Grace Isted is a 25 year old single mum to two girls. After training as an actress at stage school, Grace had her two children and found herself as a single mum living in Rye. Working in a bar and on benefits, Grace felt down and trapped about her life. She knew she wanted more and was capable of more so she started looking at Sussex Coast College Hastings for courses she could enrol onto.

Grace found a Beauty Therapy course which interested her and realised Advanced Learner Loans were available to her.

‘Doing this course has completely changed my life’ says Grace. ‘The college couldn’t do enough to help me find a way, every issue I have had, the college has taken off my hands.’

‘The money for the fees was paid straight to the college and I have had help with my childcare too. There is a nursery in the college and I haven’t had to pay towards the costs, which was my biggest worry when enrolling on the course.’

‘Applying for the Advanced Learner Loan was easy, I came to the college for my interview and the tutor took me straight down to the student services team who were fantastic. They made it clear which part of the forms I had to fill in and which letters and certificates I needed to bring them. It couldn’t have been quicker or easier, thanks to them.’

Grace concluded, ‘I can’t say yet if I have financially benefitted from coming back to college, but I can honestly say what it has done for my identity, confidence and self-worth has made it worth every minute. It has given me more than any financial gain, it has given me my life back whilst enabling me to still be a great mum to my girls.’

Grace has a 5 year plan, hoping to continue her Level 3, specialising in skin care, then gain experience for a year before going freelance and opening her own salon.

About Advanced Learner Loans

  • You can apply for a Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs of a college or training course if you’re 19 or older.
  • The course must have started on or after 1 August 2016 and be an eligible Level 3 or 4 course, e.g. A-Levels.
  • Loans have to be paid back but repayments don’t start until April 2017 and you won’t have to pay anything back until you earn more than £21,000 a year. The loan doesn’t depend on your income and there are no credit checks.

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