ACCRINGTON and Rossendale College has come under fire from a mum-of-four after cutting its budget for childcare support.
Student Laura Wilkinson, 25, has accused the college of leaving her high and dry.
She says she had started a second year of her coursebefore being told the funding would be cut by 50 per cent.
The college said its budget had been cut by the Learning and Skills Council. It claimed Laura didn't apply for help until term had started and she was then informed promptly about the amount of childcare she would get.
Laura of Spring Street, Accrington, has four children, Rhys, six, Luke, three, Danny, two, and Lily, six months. When she studied for an NVQ Level 2 in administration and IT last term the college covered the full cost of her childcare bills, paying Emma Rawson Childcare in Huncoat to look after two of the children.
She enrolled to study for an NVQ Level 3 this year in the belief that the same childcare arrangements would apply but has now been forced to drop out of college because she and her partner Alan Fillingham, 25, can't afford the costs.
She said: "I put in for childcare before we broke up and I got a letter saying I could not put my form in until I got my timetable at the start of term.
"I did this but they told me they would only pay 50 per cent and I would have to pay the remainder.
"The childminder has been looking after them for a fortnight now so I have been left with the bill.
"I am very angry at the way they have gone about it. It is really frustrating because I put everything on hold during the holidays. If I had known I could have been looking for a job over the summer.
"People go on about getting back into education and work but they won't do anything to help you."
Adam Underwood, who runs Emma Rawson Childcare with his partner, said: "Last year the college paid 100 per cent of Laura's child care costs and a retainer over the summer. We held the places on condition that it would be the same system, so we have lost three months where we could have been taking on additional clients.
"During the summer the college wrote to us thanking us for our support - that would have been an ideal time to tell us about the change in funding."
A spokesman for the college explained that childcare funding from the Learning and Skills Council had been cut from £263,083 to £137,739.
He added: "To be as fair as possible to all our students we have limited the amount given to each applicant to ensure that the largest number of people receive childcare support. In extenuating circumstances we may still fully fund some."
He said the college had managed to divert funds from other areas to increase the budget but could not afford to meet all childcare costs.
He added: "We respond to applications as quickly as possible."