Sarahbee100
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Good evening,

Does anyone have any experience with the following? I am a military student who has been released from full time employment (with full salary) to study ODP. Previous individuals have qualified for a Maintenance Grant, as we have our fees paid for us but are not entitled to NHS bursaries.

After my initial application came through as £0 entitlement, I contacted SFE who informed me I had made a mistake regarding placement info. This was corrected and I was assured that funding would be released to me for both maintenance grant and a maintenance loan.

On contacting them for an update, I was told that there were nil issues with my application, that it would take another week to process and I was given 2 separate figures that I would be receiving for the maintenance grant and the maintenance loan in due course.

On a further call, 2 weeks later, I was assured that all was swell and that funding would be released to me and visible on my account by 15th Oct. I checked today and noted that the status had changed to "Payments Scheduled" but could find no details.

I contacted SFE again to be told that I have not applied for a maintenance loan and I have zero eligibility for a maintenance grant as I am on an NHS course. This is despite having nothing to do with the NHS employment wise and previous students in the exact same position receiving this grant.

Is there anyone who could shed any light on what might have gone wrong here? It seems I have been constantly lied to for roughly 9 weeks now by a completely incompetent department - it takes 5 phone calls and 5 different advisors to discover the above. I can imagine my frustration is minimal as I am lucky enough to receive a salary whilst studying but feel clarification on this matter would help future students in the same position.

Thanks in advance.
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Mark Lee - SFE Official Adviser
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Hi,

Firstly let me apologise for the inconsistent information you've been given on the phone. If you are being released by the military to attend a course then you are entitled to apply for a maintenance loan and grant, although there are a couple of things we'll need to take into account. Firstly we will need you to state in the application how much the military will be paying you to attend the course and secondly we will need to look at any previous study you may have had as this might affect your eligibility for the grant and loan. Unfortunately, I can't access your account from here so I'm unable to see what your specific situation is but I would recommend calling in if you want to discuss it further.


Thanks.
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Sarahbee100
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Good evening Mark,

Many thanks for your reply. I called through again to SFE and quoted your reply. Unfortunately, I still seem to be coming up against the same brick wall. I have already sent off the evidence requested, which states that I am being released in to full time education by the military and what my earnings will be. This has been received and processed by the department and is on file. I have no previous study, other than GCSE and A-Levels.

Is there a number that I could ring that would put me in touch with someone who is able to deal with this please? I am constantly met with confusion when I have contacted SFE on the standard number and I seem to go around in circles. As you can imagine, it is frustrating watching certain military colleagues have no issue getting the grant, whilst others randomly get penalised and told that the entitlement is not there.

Many thanks in advance,

Sarah Bellis
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Mark Lee - SFE Official Adviser
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Hi Sarah,

Sorry we weren't able to clear this up for you. We only have one contact number which will take you through to the next available advisor, and I would recommend you call again to try and get this looked at. If the advisor is still unable to get it resolved for you, you can request a call back from a manager, who will call you back within 24 hours and they certainly should be able to get this sorted for you.


Thanks
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