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    This is rather complex, but I will try and keep it brief.
    I started a social work BA in October 2012.
    All went well (I got two firsts and a 2:1 for my first year results) until I got to my second year.
    I was sent to an unqualified, unsupervised and unprofessional practice educator during my second year placement. She was also a bully and a liar, whose previous and only other student had left her placement after a matter of days.
    When I flagged up her behaviour to my university, they refused to take me seriously.
    To cut a very long story short, I had to get a solicitor involved at a cost of over £5000 before my university offered me a new placement.
    This process took six months and left me, in the words of my GP, showing "signs of psychological distress."
    I also spent half of last year seeing a counsellor on a weekly basis.

    I was given until September 30 to submit the coursework for my second year. Unfortunately, the leader of one of my modules also happened to be the placement manager who had ignored my concerns and who appears to have a personal vendetta against me.
    So, despite my having Turnitin evidence to the contrary, she lied to my year leader and said I had submitted no work.
    Therefore, my university took the decision that I would have to withdraw temporarily from my course, submit my outstanding coursework in May 2015 and not progress to year 3 until September 2015.

    I am a single parent and because of my student status, I have no entitlement to any benefits other than child tax credit, child benefit and partial housing benefit.
    My rent alone is £337, which is almost my entire income. The finance officer at my university contacted SFE in October 2014, requesting discretionary support for me whilst my studies are suspended. I also sent full details of my income, outgoings, and a supporting letter from my counsellor to SFE. I made several calls to SFE regarding the progress of my application and was continually asked whether I had sent in my evidence, which was rather worrying as I had sent in reams of evidence.

    I finally heard from SFE just before Christmas and was told that as an external student, I had no entitlement to any support.
    I then submitted an appeal explaining that it was my understanding that there is discretionary support available for students who have suspended their studies.
    Yesterday, I was told that my stage one appeal had been rejected, as I am an external student and external students "do not qualifyas being absent from their course under Regulations 109(17) and 116(12) of the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011 (as amended)"
    In short, SFE do not consider my studies to be suspended, so I am entitled to nothing.

    I am absolutely beside myself. I had the year from hell last year, this year has barely started and it seems to be continuing in the same vein.
    If it wasn't for my overdraft, which will run out very soon, myself and my son wouldn't be able to eat.

    I would welcome any advice, because as things stand at the moment and the debt I am in, I am going to have to seriously consider whether I will be able to afford to continue studying.
    • Official TSR Representative
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    Hello Mirabelle,

    Here is our appeals information, this explains what you can do if you are not happy with the result of your appeal.

    http://bit.ly/1vqsXqp

    Thanks
    • Thread Starter
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    Hello Mark,
    I appreciate your prompt response, but this situation has been ongoing since the beginning of October 2014.

    I am somewhat wary of appealing again and spending another month of my life patiently waiting for SFE to tell me no.

    What I was looking for was clarification of exactly why a so-called external student cannot be classed as having suspended their studies and are therefore ineligible for discretionary support, especially when they have a dependent and are obviously in serious financial difficulty.
    • Official TSR Representative
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    Hi there.

    If you're application is suspended we can consider extending your support, however we can only extend it throughout that particular year if you are experiencing financial hardship. We cannot extend this through future years.

    In order to check what the discretionary payments team have said of your evidence we would need to access your account so it may be worthwhile speaking with an adviser on 0300 100 0607 to have your account checked.

    Thanks.
 
 
 
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