University is a long and hard process. Sometimes we need a break from all the work and the stress that comes with it. Don’t panic if you’ve found yourself needing a break from university, because we’ve got a list of what you need to do.
Speak to your university or college
Perhaps university is getting to be too much for you. Maybe something has come up that means you’re not going to do as well as you might have done before. Whatever the reason, you can withdraw or pause your studies. But before you make your break from university official, it is definitely important to speak to your university or college.
Firstly, speak to your student support team or your personal tutor about taking a break from university. They can help to advise you on the best decision to make. They’ll help start the process of suspension or withdrawal. They can also point you in the direction of any resources to support you through issues you may have. If it is a mental health issue that you’re struggling with, you can find some resources here, too.
Arrange a suspension of your studies
The university will be able to contact the necessary people in order to kickstart the process of a suspension. This usually involves filling out a form or two. Then the forms are sent to the admin centre within the university.
After this, you will be given written notice (either via letter, or more likely, email) regarding the decision. This email will also probably include an expected return date. The university will then alert student services and everyone else involved in your education. This process will differ slightly depending on your university or college’s individual protocols.
Arranging to withdraw from your studies
Just like suspending your studies, withdrawing from university can begin after you have had a conversation with someone within the institution. They can send the right paperwork out to the necessary places and provide you with written confirmation of your withdrawal, including an end of course date.
Speaking to student finance
With both suspending and withdrawing from the university, Student Finance England will need to be alerted in order to alter your payments. Your university will alert them of the change in your circumstances, and SFE will act accordingly.
You may be able to get some student finance if you’ve been suspended due to financial hardship, caring responsibilities or illness. You will need to send SFE evidence of this, and your case will then be assessed. If your suspension was due to ill health, you will get student finance for 60 days after your studies are paused. There is a chance that you will have been overpaid.
SFE will reassess your student finance based on how many days you’ve attended your course. They will halt any future payments due to be made to you and your college or university, and you will receive a new entitlement letter. There is a chance you will have been overpaid.
You will be contacted if you were overpaid and asked to repay the excess. This applies to any amount overpaid on your tuition fee loan and your maintenance loan. You will need to repay this before you reach the repayment threshold; if you have suspended your studies, you may have your next SFE payments reduced.
Upon return to university or college
When you return to your degree after suspending your studies, your return to university will depend on your university’s protocols. The university will let Student Finance know that you have returned and your payments will be reassessed. If you are returning to university in a new academic year to the one you were suspended in, you will need to reapply for student finance as normal.
Then, if you return to university after withdrawing from the university, your funding will depend on when you withdrew. If this was in your first year, you should still be able to get full funding to study a 3-year undergraduate course. If you left your course later than the first year, you may have to pay some of the tuition fees yourself.