Student Finance England - Compelling Personal Reasons - Please help!

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marieh
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Hi,

I'm wondering if anyone is able to shed a bit of light on the Student Finance England compelling personal reasons?

I studied for one year at University of Manchester (BA International Business and French) and left at the end of the year after failing my french modules. I then started at the University of Sheffield doing just BA Business Studies. However, after starting University I found out (at end of September) that I was pregnant. As my daughter was due on 2nd June (during term time) I realised I would be unable to complete the year and being a long way from friends and family decided to leave University to start preparations for the new arrival. I was also no longer receiving financial support from my parents as they were so disappointed to find out I was pregnant so in actual fact I was unable to stay anyway due to lack of financial resources.

I have applied to start a 3year Bed course at the University of Hertfordshire in September of this year. I spoke to call centre advisors at SFE and they advised that my year at the University of Sheffield would not be included as I left due to compelling personal reasons (pregnancy). I was told my entitlement would be length of the course plus one year (4yrs) minus past study not including CPR year (1 year) which would leave me with the 3yrs funding for my course. I submitted a doctors letter along with my daughters birth certificate to SFE but they have written to me to say that as their records show I left Uni at end of September and I had my daughter on 8th June they were unable to accept this as compelling personal reasons. I don't understand why its not being accepted.

Am absolutely devastated as without the tuition fee loan I will be unable to accept the place at University!

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Marie
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missy22
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I would literally write to them with what you've written above - the bit about falling pregnant in September. Seems pretty harsh for them not to award you CPR when you submitted doctor's letter and birth certificate!!
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hypocriticaljap
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invoke the formal complaint procedure
see
http://www.slc.co.uk/pdf/complaints%20leaflet_Jan08.pdf
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marieh
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Thanks guys. I have emailed my complaint to them so will hopefully hear back soon. Just wondered whether anyone had an idea of what the rules were for compelling personal reasons and whether my circumstances should fit?

Marie
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Taiko
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I think SFE are probably correct. You'll need something from Sheffield confirming your date of last attendance.
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marieh
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(Original post by Taiko)
I think SFE are probably correct. You'll need something from Sheffield confirming your date of last attendance.
Hi Taiko, thanks for your post. I've found a change of circumstances form from sheffield stating my last date of attendance as 29th October 2004. Do you think this would make any difference to my case? I am planning to go through the appeals procedure but was just looking for an indication of what is usually accepted as compelling reasons in these kind of circumstances. Marie
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Taiko
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Need your full academic history on this. List what you done by academic year, in a similar format to below:

2000/2001 - Year 1
2001/2002 - Year 2
2002/2003 - Year 2 repeat & left course.
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marieh
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(Original post by Taiko)
Need your full academic history on this. List what you done by academic year, in a similar format to below:

2000/2001 - Year 1
2001/2002 - Year 2
2002/2003 - Year 2 repeat & left course.
Okay.....

2003/2004 - Year 1 (Manchester Uni - BA International Business & French)
Completed year but left as failed French element.

2004/2005 - Year 1 (Sheffield Uni - BA Business Studies)
Left on 29/10/2004 due to pregnancy.

Thanks, really appreciate your advice. Can't believe how complicated the system seems to be!

Marie
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Taiko
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I'm actually going to agree with SFE on this. If it was me, and considering the point at which you left, I don't think I could have justified an additional year for compelling personal reasons.

I don't really consider a pregnancy a compelling personal reason for leaving when you did. Perhaps giving birth, but not what you've actually done. By all means appeal, but if it was myself assessing, I would probably be saying no.

I realise this is probably not what you want to hear.
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marieh
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(Original post by Taiko)
I'm actually going to agree with SFE on this. If it was me, and considering the point at which you left, I don't think I could have justified an additional year for compelling personal reasons.

I don't really consider a pregnancy a compelling personal reason for leaving when you did. Perhaps giving birth, but not what you've actually done. By all means appeal, but if it was myself assessing, I would probably be saying no.

I realise this is probably not what you want to hear.
I did give birth to my daughter on 8th June which is in term time and am currently a single parent. I just thought that physically and financially I was unable to complete the year due to childbirth and financially (no more parent support) that there was no family around in Sheffield and childcare wise nurseries do not accept babies under 3 months of age so there was no other options for me. I would not have been able to complete the year or achieve any kind of credits for that year. Would you still agree with SFEs decision based on this?

I think I will still go for appeal as I really do want to become a teacher. Thanks for your advice though, its good to have a rough idea of what's to be expected.

Marie
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Taiko
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Are we on about 8th June 2004?
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marieh
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No, 8th June 2005.
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Taiko
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I'm sticking to this, and if I was assessing your case, I would not award compelling personal reasons.

SFE may, as the definitions are more on opinion. They may be more lenient than myself, but given all the information you've provided I wouldn't award it.
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marieh
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Ok I get the picture that you personally wouldn't accept my reasons as compelling. But are you saying that if I had stayed on until later in the year on my course (despite it resulting in no credits to be carried forward and being unable to complete the year) it may have meant I could be awarded compelling reasons? Just wondered whether there are any guidelines for compelling reasons or whether its purely opinion - that seems a little unfair for a government related body.
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Taiko
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No, the guidance only states:

168. As far as is reasonably practicable, evidence should be obtained from the student or elsewhere to support a claim that the withdrawal was for compelling personal reasons or the need to repeat a year is for compelling personal reasons. For instance, the student might be able to provide medical evidence from his GP; or perhaps a HEI’s student support advisory service could (with the student’s permission) attest to a personal or family crisis. Other possible sources might include social services or the clergy. (However, the Department would not reimburse any costs incurred by the student in obtaining such evidence.) This guidance is not exhaustive and SFE should look at all cases carefully.
Based on what you've said, and that alone, I'd say no. If further evidence came to light, I might reconsider. But I would have to say, it would need to be extremely strong. I don't consider your case to be.
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RahDiLa
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Taiko you appear to be familiar with this kind of procedure... do you think you could take a look at my thread about the possibility of 5th year funding and give me an opinion? If not no worries. And good luck in your endeavour marieh
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marieh
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Thank you for your input Taiko. I have compiled my evidence and will be submitting my appeal today so will keep my fingers crossed. Does SFE have guidelines on how long formal appeals process should take?

And thanks RahDiLa for your message - sounds like I'm going to need all the luck I can get!

Marie
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AdviceT
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I’m looking for help long story I started a course in 2012/13 I’ve had 4 years of funding but have withdrawn due to personal compelling reasons my father died in 2013 of cancer I can provide evidence a letter from hospice , doctors letter and death certificate . My mental health went down hill I was diagnosed with bpd in 2015 by a psychiatrist and put on 300mg of antipsychotics , I was also my grandads sole Carer as my dad died and we was a small family network . So in four years both my grandad died sept 2016 and my dad dad dec 2013. I was my grandads full Carer through this period and was also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I can provide evidence of all of this a doctors letter , letter from the hospice where my dad died , two death certificates and a letter from my GP and a letter from my mental health support worker. I am in no place to return to education yet as I’m set to start bereavement counselling etc and I’m on a slow road to recovery . However in a few years I may want to however hopefully return to education to get a degree. I can work and save some money for myself . However would any of this class as personal compelling reasons , just want a rough idea of how much I will have to work and save and if I’ll be eligible for any support at all really. Any help will be appreciated thank you
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username1539513
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(Original post by AdviceT)
I’m looking for help long story I started a course in 2012/13 I’ve had 4 years of funding but have withdrawn due to personal compelling reasons my father died in 2013 of cancer I can provide evidence a letter from hospice , doctors letter and death certificate . My mental health went down hill I was diagnosed with bpd in 2015 by a psychiatrist and put on 300mg of antipsychotics , I was also my grandads sole Carer as my dad died and we was a small family network . So in four years both my grandad died sept 2016 and my dad dad dec 2013. I was my grandads full Carer through this period and was also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I can provide evidence of all of this a doctors letter , letter from the hospice where my dad died , two death certificates and a letter from my GP and a letter from my mental health support worker. I am in no place to return to education yet as I’m set to start bereavement counselling etc and I’m on a slow road to recovery . However in a few years I may want to however hopefully return to education to get a degree. I can work and save some money for myself . However would any of this class as personal compelling reasons , just want a rough idea of how much I will have to work and save and if I’ll be eligible for any support at all really. Any help will be appreciated thank you
I'm going through a similar process to you (left university because of bereavement) and I've been told that the evidence you have should suffice. As you have evidence from professional people I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be accepted
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AdviceT
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Thank you
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