foundation degree. The photography course however, is. I think this would be a great opportunity and a great way to improve my technical skills with a camera. I would learn much more about lighting and framing than any film course could teach me. So, I told my tutor and he took me to meet the head of photography in the University building, I had a short meeting with him and at the end of the meeting, I was on the course.

I phoned student finance and they basically told me that they had no idea how it would work. They said they are pretty sure they would only fund me for my second year and my top up if I wanted it. They told me to re-apply and see what happens. Kind of disappointed.

I applied for Student Finance again and it gave me the option to chose which year I wanted funding for. I chose first year as I could pay for my second year with my grant and loan! Things are starting to look up again!

I phoned Student Finance to confirm and they told me that if the website gave me the option, then they might fund me after all. This is great!

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