Monday, February 19, 2007

The remains of the day.

Well I started off the day in hot blood I suppose not knowing what was next.

At the end of the day I have time to reflect and realise that I owe 1000 pounds and that is that, if I don’t pay I don’t graduate.

It all goes back to when mum died, in terms of risk taking. I have been faced with various risky strategies since then. The first was to become self employed. I drifted into that without a business plan or any firm idea of how I was going to do it, because I felt it was a now or never thing.

If I had planned it properly I would have ended up with much less and huge debts as the price of failure. The price of success if I had done it properly might have been much more rewarding so that I would be comfortable now.

But I gambled what I had and lost.

The next gamble was after I returned to education. Initially all I had wanted was some paper qualifications to make me a bit more attractive as an employee in the photographic or graphics industry but the discovery of new talents led me on.
Applying for the HND was a risk because when I started I had no way of funding it either. I got lucky this time, but I was not able to get that gold standard a full degree as by that time the funding for the course itself which had intended to round off the HND with an externally validated degree was not there let alone the funding for me to do that, so I stuck it out doing lower courses whilst I waited for that to happen.

The next risk was studying at Birmingham University for the CertHE in autistic spectrum disorders. It was a risk because I started that at the same time as I was finishing my HND something Birmingham initially was not prepared to do but relented when I convinced them I was capable. Although it was not as much money as the course is now, I ended up over the two years paying over 1000 GBP for the qualification which again was a risk.

My mistake was putting off my desire to get a full degree until this year, as I was ticking along with an A level and an AS level to keep me busy whilst the fees took an enormous hike.

The risk was last year to apply regardless of the fees as it was now or never at this point in my life.

I then had a variety of options to get a degree.

A three year conventional honours course, with 3 years of fees and full time study meaning I would not be able to claim income support.

Or a two year course building upon my existing qualification in ASD’s with two years of fees, but partly mitigated by a grant of 750 GBP and a 250 GBP book grant.

Now I have found a different option through a loop hole in the regulations whereby I have skipped the first degree entirely and gone straight to post grad, to qualify initially at the end of this year with a PGCert and after two years with a PGDip or full MEd.

This is my stumbling block because that necessitates paying back the 250 GBP book grant, and paying the 750 GBP that I am no longer entitled to, that is the upshot of what I have discovered today as a bolt from the blue, not realising that I would have to do either of those things when I made such an eloquent argument to study at the higher level, I believed I was and am proving capable of.

So at the end of the day, what is the cost benefit analysis of it all?
If I don’t pay up by June 1st I will not even graduate with a PGCert, and if I don’t do that, I still won’t have a first degree and nothing to recommend me for anything higher in the future. So I have to do it, and will end the year in debt, therefore I will not be able to afford to take out a loan to fund going on next year.

That is the loss. The benefit is that if I pay up and accept the debt (it might already be too late not to pay as I am legally liable) I will at least have a PGCert to my name.

That is after one year of study and if I had gone through the three year standard first degree option I would not get there for another four years.

If I had stuck with the two year BPhil option It would take me three years to get to the stage I will be at, which would have meant paying next years fees and paying the fees for a PGCert after that.

So at the end of the day if I keep going I get my PGCert at less cost than it would take me if I had to have studied for a first degree inbetween.

And what is the fourth option? The only option I think that does remain now is to go full out for a research PhD next year with funding. I could do a PhD in record time I know that, but I will probably have to wait on the funding before I do and hope I do not grow too old and addled in my brains in the meantime.

Oh and for your entertainment another video. By appointment to the NAS as it were.


kristina said...

I write this only from the stance of much hindsight: I rushed to get my degrees when I was younger and have been trying to figure out what to write out ever since (while spending a lot of time teaching). Keep at it.....

David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

Okay, Larry....

Ed-guidance is one of my goodies.

If you were to ask me what my advice would be, I'd say that you would be best off following one of your own ideas: "The benefit is that if I pay up and accept the debt (it might already be too late not to pay as I am legally liable) I will at least have a PGCert to my name."

By doing that, you will have shown that you can study at postgraduate level, and included in that will be a small-scale research project.

A PgCertSpEd is quite an acceptable basis for PhD study. And this way you would not lose out too much. If you use the PgCertSpEd postnominals (which you can do with that) it's assumed that you had at least the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree (in terms of accrued credit).