Did you know, in Scotland, universities and further education colleges are working closely together to better support the military community?

AFF’s education and training specialist, Jenna Richardson, met (virtually) with Jim Castle from Glasgow Caledonian University to chat about the HeFe Veterans and Armed Forces Champions Network (HeFeVCN), an organisation that brings together all the universities and further education colleges who operate in the veterans and forces family space.

“All the universities and most colleges have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and many also have a forces champion in place,” explains Jim. “The purpose of the HeFeVCN is to co-ordinate the approach to the wider military family. Our aim is to maximise the potential of all members of the forces family via a holistic educational pathway. We’d like to extend it across the whole of the UK.”

Case study

Service child Lucy has lived in lots of locations in the UK and overseas. When it came to applying for student finance, she applied to Student Finance England (SFE) as that’s where she was living.

But what Lucy didn’t realise, until she contacted AFF, was that as her father lived in Scotland at the time of joining the army, she should have applied to the Students Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for her funding.

As Lucy had chosen to go to a university north of the border, she was also eligible to be assessed as a Scottish ‘home’ student – which meant that she could receive free tuition.

She says: “Using her contacts at the HeFeVCN, Jenna put me in touch with the armed forces champion at my university.

“Our champion was able to work with SAAS to transfer my existing funding from SFE to SAAS, who will now pay my tuition fees and give me my maintenance grant.

“This has made such a difference; I’m so relieved that I will end university with a good degree and very little student debt, which is amazing!”

If you think Lucy’s situation may be similar to your own or someone in your service family, email Jenna at employment@aff.org.uk

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