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Q. I completed a year of a polytechnic degree in the mid-1980s. Would I be entitled to a grant if I returned to higher education? Kate, Manchester

A. You may get a discretionary grant from your local education authority, but you have used up your entitlement to a mandatory grant.

The rules are that you can only be considered for a full grant if you spent 20 weeks or less (excluding holidays) on a higher education course for which you received public funds.

If it was an uncompleted two-year course, your local education authority will consider you for a reduced award. This might mean that you may not get a grant for every year of the new course.

If it were a three-year course, any award is at the discretion of the local education authority, all of which are under financial pressure.

You will qualify for a student loan if your higher education course is full-time and you are under 50 when the course starts.

Read Student Grants and Loans - A Brief Guide for Higher Education Students 1995/6. Available free from the Department for Education on 0181-533 2000.


Have you any queries about education? Write to "Crammer", Education Dept, the `Independent', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.