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The Trouble with University Beaurocracy

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
The problem with havings lots of different departments providing support to different people, meeting different targets, and so on, is that it ends up being unfair, unjust, and and inconsistent.

An example would be two of my friends. Just to get university parking permits, they have to go to two different departments entirely with 5 different documents, yet one got a permit and the other one didn't. They live in the same house, about a mile and a bit from the university (30 minutes walking time roughly), but because half the students jump through loopholes, they increase the reasonable threshold to something ridiculous (you need to live outside the outer city ring road to get one, which is just small stupidly expensive towns like harrogate lol, about a good 40 minutes drive), whereas the other student got one on medical grounds - 'iron deficiency'.

I'm not going to knock her because it's the way the system works, but the system doesn't work properly because say someone next door to the university applied for a permit, and jumped through a loophole, they would get a permit. If someone lived an hour and a halfs walk away, they would not get a permit. Is that fair?

I've also been a 'victim' of this in that I am and have been struggling for cash for quite some time. The university has funds at its disposal - I've been in my overdraft for a good while - but because I can't prove the justification i.e. disability then they can't help. And yet, other universities are able to give large amounts to students who already have a very significant income (according to the MSE forums).

Now it's easy to think I might just be jealous / bitter, and maybe I am - but the problem is I have been struggling and looking to the university for support but because I am not one of the kinds of people on their list they have arbitrary limits imposed on my spending. Basically, unless I fall below the poverty line, there's nothing they can do. Which would be fair enough if that's the way the system worked for everyone, but I know for sure it's not. My brother who was pretty much in the same situation as me got a grant to clear his overdraft.

Now if a university has a pot of money to give out to students who need help, it goes without saying that this should go to those who are most needy. And that will be students who have disabilities and the like. But for reasons I can only fathom is about meeting targets, the provision of support becomes so highly skewed that the average student seldom if ever receives any of this 'extra help'. I am probably not even average, I'm poor (lol), but these arbitrary limits are impossible to get under. You wouldn't be able to afford your rent let alone anything else. I only need a little help to buy my books and get by this term, as even after having my loan through I'm still in my overdraft.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    do you not have a hardship fund? surely you could get some money because you don't have fiancial backing from your family?

    plus, just go get yourself tested for everything! because even if they find something really mild, then it might help...

    i have to say my uni isn't like that, there are strict rules about who does and doesn't get things, and you have to fit the criteria or you don't get it. Maybe worth taking up with SU or student welfare?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    I only need a little help to buy my books and get by this term, as even after having my loan through I'm still in my overdraft.

    And? That's what an overdraft is for. I got my loan (late...) and was (am) still overdrawn... and by the time I'd bought books, paid my rent, bills, went out a bit, got a bit of shopping...I'm thinking that my overdraft won't get me through to end of term before getting maxxed out... hence I'm now about to become a slave to Sainsbury's on weekends.
    I've been in my overdraft for a good while.....My brother who was pretty much in the same situation as me got a grant to clear his overdraft.

    I can't remember the last time my account wasn't overdrawn. The same goes for a lot of people I know. The bank kindly gave me an interest-free overdraft. I used it. Why the hell should anybody get a grant to a clear an overdraft?

    TBH from what I can tell you don't qualify for these funds because you're in exactly the same position as most other students... i.e. you can afford to get by with using your overdraft... and these days that seems to be considered perfectly acceptable.

    If the banks tighten up on student overdrafts the SLC really will need to increase the loan amount... because at the moment an interest-free overdraft is essential for a lot of students.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think they have a big pot of spare money because they're having to pay for the contraversial Hes East Campus.

    Also tell me if I'm wrong but what happened to the vast loan, grant and bursary payments that you kept going on about?

    Or what about getting a job? I worked all the way through uni and didn't even have an overdraft. If you're poor as a student the best thing to do is to do something about it rather than just whinging about the university.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Being into your overdraft doesn't count as poor as far as students are concerned. Running out of your overdraft starts to.

    My understanding of Access to Learning fund (which is the major hardship fund uni's use) is that it's for people who are really struggling to get by with their standard day to day costs and have already tried everything else: Student Loan, assessed contribution from family, overdraft, and working a *reasonable* amount for the university and the course. Once you've tried all of those and are still struggling with the basic costs then you can get help. OR you can get help from Access to Learning for non standard costs, so for an example a student who had done the basic assessment offered by disability centres and they had recommended they needed an educational psychologist assessment that had to be paid for. That would be an abnormal cost to expect a student to pay from their loan etc so Access to Learning will often help with that.

    As for the parking permit thing, that's the way with lots of things in life. And if she's actually Iron deficient then walking in is likely to leave her too shattered to do much when she gets there if she does it on a regular basis. And yes I do think it's fair, they allocate permits to people who need them. Maybe they aren't enforcing the restrictions rigourously enough at the moment, but the principle is fine.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As for the parking permit thing, that's the way with lots of things in life. And if she's actually Iron deficient then walking in is likely to leave her too shattered to do much when she gets there if she does it on a regular basis. And yes I do think it's fair, they allocate permits to people who need them. Maybe they aren't enforcing the restrictions rigourously enough at the moment, but the principle is fine.

    At most unis there isn't really any need for a car - public transport is adequate at most unis... a car is a luxury. So unless there are some kind of exceptional circumstances preventing someone from getting the bus like everyone else I don't think universities should be encouraging people to bring cars onto campus.. hence why they're tight with permits.

    I don't think a student who could use public transport but is instead running a car can be poor... I couldn't justify keeping a car at uni: a bus pass with unlimited travel to/from uni and in the local area is £270/year... which is cheaper than running a car. It would be really nice to still have a car... but it's a luxury I can't afford at the moment.
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