Advice needed, Previous study with CPR, how many years SF left available to me?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Student Money Saving
12 replies 2.6K views
diddydonndiddydonn Forumite
7 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Student Money Saving
Ok, after a bit of advice.

I've just completed a 2 year HND course in Graphic Design (1 Year hnc, 1 year hnd topup) and the college are now offering a further topup to do a 1 yr BA in Visual communication (graphic design)

I had 2 years of previous study from 2001-2003 on a nhs nursing course which i left due to ill health, when i applied for the HNC i submitted information, a letter from my doctor as to why i left (due to anxiety, stress and inveitably a total breakdown) and was and i was awarded Compelling personal reasons to enable me to do the HNC

I had some wrangles with SFE last year for 2014/15 and they didnt award me funding for the HND topup originally as said i had an ELQ (Equivalent level qualification) which i didnt, then said it was due to previous study, then that i had no years finance remaining. It took me months of arguing, formal complaints and they finally awarded me finance for the HND topup in November last year.

Long and short of it, if i apply to do the 1 year BA topup, would i be eligible for funding from SFE for tuition loans and maintenance grant and loans?

I'm sure i read somewhere that when you go back they wont fund tuition fee loan for one year, but i cant recall where i read this or if indeed it is correct, also seem to recall that i have to apply for CPR again for each year?

I understand that you get 4 years total funding, So technically i'm up to that (2 years doing nursing, 1 year hnc, 1 year HND) but i was awarded 1 years CPR so that should write off an additional year i think. How does this work for top up courses as technically it would be a new course with a 1 year duration?

I spoke to someone on the phone from SFE this morning and he said i should be entitled to an additional year but wouldnt know for sure until i applied, and said i would be awarded tuition fee loan, plus maintenance loan and grant.

Just wondering if anyone has had any similar experiences to this and if it would be worth me applying or not? I wouldnt want to go through all the hassle of applying for SF again and getting my hopes up only to have it all rejected in the end.

Any help? I know its a lot of questions, but any advice would be appreciated.


  • But you won't know until it's assessed so you'll have to go through applying to get a full answer (including CPR evidence etc).

    You don't get 4 years total funding, you get (length of course + 1) which normally works out as 4 years for most people.

    This is quite complex and I think the best advice would be to apply, but also send off all your CPR evidence, all evidence from your previous battles and a covering letter explaining your situation.

    It won't be an ELQ problem, but I wouldn't be shocked if you have simply run out of funding.

    As I understand it you can only apply CPR for one year anyway, as you dropped out in the second year of your nursing course it would be this year that was granted back to you, not the first as well because you completed that one.

    The calculation is: (length of course + 1) - (length of time spent in HE) = entitlement.

    So your new course was 2 years: (2+1) - (2) = 1 year, hence why you had to fight for second year funding. With the year's CPR granted back to you the calculation would be: (2+1) -(1) = 2 years, so you definitely get year 1 and 2 funded.

    What will be difficult to assess as an outsider is whether SFE will count the BA top up as a course in it's own right (so using the above calculation you have no more funding left: (1+1) - (3) = -1! OR whether they will take into account that it is the natural progression of the HNC to HND to degree in which case: (3+1) - (3) = 1 year left.

    I think the other thing to ask is whether you have accepted the HNC and HND qualifications? If you have then they are courses in their own right and I think SFE will consider the BA top up as a separate year. If you didn't accept/gain a qualification for the first and second years then it is natural course progression to the appropriate levels and you will have more arguing ground with them.

    Hope this makes sense and that I haven't got any of the facts spectacularly wrong.
  • I have accepted qualifications for the HNC and HND, actually got my grades back yesterday for the HND and got straight distinctions!

    Actually applied a couple of days ago, sent all the usual evidence (marriage, birth certs, tax credits etc) as well as an accompanying letter explaining previous studies, cpr, the massive screw up last year when they said i had an ELQ and it took them 3 months to sort (during the time my dad was seriously ill with cancer and subsequently passed away 2 days after i received funding, adding to all the stress)

    Last year after going through stage 1 of appeals (and a 5 week wait for a response), i was told that they had made an error in the ELQ and i would be reassessed and awarded funding for the 1yr hnd topup which i was. And i was told at the time from the appeals people that if i wanted to do the BA topup they would assess at the time if i was eligible.

    I've been reading up on the way they assess through The Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011 , specifically Section 21 where it states

    21.—(1) The standard entitlement of a current system student who has studied on a previous course and who does not fall within regulation 22 is calculated as follows—


    OD is the number of academic years that make up the ordinary duration of the course
    PC is the number of academic years that the student has spent on previous courses.

    (2) For the purposes of this regulation, a “current system student who has studied on a previous course” includes a current system student whose status as an eligible student has been transferred to the current course as a result of one or more transfers of that status by the Secretary of State pursuant to regulations made by the Secretary of State under section 22 of the 1998 Act from a designated course which—

    (a)is a previous course; and
    (b)the student began on or after 1st September 2006.

    So OD would be 3 years for a BA course, +1

    So i've worked out that i did

    2001-2001 1 year DipHE
    2002-2002 2nd year DipHE

    2013-2014 - 1 year HNC Design
    2014-2015 - 1 year HND Design (topup)

    and i want to do

    2015-2016 - 1 year BA Design (topup)

    Now given i've had 4 years previous study, but 1 year back through CPR i think i *should* have 1 years funding remaining.

    I spoke to someone on the phone last week from SFE, they did say i would be entitled to do the 1 year topup. But going on the misinformation i was given over the phone for last years application i'm not holding much merit to what they said.

    I'm hoping that they do count the BA as a natural progression, as it is the only progression the college offers to top up to BA. My tutor has also said if i need it in writing from him that it is, he is happy to do so to enable me to carry on.

    Thanks for your advice, it sort of clarified what i was already thinking. Now to play the waiting game and see what they say, i shall keep hounding them every few weeks until i get something back!
  • Well good luck. I think as you've accepted the two previous qualifications, coupled with the previous study you may struggle to wangle any more money out of them. But I hope you can, best of luck.
  • TaikoTaiko Forumite
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    Entitled to full support, under Paragraph 22 of The Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011. The HNC/HND is the only part used in the previous study calculation for the top up.

    D is the greater of 3 and the number of academic years that make up the ordinary duration of the course
    X is—
    1where the ordinary duration of the preliminary course (or preliminary courses in total) was less than three years,
    2where the ordinary duration of the preliminary course (or preliminary courses in total) was three years,
    3where the ordinary duration of the preliminary course (or preliminary courses in total) was four years,
    4where the ordinary duration of the preliminary course (or preliminary courses in total) was five years, and
    5where the ordinary duration of the preliminary course (or preliminary courses in total) was six years
    PrC is the number of academic years that the student spent on preliminary courses excluding any years of repeat study for compelling personal reasons.

    This makes it (3 + 1) - 2 = 2 years entitlement, so you could even fail the top up and have to repeat and be entitled to support.
  • diddydonndiddydonn Forumite
    7 Posts
    Thanks Taiko, that's rather interesting, and seems contrary to what Supercat is saying.

    I spoke to sf again yesterday as I had to get my wife's email address changed. Asked them again to clarify if I was entitled to a final years funding, taking into account CPR, and I was given a yes answer, as the ba top up is a direct pathway from the HNC/HNd's I've done the past 2 years.

    Every time I've rang I've logged time, date and name of the advisor as I'm being over cautious given what happened with them last year.
  • Ignore the advisers. I'd wait for a decision and only phone them if absolutely necessary, i.e. to chase up or change something over the phone.

    Taiko has a lot more experience than me, so hopefully for you Taiko is right. But I wouldn't be shocked if you have to fight for it, so make sure you can quote those rules and regs if/when you have to appeal a 'no' decision.

    I've become fairly convinced that they've been told to automatically reject any difficult cases until the person appeals, something to do with government cuts... But maybe I'm just a massive pessimist...
  • diddydonndiddydonn Forumite
    7 Posts
    Hence why i've been logging calls etc. *IF* there are any issues at a later date, as what happened last year, it all adds up when going through appeals or complaints if i need to. What i am hoping is that it will go through smoothly given the amount the messed me around last year. I doubt they would want me reporting them to the financial ombudsman which is what i threatened them with last year.

    I'm not ignoring their advice but not taking it as canon either, but it does seem to be that i will be entitled to the BA funding. With Taiko backing this up, i have much respect for him and i have seen him help out many many people with the SFE issues before.

    With regards to what you said about not accepting my HNC / HND qualification, that really makes no sense. If i didnt accept the qualifications then i wouldnt be able to do the BA topup anyways as i would not have had the requisite academic requirements to start the course.

    Anyways, now to play the waiting game. everything has been submitted, i have nothing outstanding on my checklist. So hopefully they can sort it out, give me the funding, do my BA and the onto the PGCE which is my ultimate goal.
  • TaikoTaiko Forumite
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    If they do reject, which they shouldn't, use my post as the basis for any appeal. There's no doubt in my mind as to your eligibility.
  • diddydonndiddydonn Forumite
    7 Posts
    Thanks Taiko. That fills me with a bit more confidence. I know you've helped a lot of people before with advice on Student finance and helped people with appeals and application issues before. Much appreciated for taking the time to reply!
  • Just a followup to this. After speaking to SFE yesterday, everything has been sorted, Just waiting for confirmation of funding which i should have within a week. The chappy i spoke to yesterday said it's been assessed and everything is in order, and its just waiting for approval from an approval manager.

    I have to give credit to the people from SFE, they have been absolutely fantastic this year sorting things out, they seem knowledgeable and genuinely helpful. They are understanding that i got royalled screwed around last year and have assured me that it wont happen this year.

    Not getting my full hopes up until i get my award notice, but it seems very positive so far.Thanks again Taiko for your help and advice!
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