£50 instead of a student loan for Burgess Hill performer

Brooke Hayes has been given �50 rather than her �16k student loan. Pic Steve Robards SUS-141223-123231001
Brooke Hayes has been given �50 rather than her �16k student loan. Pic Steve Robards SUS-141223-123231001

A performing arts student may not be able to fulfill her life’s ambition as her funding for a musical theatre course has been cut.

Rather than receiving the £16,418 loan she was offered by the Student Loans Company, she has been given just £50 in compensation, as her funding was awarded in error.

Brooke Hayes, 18, a former Oathall Community College student, has a place at The Brighton Academy which provides training in musical theatre and acting.

Brooke said: “In reality, £50 covers two days of fees at college. I’m insulted that they’ve given me so little money.

“Other students who have been refused funding might have to leave after Christmas. We were promised something - they can’t just take it away,” she said.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is ‘refusing’ to pay the fees as the first year of her three year course qualifies students with a Higher Educational Certificate.

The next two years qualifies students with a Higher National Diploma.

A spokesman for SLC explained their decision: “When Miss Hayes’ application was processed it was not identified that designation had been removed for new students to her course for the 14/15 academic year and funding was awarded in error.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and have offered Ms Hayes a compensatory payment of £50.”

Brooke said SLC ‘promised me that the money was secure’.

“I don’t understand how they’re allowed to put students in this position. It’s been so stressful trying to sort this out on top of being at college full time.”

Jayne Hayes, Brooke’s mother, said: “My daughter can’t complete this course, which is her life’s ambition, without this funding.”

Brighton Academy is supporting students through their financial hardship.

Co-principal Tim Newman said: “It’s a moral outrage that they can do this. Even if they can technically get away with it, morally they shouldn’t. They have a complete disregard for people’s futures.”

Students are fundraising for course fees with a show at the college on January 4.