Grant Delays Hit Hard-Up City Students; EDUCATION: College Voices Concern for Teenagers

Article excerpt

Byline: By Lucy Lynch EDUCATION REPORTER

TEENAGERS in Coventry are missing out on vital cash because of computer glitches in the grant application system.

Many of the 16- to 19-year-olds at schools and colleges in the city haven't received the education maintenance allowances they need for things like bus fares, books and materials for their courses.

This year, a new company, Liberata, has taken on the pounds 80million-a-year national contract to manage education maintenance allowances.

Glitches in the computer system which it is using are causing delays in sending out forms and processing completed forms.

Normally by this time at City College Coventry there are 350 students visiting student services staff with claims already processed by the scheme's administrators ready to be authorised by the college.

This year it's just 60 and college staff are struggling to authorise their claims because of the computer problems.

Student services manager Kay Brown said: "I'm very concerned. Students use the money for travel, books and materials but some young people from harder-up families use it to survive. …