Pat’s story

“It’s hard…it looks like we are going to have to battle the system once again,” said Pat, after her son Matthew was told he had to find funding for another year at college himself, including the expensive travel costs he would incur as a result of his impairment. The challenges of funding were putting a strain on the entire family.

Pat was struggling to afford the tuition and travel fees required to fund an additional year for her son Matthew to attend college, after having to repeat the previous year following a lack of appropriate additional support to learn on the course. As Matthew was not ready to live away from home and there were no suitable courses in his area, he had to travel a six hour round trip to get to and from college every day.

Pat heard about Lead Scotland’s disabled students’ helpline and decided to give us a call. We explained the policy guidelines around ‘repeat funding’ that are set by the Scottish Funding Council – the body responsible for providing funding for teaching and learning within colleges. We recommended Matthew and his mum put in an appeal to the college to have the fees waived, referencing the policy guidelines and including appropriate evidence to support his case. Pat put the appeal in with a supporting letter from Matthew’s tutor, and the college decided to overturn their decision and waived the tuition fees. We also informed her of the additional support needs for learning allowance bursary funding available from the college, which she said she was not informed of by the college’s support staff.

We also sent Pat a copy of our guide to charitable trusts providing individual educational grants, which could help to pay for extra costs not covered by the college, like travel and equipment for Matthew’s course.

Pat said, “Outstanding information supplied and support given. Lead Scotland have gone above and beyond my expectations.”