West London student forced to raise £ 10,000 in one week over student loan ‘mistake’


West London student has to raise £ 9,250 in a week to start college because of a student loan ‘mistake’.

Rikki Aoki, 25, of Kensal Rise, was delighted to be offered a place at SOAS University Bloomsbury to study Art History / Archeology with the Japanese Language and pursue her dream of becoming an artist.

After seeing her student loan application marked as “accepted,” Rikki had no reason to suspect that she would be denied her loan.

However, with one week before the start of her course, she was informed by the student loan that she was not eligible to receive funding for her first year because she had already obtained an undergraduate degree, which ‘she gave up.

Rikki said the Student Loans Company will cover his second and third years, but the challenge and surprise of not having a loan in the first year leaves him little time to find another form of payment.

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“It’s not good enough. I checked every day for three months, and they chose to tell me I’m not eligible right before my class started. It’s neglect,” he said. said Rikki.

She added: “I used the same Student Loans Company account that I had for my first loan. Why don’t you just tell me when I applied? I quit my job for this course, and now it seems that I will be kicked out just as my lessons begin. “

Rikki said finding out that his loan had been turned down was “like a punch in the stomach.” She is currently selling her art paintings and digital illustrations, but hoped this degree would bring her closer to a full-time job as an artist. Now she wonders if that will be a possibility this year.

Rikki said: “It’s such an overwhelming amount. I could maybe afford it if it was only £ 3,000, but even that would be really difficult because of the living costs.

“This course means everything to me. I have been teaching Japanese since I was 16 and it would have really helped me move forward and make a name for myself as an artist.

“Now the whole future I imagined is in ruins. I have no idea what will happen if I can’t raise that money – it’s been my plan for years.”

To try to fundraise on time, Rikki set up a last minute GoFund Me page where she managed to raise just under £ 2,000 in a matter of days. You can see the link to their fundraising page here.

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A spokesperson for Student Loan said, “SLC is responsible for the administration of student funding and reimbursement policy, as directed and approved by the government.

“This year, new applicants have been advised to apply by May 22 to ensure their application is processed before their course start date. Rikki Aoki applied for student funding on July 14 and did not would at no time have been informed that the application was “accepted” because this is not a valid application status.

“We have reviewed Rikki Aoki’s account and, due to her previous education, the funding policy was applied correctly and she is not eligible for funding this academic year.”

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