Tuesday, 10 February 2009

A Mountain Of Debt?

We have been trying to find out what, if any, tuition/living loans LeeLee would be eligible for if she went to Uni in the UK. And it is confusing I can tell you.

First we understood that she would be treated as per any other student from the EU. And that was only to be expected. Basically the Government tuition/living loans are only available to students who have home addresses in the UK. Again, this seemed logical to us.

But we have been told by several people that she SHOULD be eligible....but we were not quite sure how and could not find anything to support this in all the documentation.

If in doubt, phone them up I say....so that is what I did.

I spoke to the Student UK Department and they confirmed that a student has to have lived in the UK for the three years before commencing Uni. OK, clear enough.

Then, as I was just ringing off, they said 'Of course, she could just live in the UK for ONE DAY before the 1st September to be eligible as well.'

WHAT?! You cannot be serious! We just have to fill in the PN1 form on line, they said......

So that is what we did - attempted to do anyway. And when it asked if the student had lived in the UK for 3 years prior to starting, we answered honestly and said no. And it chucked us out and said we had to call the Student EU Department.

So that is what I did, explained the situation and was told that all she had to do was live for just one day in the UK before the 1st September....because OBVIOUSLY LeeLee was eligible for all the normal loans because not only did she have a UK passport but had lived there until she was 12 years old. The system was designed to stop hoards of non-UK students applying - not OBVIOUSLY eligible students like LeeLee!

Wonderful - a helpful Government department. Shame it is not documented anywhere - only PUSHY parents (like Me!) get to find out.

This department is sending us a paper copy of the PN1 form and have told us to write a covering letter explaining her situation - and to refer to this letter on any eligibility question that we answer in the negative.

Watch this space...
Uni in France or the UK? That is LeeLee's decision to make.

And, not least, the issue of cost is a major factor.

In France she will pay just under 300euros in tuition fees each year, plus living costs which will be means tested. There are no loans as we understand it but bursaries that are not repayable if your family income is low.

In the UK she will generate between £10-£15,000 of debt for tuition plus about the same for living costs (according to the Royal Holloway brochure). That is a massive £20-£30,000 of debt.

Quite daunting for a girl of eighteen years old.

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