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    I'm having a bit of a rant in my room at how much of a carcrash the SFE system is (while also laughing at myself A LOT - the ranting just makes me feel better when combined with the laughing!). The poor helpline employees seem to range from 'just about almost well-informed enough' to 'hopelessly ill-informed'. The online system's barely better!

    I'll be 25 when I start my course, and according to the 2009/10 regs (pdf of advice booklet - see p22) that means I'll automatically be assessed as independent. [Have these changed? Please tell me no!]

    I could claim independence under another of the conditions listed, but I'd really rather not have to faff around with that - sigh, but there's no indication anywhere of whether I'm currently "independent" or not.

    I suspect I might be though because I haven't been asked to send in any evidence. Fingers crossed (not because I'm trying to commit fraud! The regulations are perfectly fair enough.)

    General tribulations, stomping of feet, success stories etc welcome here. Would like to feel less alone!

    Hi, I'm in the same situation, 24 now and will be 25 by the time the course starts. As far as I am aware the SFE system automatically triggers it as an independent application by assessing the DOB entered.

    I was only asked to send in a birth certificate and provide my NI number; no details of parents income or questions about my independent status were asked, even though I am currently living in the 'parental home'.

    What / Where are you studying at Uni?
    I'm planning to do Computing at Leicester.

    Hello. I was just about to post a similar thread, but seeing as I have a similar query OP I hope you don't mind if I post this here. I am 23 years old studying A Levels in September, so I won't be starting a university degree until 2013, I know I am looking well ahead here but with things like student finance more information is only better. I will be 25 in March of that year and will still be living at home, so I will classed as an independent student, correct? Also, does that mean that you are then entitled to the maximum maintenance grants, bursaries and loans that are available through the student finance system? I hate to sound as though I would be milking it, but although I will be living at home my parents are low earners and would not help me with the cost of my studies in any way.

    I got shocking A-levels first time out (early 90s). So instead of going to university, I joined the Army. Had a whale of a time for a few years and trained as a technician, but eventually got invalided out with two broken legs.

    I was in my 20s by then, and out of the blue, I was told that my grandad had set up an educational trust fund and if I wanted to go to University, I'd be fully funded. I had intended to work for some random defence company doing the same as I did in the Army - BAe or Matra or something - but clearly my dad and grandad wanted me to go, so I filled in the UCCA form. On the strength of my Army qualifications, I got a place at Brunel to read Economics. Not earth-shattering, but better than I would have got with my A-levels. At the time, I was engaged to be married, and lived independently in North London, some way from campus.

    Started out - it was ok. Got good first year grades. However, the trust fund turned out to be a complete fabrication, and I got no support at all. I wasn't living at campus, and my fiancee was a student at a different university. I had a whole day off every week, and worked as a technician that day and at weekends, but couldn't really make end meet. By halfway through the second year, I was tens of thousands in debt, and no end in sight.

    So I left, got a job, paid off everything, got married, started my own company, had children etc etc. Fast forward 10 years...

    My job's quite physically demanding, and I suspect that I can't keep it up long-term. Also, I need to earn more than I currently do. I have family to support and school fees to pay. So, I embarked on setting myself up for a career change. Always fancied practicing law, so I signed up to read laws, although I'm still working full time. First year exams in six weeks, so we'll know if it was a good idea or not.

    Had mixed response from potential employers - always been very upfront about my history. I think most HR departments look at my CV and just go "WTF?" and bin it, but been invited to visit a couple of the more enlightened ones.
How are you feeling about your exams?

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