Taking time out of your course is sometimes called 'taking a leave of absence', 'suspending' or 'intercalating'. There are many reasons for doing this. It may be due to personal or medical reasons which mean you cannot continue, or perhaps you need time to step back and consider whether your course is right for you.
The student finance information outlined below is for full-time home undergraduate students covered under the Education (Student Support) Regulations and receiving support from Student Finance England. Arrangements may vary slightly for those applying to other authorities, and those students should seek advice.
Is it better to take time out or withdraw?
It can sometimes be better to take an agreed period of time away from your course rather than withdraw completely. This may be particularly important for students who started their course:
- before 1 September 2016 due to the major changes to funding which occurred in the 2016/17 academic year
- before 1 September 2012 due to the changes to fees and funding which occurred in the 2012/13 academic year
If you agree to suspend your studies and stay on the same mode of study, your student finance and fee liability should remain under either the pre-2012 rules or the pre-2016 rules.
However, if you withdraw from your course completely and decide to return to higher education at a later date, then you will be subject to the new post-2016 tuition fee rates and new student finance arrangements.
Please note that if you started your course before 1 September 2016 and transfer onto a course which involves changing your mode of study, for example moving from a full-time to a part-time course, you will be subject to the new post-2016 tuition fee rates and new student finance arrangements.
How do I arrange to take time out of my course?
Arranging to take time out of your course and return at a later date can be quite straightforward. You will need to speak to someone within your academic school so you can agree the date you will leave and the date you anticipate returning. Both you and the University will then need to contact your national Student Finance Service to confirm this information so that your student finance can be kept open ready for your return.
Your academic school will notify Student Finance England that you are taking time out from the course, we recommend that you check a few weeks later to ensure that your request has been processed correctly.
If you started your course before either 1 September 2012 or 1 September 2016, we would urge you to make sure that the leave of absence is well documented and get confirmation in writing from Student Finance England that your student finance application will be kept open and that pre-2012 or pre 2016 student finance package will be available on your return. For assistance in making these arrangements please contact the Student Financial Support Service.
When you leave
Both the amount of fees you will be liable to pay and the grant or loan funding available for fees and living costs will be determined by the precise date on which you suspend your studies.
The official date of suspension will be determined by the academic school, and this will be communicated directly to the relevant student finance service through the normal channels. The precise date is usually based on when you confirm in writing your intention to suspend, but you should be aware of the deadlines set out below.
At Nottingham Trent University, tuition fees for Home / EU undergraduate students are calculated on termly basis, and when a student leaves before the end of the academic year they are charged a portion of the tuition fee, based on the number of terms they were in attendance. Find out more about fee liability if you leave during the 2017/18 academic year.
Grants and loans for living costs
Grants and Loans for living costs are payable in termly instalments, and the total paid is to cover from the first day of term until the first day of the next term. This is known as 'the payment period'.
The Maintenance Grant, Special Support Grant, Adult Dependants Grant and Parents Learning Allowance are paid in respect of 365 days. Where a student suspends their course part way through a payment period, a reassessment of these grants should normally be based on the number of days that the student was undertaking, or can be treated as undertaking on the course from the first day of the academic year to the date of suspension. This is likely to result in an overpayment of grant, repayment of which is likely to be requested immediately or taken directly from any future grant entitlement. Help is available during any negotiations with Student Finance England from the Student Financial Support Service at NTU if needed.
The Maintenance Loan is paid in respect of each term (a payment period). When a student suspends their course part-way through a payment period, their entitlement to a loan will be reassessed. The Maintenance Loan reassessment should normally be based on the number of days that the student was undertaking, or can be treated as undertaking, the course from the first day of the academic year to the date of suspension. Where a student suspends from their course part-way through a payment period there is likely to be an overpayment, repayment of which may be requested immediately. Alternatively, repayment may be clawed back from a future loan award or be recovered once you have left University and your income is above a certain threshold.
If you started your course before 1 September 2012, you pay back any loans plus interest once you complete your course and start earning more than £17,775 per year. The amount you can earn before you have to start repaying your loan will go up each year in line with inflation. You will have to start making repayments in the April after you have left your course.
Full-time and part-time students who start their course after 1 September 2012 begin paying back their student loan once they earn more than £21,000 year.
During your absence
You will not normally be able to receive student finance payments during a leave of absence. Your eligibility for student finance will normally stop on your last date of attendance (see above) and payments will normally resume when you return (see below). However, you may continue to receive funding for a limited period if your absence is due to sickness, and we would urge you to contact the Student Financial Support Service for further advice. Our advisers will also be able to advise you whether you fall into one of the categories of students who are eligible to receive benefit payments during your absence.
When you return
Your liability for tuition fees and eligibility for student finance payments will depend on when you choose to return and whether you have to repeat any part of your course.
You should contact your academic school to confirm what fees you will have to pay on your return. If you return at the start of the academic year and will be enrolled for the whole year, you will normally incur the whole year's fee. If you will be returning part way through the year, you may pay a reduced fee.
If your absence is brief and you are able to return and pick up your studies later in the same academic year, you are only entitled to a tuition fee loan for the terms you are in attendance at University.
Student finance (tuition fee loans and grants / loans for living costs)
You and the University will need to notify Student Finance England of the date of your return, so they can calculate exactly what payments you are due to receive.
If you have exactly one year away and re-join the course at the same point at which you left, then your student finance should simply be reinstated.
If you decide to go back and re-start the year, there is likely to be a period of repeat study and whether you are eligible for student finance during this extra period of time will depend on the previous study rules. Our repeating part of your course page will give you more information about this.
If your absence is brief and you are able to return and pick up your studies later in the same academic year, again you should simply pick up your student finance payments from the date of your return.
Applying for next year's student finance
We strongly recommend that you apply early for your student finance each year. Applications open for each academic year in the Spring. It is important to ensure that Student Finance England is aware of which academic year you will be re-joining your studies in, this will ensure that you student finance entitlement is correctly calculated. If you are repeating some, or all, of an academic year our repeating part of your course page will give you more information.
If you are faced with having to take time out of your course and want to discuss the financial implications, or if you have any difficulty liaising with Student Finance England regarding your absence, please contact the Student Financial Support Service in the first instance and we will arrange for you to speak with one of our advisers.