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Changing your course

If you need to repeat study, or want to transfer or take time out from your course, speak to a Money Adviser because the choices that you make can affect your funding.

Plus Icon Repeating

If you need to repeat some of your course your funding could be affected.

Tuition Fee Loan

You can get the tuition fee loan for the length of your course, plus one 'gift year'.  If you have not repeated study or studied on another university course, then you can use your 'gift year' of tuition fee loan.

If you have repeated study before, or have studied on another course and so have used up your 'gift year', then you will have to pay the tuition fees for the repeat year yourself.

However, if you are having to repeat because 'compelling personal reasons' have affected your study, like illness or bereavement, then you could ask Student Finance England to take these into account.

You will need to write a letter explaining how your studies were affected and provide evidence.  If you would like some help writing to Student Finance England speak to a Student Money Adviser.

Maintenance Loan

You can still continue to get the Maintenance Loan and other grants until you complete the course, even if you are repeating study.  But you can usually only get them when you are attending your course.  So if you are repeating modules in just one term, the rules say that you can only get the Maintenance Loan for that term.  Student Finance England can sometimes still pay the maintenance loan for periods when you are absent if you would be in financial hardship otherwise.  

Plus Icon Suspending

If you take time out from your course (sometimes known as deferring or suspending study) you will need to tell your course administrator and also let Student Finance England know about your plans.

Student Funding

Usually if you stop attending your course your student funding will stop and the next instalments of your student loan will not be paid. Student Finance England will recalculate your entitlement to grants and loans, and let you know if you are entitled to more, or whether you will need to repay anything.

If you are ill then support can continue to be paid for 60 days while you are away from your course.

If you have taken time out and you are not getting your loan and will suffer financial hardship as a result, then you can ask Student Finance England to extend your funding. In deciding whether to do this they will take into account the reasons for your absence, how long you expect to be absent, and the financial hardship which not paying support would cause.  You can phone them on 0300 1000607 and ask for a 'financial hardship confirmation' form.

Universal Credit

While you are taking time out, if you are still registered as a full-time student, you would not usually be able to claim Universal Credit.

You can only get Universal Credit as a full-time student if you get PIP and have limited capability for work, or you are a single parent, or a student couple with a child.  If you have a partner, then your partner may be able to claim.

Or, If you have taken time out because you are ill, or caring for someone, and now you have recovered from illness, or finished caring for someone, and you are waiting to get back onto your course, then you could get Universal Credit.

If you are thinking about taking time out from your course, then speak to a Student Money Adviser about how this could affect your finances.

Plus Icon Transferring

If you are planning to transfer courses this can affect your student funding in some circumstances.

Where you are transferring onto a course of the same length, same mode of study (full-time or part-time) and into the same or following year, then your student funding will not usually be affected by the transfer. If this is the case, you can log on to your Student Finance England account and let Student Finance know about these changes online. In the meantime, the Student Funding Team within the university will complete a Change of Circumstances form and send this to Student Finance England to confirm these changes.

If you are transferring and starting a new course in an earlier year, for example you transfer from the third year of one course into the first year of a new course, or if you are transferring from a full-time course to a part-time course or vice versa then your funding could be affected.

If you are suspending study before transferring please see the section on this page about suspending study.

Speak to a Student Money Adviser if you are unsure about how your funding will be affected by a transfer.

Plus Icon Withdrawing

If you are leaving or are thinking of leaving your course, then you need to consider how this will affect your finances, both now and in the future.

Your current and future student funding can be affected. You will also need to consider how to meet any ongoing financial commitments and also whether you have entitlement to welfare benefits once you stop studying.

Your Student Loans

When you withdraw, as well as telling the university, you should let Student Finance England know. They will reassess what loans you are still entitled to for the year. 

Maintenance Loan

When a student withdraws Student Finance England will cancel the next instalment of loan.

If you have withdrawn part of the way through a term you may be told that you have been overpaid Maintenance Loan for that term and be asked by Student Finance England to pay back the difference.

If this will cause financial difficulty, then you can ask Student Finance England for a 'confirmation of financial hardship' form.  Once you have submitted it they can then decide whether to postpone recovery of the overpayment, or to extend the period of the loan to cover a period of absence.  Ask a student money adviser if you need help with this.

Tuition Fees

If you withdraw from your course after the two week 'cooling off' period, then you may still be liable for fees for the time you have spent on the course. If you can get the tuiton fee loan then this will cover your fees.

If you are not getting a tuition fee loan then your fees are worked out according to how many weeks you have attended university. 

If you have applied for a tuition fee loan, you will not be liable to pay fees if you withdraw within two weeks of the start of the academic year.

For our fee policy in detail please have a look at our General Regulations.

Future Funding

If you have withdrawn from one course and plan to start a new course, then check how many years entitlement to the tuition fee loan you have left.  You can usually only get the fee loan for the length of a new course, plus one year, take away the number of years you spent on your previous course.

You can continue to get the Maintenance Loan for a new course, unless you already have a qualification at the same or higher level.

Grants for Dependants and Disabled Students' Allowances are not affected by previous study.

Leaving accommodation

If you are leaving your accommodation because you have withdrawn from your course, you need to check if you will still owe money -  do you have pay for the full year of your tenancy agreement or do you still have any outstanding bills, like gas or electricity, wifi or water.

If moving out will leave you with outstanding debts, then you may want to seek advice about your liability and/or how to deal with the debt or negotiate repayment.

If you are leaving university halls then have a look at the information on the Accommodation website about moving out.

Website: Accommodation

Council Tax

When you leave your course you may become liable to pay Council Tax. You may be able to claim a Council Tax Reduction if you are living on a low income, and/or a single person discount if you are the only liable person in the household.

Universal Credit

One you have withdrawn from your course and if you are on a low income you may be able to claim Universal Credit for help with living and housing costs.

You can find a specialist welfare benefits adviser near you at Community Legal Advice

Plus Icon The 'Previous Study' Rules

If you are thinking about withdrawing, transferring or repeating part of your course, then you need to be aware of the previous study rules because they could affect the funding you could get for future study.

If you already have a qualification which is the same or higher than the one you are studying for then you usually cannot get any student loans.  You could still get Grants for Dependants and Disabled Students Allowances though.

There are some exceptions too, for example, pre-registration healthcare courses like Nursing, Dietetics, Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy are not affected by the previous study rules.

If you are studying on a course for a qualification which is equivalent to, or lower than a qualification you already hold then with a few exceptions you cannot get the Tuition Fee Loan or Maintenance Loan for your current course.

In general, if you have studied before on a:

  • part-time course and achieved a Higher Education qualification, or
  • publicly-funded full-time Higher Education course, even where you did not achieve a qualification and even if the study was outside the UK.

then the number of years you spent on the previous course are taken into account to limit the number of years of Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance/Special Support Grant you can get for you current course.

Students are usually entitled to the Tuition Fee Loan for the length of their course, plus one year (in case, for example, they need to repeat a year), less any years of previous study.

An exception is made where students have withdrawn from their most recent course, or are repeating a year because of 'compelling personal reasons' (see section below).

If you are concerned that you may be affected by the previous study rules, speak to a student money adviser.

Plus Icon Compelling Personal Reasons

Sometimes students have to withdraw from a course, or will need to repeat a year because of strong personal reasons. Student Finance England call these 'compelling personal reasons' (CPR). They could include for example; illness, or a personal or family crisis.

Where Student Finance England consider that a student is repeating study, or has failed to complete their most recent previous course because of 'compelling personal reasons' they can award an extra year of Tuition Fee Loan.

This is in addition to the extra year that everybody has as part of their 'standard entitlement' and is awarded in the first year of the new course, or for the year the student is repeating.

It is important, if you are repeating a year, or withdrawing from a course, to let your university and Student Finance England know about any personal reasons for your decision. This could help when you apply for funding in the future.

If you think that you have compelling personal reasons for withdrawing from a previous course, or repeating a year, then speak to a Student Money Adviser to get help and advice.

This page was last modified: 23/06/2021

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