June Wilson, a single parent in the first year of an administration and information management course at Falkirk College of Further and Higher Education, received her cheque at the end of October. But she found last term such a struggle that she is contemplating abandoning her Higher National Diploma, and leaving at the end of this year with a Higher National Certificate.
Because she had no letter of award proving she was now a student, her bank refused her a student account with overdraft facilities, and by the time the grant arrived, she was Pounds 500 in arrears. In order to survive, she has started working three nights a week from 5pm until 11pm, but much of her earnings go on childcare for her 11 and 6-year-old children. She is now well behind with the rent.
"I can't see my way clear. What keeps me going is that I really want to do this course, but I might end up just doing an HNC and not putting myself through another year," she says. "The kids get it drummed into them that I'm only a student and not a money tree. Sometimes they're okay, but other times they're stroppy when they want something and can't have it."