Thursday, 25 July 2013

Another dream hits the dust

The sad tale of my last desperate attempt to do a BA

I now realize that I was stupid to try as  if I want to go back to education I need to do an access course, and this indeed is what  this is what this guy suggested .


This guy interviewing me is called Jamie Hanson – head of the Contemporary Creative Practice.

I gave him the chance to suggest that before I went to the interview yesterday for this BA top-up course.

As  I emailed him before I went and over 2 weeks before to say that if in his view I was not qualified to go on this course please do not see me on the basis that I am. I sent him pictures of my work, a dissertation proposal and my qualifications.

I asked him to be honest, to tell me know and by email if there was no point in my coming for an interview for this course and suggest if there was no point what the alternatives were.

But he phoned me and said of course I was qualified via my HND, my teacher qualification, my certificate of Education from Anglia Ruskin Uni ( only did that a few years ago ) and my experience.

And he said  of course come to the interview for this course. He also said and I quote..................

‘You more than  meet the entry qualifications’


But when I got there he did a number on me.
In he was never considering me for a moment for this BA top- up, nor had he read the files I had sent him via email or looked at my work i had provided links to.

And was from the first trying  to manipulate me into agreeing this course was not what I wanted to do - when it was - and suggested a foundation degree and when I said I could not possibly afford it and why,  an access course.

I would have been fine with this had he said before I got there that I was not interviewing for the BA as I was not qualified or good enough or academically capable enough to do it and so if I saw him at all we were just having a chat about my options, if he had said that on the phone I would have been aware what his agenda was and would have had the information to decide to go and see him, or not.

But on the phone , he did not say this. His words were something like ' you are more than qualified to do the BA, please come along for an interview with your portfolio '

So I trooped along with all my stuff - had to take Barry to help carry it as a lot of my art is large - for what I thought was an interview for the BA and thinking I had a chance. 

Only to find it was not. That his agenda was to persuade me to either do a foundation degree or an access course - with no guarantee if I did either I would get on the BA That is fine, I would have accepted this and not gone to the trauma of going to an interview as  he could have told me that on the phone.

Why lead me to believe I was  qualified for and interviewing for the BA top-up if I was not??

Anyway the point is, he could have told me on the phone and I simply would have accepted it and not gone

As there would have been no point!!

 As I simply do not have the money to do a foundation degree and I would certainly not have the money to go on an access course, then a foundation and then a BA. This would cost between 16 to 18k – perhaps more and  I simply don't have it and never will

I had worked out that I just about had enough money that I could scrape together to do this top up BA that he assured me on the phone I was qualified to do - this would have cost about £3000 payable in three installments and I worked out that with a lot of scrimping I could just about manage to pay this.

But that was all, there were no other options for me due to the finances.

If he had been honest on the phone I would not have gone, and would have just left it there

I guess he may have meant well??? He probably thought he was doing me a favour in seeing me at all and thought he was being helpful in suggesting ways to get to the stage I could do a BA

But the facts are I can't afford it, it was the top up BA part time or nothing.

I felt he was not honest and I felt humiliated as had he said this on the phone I would not have gone.

I did try make this clear in an email that I was only interested in the part time top up BA, and asked him not to see me if my doing this course was not possible.


He should not have done this. He should not have seen me. If he had read what I sent to him he probably would not have, but it was obvious he had not!

I guess his concerns were just bums on seats and not to turn away a possible student, and to just get me in and then persuade me that the BA top-up was not for me ( or I was not ready for it) and to go on an access course or a foundation degree.

But he was dealing with a 60 year old adult who in fact used to lecture at that college !!! Yes I used to lecture there!!

And I know how it works and what it costs - not a 18 year old fresh from doing A levels.

And I would have had to pay for myself - long story why.


But basically no way can I come off of DLA and ESA and get a student loan as if I do this I would have over 20k in debt at 60 with no hope of ever paying it back.

I did look into this just to see what the possibility was and found that if I died with that debt, it would be deducted from my estate and if I died before Barry this would mean he would have to sell our home to pay it and if I survive Barry my daughter will have to pay it out of my estate.

My daughter  has a student loan herself she is being charged interest on./ It is not for the whole whack as she did not finish her degree but went to work as a chef. But she can't afford to pay back her own student loan.

I can not selfishly disregard the future welfare of my only child and get a student loan knowing I can’t pay it back as at 60 and disabled I am unlikely to ever work again and thus landing her with a debt of over 20k on top of her own student loan.

I did in fact make it  clear in the email correspondence I had with him before the interview that I was only interested in the top-up BA.

I did not go into the financial details as that is my business, but I did at this interview and  yet he continued to suggest an access course and/or a foundation , even though I had said it was financially not and option.Also if I got a student loan, which is the only way I could do what he was suggesting, the access course, followed by a foundation degree - which would take at least 4 years part time ( I was going for part time which doubles the time it would take because I know my limitations and I get too tired to go to college 5 days a week as i suffer chronic fatigue and could not do a full week)

So I just could not do this and I would be in my mid 60s when I left college – probably 66 or 67 by then and then there would be no guarantee I would be able to do the BA top up at the end of it. And worry that in 4 to 6 years I would not be physically or mentally capable anyway.

So when he rang me and said come in to see him for an interview as I was more than qualified on paper to do the one year full time or 2 years part time BA top-up I thought  at least I stood a chance .

And for me financially and physically 1 year full time or 2 years part time that I paid for myself, was my only option


As also if I got a student loan I would be taken off of ESA - which I have fought to get - and it would be very hard , if not impossible to get back on it as by having a student loan to do 3 to 6 years at college - if I could get it anyway at my age??

Would be saying if I can go to college I can work, which I can’t, thus proving I do not qualify for ESA

But you are allowed on ESA to do a college course of 16 hours or less a week – well that is the information I have - so I worked out as this BA top up was dissertation based and only has 15 hours taught lectures in the first term, if I did it part time over 2 years I would be in college less than 16 hours a well so I could do it if I paid the fees myself. The access course and the foundation is taught and even part time is more than 16 hours a week, so I would automatically disqualify myself from ESA even if I felt I could risk getting a student loan at my age

So when I went yesterday I knew this top up BA, mostly non taught (mostly a dissertation with tutor input and much of it I could do at home) was my only option.

I made it clear both on the phone and in emails I was only interested in the top-up BA, but the sad thing is when I got there it was apparent he had not even read my emails properly or taken in what I was saying about my position.

He so had not read anything I said he even asked me how old I was!! Which was in my emails and a lot of why I can’t risk getting a student loan

Yes of course I would have been disappointed if he had said in an email or on the phone I was not qualified to do it and there was no chance, before I went to any interview.

But to go to an interview thinking it is at least possible in theory - that I qualify to do the course I was applying for - and then at the interview it being made plain no way was he considering me for it..............

Made me both angry and I felt totally humiliated and that I'd wasted my time and indeed his. I felt like I'd been hit