More than a 100 former and present students at the Cupar campus of Fife College were left frustrated and angry this week when they discovered that they would not be able to graduate next month as planned.
The students in the hair, beauty, sport and fitness academy have been told their courses do not meet the college’s graduation requirement.
A letter to students from department head Christine Laing said the college had decided that, to be eligible to graduate, an SCQF level seven and above qualification was required.
The affected students have spent between two and sometimes three years to gain the level six qualification.
Ms Laing acknowledged that the level six qualification was a “fantastic achievement and one that I would commend as it has high recognition value” in the industry.
“However, as it does not meet the new Fife College graduation requirement you will not therefore be invited to graduate, as I believe had been the previous position in Cupar / Elmwood College in past years.”
On Wednesday, former students said they were “disgusted” at the decision and accused the college of “moving the goalposts.” The former students who contacted the Herald said that, as they hadn’t actually graduated, potential employers would question whether they completed the whole course.
Ashley Charite said: ”Someone has to be held responsible for us not being able to graduate as the college had an obligation to us.”
Donna Lawson added: “I am now working in a salon, but because I haven’t received my course certificate, I can’t do any beauty therapy.
“We were told to expect a letter asking us to order gowns and hats for the graduation, but the letter that arrived was to say we won’t be graduating. I’m disgusted.”
A college spokesperson said that all students who achieved their qualifications were graduates of the college and received an official certificate from their awarding body to recognise their success.
“It is this certificate that they need to show future employers - certificates presented at our graduation ceremonies are ceremonial and not formal proof of qualifications.
“Any student who has not received certificates from their awarding body should get in touch with the college and we can look into it on their behalf. In line with most other colleges in Scotland, we can only invite a proportion of students who achieve at college to our graduation ceremonies due to the numbers involved. “
The college wished the students every success in their future careers.
“We very much hope that they will consider coming back to study with us at HNC/D if appropriate and to attend future graduation ceremonies.”