Courses cost 150% more

PUBLISHED: 12:35 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:29 05 May 2010

COMMUNITY courses in Stevenage have tripled in price to the anger of a former student. Last term full-time carer Frances Garrett, 58, of Broadwater in Stevenage, signed up to three community courses run by North Hertfordshire College in dress making, crea

COMMUNITY courses in Stevenage have tripled in price to the anger of a former student.

Last term full-time carer Frances Garrett, 58, of Broadwater in Stevenage, signed up to three community courses run by North Hertfordshire College in dress making, creative writing and art at a cost of £30 for each 10-week course.

But when she went to sign up to the courses that are held at community centres across town again this week, she was shocked to find that they had risen to £75 each.

She said: "Of course I realise that the fees need to be increased to keep up with the cost of living, but how can they justify an increase of 150 per cent?

"It means I can't attend them any more because they are too expensive which is disappointing because they gave me structure to my everyday life and were something to look forward to."

People on certain benefits are still charged £30 for each course but because Ms Garrett gets a carer's allowance and a small private pension, she is slightly over the benefits threshold.

A spokesman for NHC said: "We are unable to comment on individual cases but can assure you that North Hertfordshire College is committed to widening participation and allowing greater access for all learners.

"Courses for adults in the community, or at the college centres, can be accessed for a standard fee. The standard fee for a 10-week course 2008/2009 has been reduced by 25% from £100 to £75. Learners on benefits or in the additional remission categories will still pay a reduced fee of £30.

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