Taking a "Break in Studies" (previously called "intermitting")
If you think you might need to take a break in studies, or want to leave the course altogether, we hope this page will help outline the issues involved so you can think through your options.
However, we would advise that you also talk to your Personal Tutor and a Student Adviser at the Student Union Student Advice Centre and/or the University's Student Guidance Adviser team. All these people have different specialisms: if you're having problems on the course, or having financial problems, there might be other options.
Break in studies: Some students wish to take time out from their studies because of illness, financial or personal reasons. If this is done with the agreement of the University it is known a break in studies, and the student will be able to resume their course at a later date.
Withdrawing: other students wish to withdraw from their course altogether in order to pursue other career options or enrol on another course at a later date. This is known as withdrawing.
Level 3, 4, 5, and MA students - the University's new Academic Regulations restrict when you can take a break in studies. Click here for details and please speak with an Adviser if the restriction would be a problem for you.
Will I still receive a student loan/tuition fee loan if I return to study after a break in studies or withdrawal?
If your current year of study is your first ever year in Higher Education of any sort, you'll usually get full funding for all years of a new course later on (the funding rules allow one "gift year").
However, the rules can be very complicated and we would therefore strongly suggest that you speak to a Student Adviser in the Students' Union Student Advice Centre regarding this BEFORE you decide whether to take a break in studies or withdraw.
Will I owe any tuition fees?
Usually, your student funding will be revised to cover the fee charged for the time you were attending University, but again the rules can be very complicated. Before you decide to intermit or withdraw, please contact the Student Advice Centre for further information regarding this.
Should I inform Student Finance that I am taking a break in studies/withdrawing?
If a student decides to take a break in studies or withdraw, the University will write to the relevant agency: Student Finance England, Wales or Northern Ireland; or the Students Award Agency for Scotland. Students who are taking a break in studies should also contact the relevant agency and ask them to suspend their Student Support on the understanding that they wish to return to full time education after the break. We always advise: get any agreements in writing, and make a note of who you spoke with if you're making any arrangements by 'phone.
If you are taking a break in studies because of illness there may be some discretion to continue payment of Student Support (i.e. loan and extra allowances if applicable) beyond the first 60 days of that break (for which payment is routinely allowed for a break in studies on health grounds). It is possible that you could get Student Support if you take a break in studies for reasons other than illness e.g. Pregnancy, caring responsibilities, financial problems, bereavement, or premature termination of a work placement.
You will need to: put a case to the relevant funding agency, explaining why you're taking the break in studies, how long the break will be, and including evidence of both what's happened and if you have any other income.
How we can help: making this sort of case isn't straightforward - ask our advice on what your funding agency will be looking for and on the paperwork or forms involved.
Will I have to begin repaying my Student Loan?
If you already have a Student Loan, you are not required to make any repayments during your period of break in studies. However, if you decide to withdraw after a break in studies, then you will be required to begin repaying your student loan the following April after you have withdrawn if you are earning above £25,000 (£21,000 for the Postgraduate Loan).
Will I be able to claim welfare benefits?
Students who withdraw will no longer have student status and may be able to claim such benefits (usually Universal Credit).
At present students who take a break in studies are not entitled to Welfare Benefits unless in one of the exempted categories (e.g. single parents, disabled students, pensioners, student couples with children etc). There is an extra rule allowing some people who take a break in studies because of illness (or caring responsibilities) who are now well (or whose caring responsibilities have ended) to claim in some restricted circumstances. The rules are complicated and you should seek advice from the Student Advice Centre.
Will I have to pay Council Tax?
Students taking a break in studies are not exempt from paying Council Tax as such, but they are regarded as ‘invisible’ at the point of assessment for Council Tax purposes. Click here for more about Council Tax. Students who withdraw will lose their student status. They will need to check with their Local Authority whether they have to pay Council Tax or are eligible for Council Tax Benefit.
If I am employed, will I have to pay any Income Tax?
If you are in paid employment whilst studying, whether you are liable to pay income tax depends upon the amount earned. If you work during your period of intermission it may be possible to claim a tax rebate when you return to university. This is dependent on a number of different factors and you will need to consult HM Revenue & Customs.
Will I still have to pay for my Accomodation?
Students in University-owned halls of residence who intermit or withdraw will only pay for the time they are resident. See item 7 of your Reslife Accommodation License Agreement for details. your Students who wish to be released from their contract will need to contact Reslife in writing regarding this.
Students who rent a house from a private landlord or live in a non-University Hall of Residence may find that their tenancy agreement states that they will remain liable for any rent up until the end of the contract. Students in this position should consult an Adviser to clarify their legal position.
If I decide that I want to take a break in studies or withdraw, what do I need to do?
If you do decide to take a break in studies or intermit you will need to complete the appropriate withdrawal/intermission form. This is available from your School Office or University Guidance Advisor. In order to have your withdrawal/break authorised by the university, you will need to see an academic member of staff from within your School in order to make them aware of your decision and to ask them to sign the appropriate section of the form.
Although not compulsory for part-time students and students based at partner colleges, this will provide you with an opportunity to explore your options fully and to see if the University can provide any further support now or in the future. Students are also asked to complete an exit questionnaire in order for the University to gather information on the factors leading to a student’s decision to withdraw.
The University's Student Guidance Advisor will also sign the appropriate section of the withdrawal/intermission form.
Where can I go for further help and support?
Student Guidance Advisor - The University's Student Guidance Advisor can provide guidance on a wide range of matters including University procedures for intermitting, transferring or withdrawing. Students who decide to withdraw will be asked to attend an exit interview with the Faculty Student Guidance Advisor. This is voluntary and the information gained is used to improve university provision, and practice, for future students.
Student Advice Centre - We can advise you about intermitting and withdrawing; especially on the financial implications.