Friends have helped a student raise thousands to finance her degree after complications mean a decision on her student loan is pending.
Annie Cohen, who is studying history at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), is hoping to raise £2,250 using crowdfunding platform Indeigogo by Friday. She is on track, having already raised over £1,500 in 17 hours.
She was previously studying history at University College London (UCL) but was forced to drop out in 2013 due to a string of health and personal issues including heart attacks, assault, bereavement and homelessness.
She says UCL deemed her “unlikely to be capable” of completing her degree at the time.
The student’s Indiegogo page “Help Annie stay in university!” says: “She got out of hospital, slowly got better, and was managing her physical and mental health conditions. This was not enough for the tick-box bureaucrats at her uni [UCL], who refused to let her return to complete her degree.”
Her crowdfunding page adds: “After a long and fraught road, she secured a place at Queen Mary’s [sic]. She was thrilled to start back at uni this September, and has been getting truly stuck into her courses.”
Annie did not request a loan for tuition fees while at UCL. She said that, although she is entitled to four years, “it turns out they subtract one year for every year you have done in higher education whether or not you have previously had a loan.”
She was told by a student advisor at QMUL that she would “need then to supply evidence of why I had to drop out before and then a ‘compelling argument’ as to why I will not drop out again” adding it is “likely that I will only receive one year not two years of student finance that I need.”
Although the initial deadline to pay her tuition fees for the semester had passed, Annie was given an extension to make the payment. Speaking with London Student she conceded some of the administrative fault was hers.
According to her advisor, a decision is not likely to be made for approximately 6-8 weeks on whether she will be entitled to receive a student loan.
In little over 17 hours Annie Cohen has raised over £1,500 of the £2,250 she needs to continue to finance her degree.
Speaking with told London Student Annie said she was “overwhelmed” at the support she is receiving in person and via the crowdfunding effort since it was launched yesterday (27 October).
She said: “I was pretty devastated yesterday so I can’t believe it’s doing so well.”
She has until Friday 30 October to reach her target.
Her Indiegogo page continued: “Please give what you can to help her stick two fingers up to venal bureaucracy, outrageously expensive HE and the fickle gods of bad bloody luck.
“If she secures funding after we raise enough to keep her in school, she’s going to donate (in her words, “pay back)” the full amount to charity.”
The Student Loans Company (SLC) was not able to comment on this particular case due to laws on data protection.