Heartbreak as Harrogate mother-of-two has funding pulled for dream course

A single mother-of-two from the Jennyfields area of Harrogate is desperate to pursue her dream career and set a good example for her kids, but this ambition has been thrown into jeopardy after the Student Loans Company suddenly pulled funding for her course.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 12:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 3:58 pm
Liza Leeson with her sons Oliver and Lewis. Picture: Gerard Binks.

After spending several lengthy spells in hospital as a child due to problems with her eyes, Liza Leeson was inspired to become a play specialist, having directly experienced herself just how much of a difference that specialists make on wards - bringing joy to children who are feeling anxious in a daunting clinical environment.

Having had her children, 30-year-old Liza, who has been instrumental in creating the Jennyfields Residents' Group, jumped at the opportunity when Leeds City College announced a foundation degree for this specialism, and was the first to sign up and be accepted.

Now, having motored her way through half of the first year of her two-year course, the Student Loans Company announced that Liza isn’t eligible for the £7,200 for her studies after all due to an administrative error, and she is desperate to find charities, community groups and individual residents who might be able to help her.

Liza said: “It’s a lot for anyone to pay for, let alone a single parent. I’m 30, I’m one of the mature students, and I’ve had my children. Now this is my career bit.

"This does put you down, you find yourself asking, ‘am I actually made for this job?’ ‘Is it a sign of some sort?’ I felt really disheartened because I’ve done half the year, it’s not like we’re at the beginning and I haven’t done anything. This course is everything to me, and you’ve got to fight for what you want to do. I want to show my kids that you can follow your dreams and succeed."

A Student Loans Company spokesperson said: “Ms Leeson was awarded a tuition fee loan as it was believed that her course was eligible for funding as a second degree, however the course being studied is a foundation not an honours degree so it does not attract funding when studied as a second qualification. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused, and in recognition of this Miss Leeson’s fee loan for the rest of the academic year will be reinstated.”

But Liza still needs to raise funds for the second year of her course. Can you help? Email [email protected] or donate to her fundraising page here.