Despairing search for an education: Karen Gold talks to three people hit by the cancellation of degree courses

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WHEN James Rose was this spring offered a place at Leeds Metropolitan University to read business management, he was delighted. He turned down an offer from another university, filled in his grant forms and settled down to meet the required grades.

Then a letter arrived from the university. 'It said they had withdrawn the course and something about government finances,' said Mr Rose, 18, of Old Earswick, York.

'I just couldn't believe it. I had been offered a degree course at a place I really wanted to go to and then suddenly I wasn't going there after all. It was terrible.'

He telephoned the Polytechnics Central Admissions System (PCAS) to see if the offer at Central Lancashire University he had already turned down could be resurrected. It could not.

After an angry phone call by his father, Howard, and an interview at Leeds, an informal offer was made for a course in management information systems, but officially Mr Rose is still waiting to hear from them.

David Stephens, of Kendal, Cumbria, had turned down two other university offers in favour of Leeds. He also rang Leeds when he got the news. 'The guy was very apologetic. He said they had been trying to get the money for the course but it just wasn't possible,' he said. Mr Stephens has decided to abandon applications altogether this year, take a year off and reapply for 1994.

Paul Dennis also appealed to PCAS to get back a place he had turned down, this time at Huddersfield University. PCAS advised Mr Dennis to write to Huddersfield explaining the circumstances.

Several weeks later the university offered him his place back. 'It was a very worrying time,' he added.

(Photograph omitted)