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Interrupting or withdrawing from your studies

This is for students who are considering taking a formal break or withdrawing from their studies. It gives information on how to apply, how this affects funding and how to resume your studies.

Before making the decision to interrupt or withdraw from your studies, it is important to consider your options. In the first instance, you should consult someone from your department whom you feel comfortable enough to discuss this. They can offer you advice on the process, dates of your interruption as well as the specific academic consequences of interrupting e.g. module availability. This could be a personal tutor, departmental tutor or administrator. If you are a research student, this could be your supervisor. 

Information on this page gives general guidance; it is important to discuss your situation with your department and other relevant services to ensure you have the correct information for your specific circumstances. 

Guidance includes:


Applying for a withdrawal from your programme of study

Please read the regulations on withdrawal from your programme before making an application. 

Once you have discussed this with your department and made the decision to withdraw, you will need to formally apply for a withdrawal of study. Once withdrawn, you cannot return to the programme of study. Depending on when you withdraw, you may still be liable to pay a portion of your tuition fees. 

Find out more about your fee liability in the fees section.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students 

You must login to your Portico account and complete the online application under the 'C2RS Home' menu.

Postgraduate research students

Your supervisor must email the UCL Research Degrees team confirming the effective date and reason for withdrawal.


Applying for an interruption of study

Please read the regulations on Interruption of Study before making an application.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students

Once you have discussed this with your department and made the decision to interrupt, you will need to submit an interruption form to your department. Your department will advise you if there is any supporting documentation you need to submit.

 

Postgraduate research students

You will need to apply for an interruption to your studies by submitting the form to your supervisor.   You may apply for an interruption of up to one year in the first instance and for a maximum of two years in total.

 

If you are an international student with a Tier 4 visa, you are obliged to leave the UK for the duration of your interruption. The law means that UCL must inform the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) of any changes to your student status. Once your interruption has been processed, you will receive an email to confirm that sponsorship has been withdrawn and you should leave the UK within 60 days of UCL’s report to UKVI. 

For queries regarding your tier 4 visa, please contact the UCL Visa Compliance team.


Access to Portico and UCL email during interruption

Students taking an interruption of their study (except for students interrupting for maternity leave) are not be registered as a student at UCL during the period of your interruption. Your UCL ID card will no longer work and you will lose access to all UCL facilities. However, you will still have access to your Portico account and it is extremely important that you keep all your address and personal details updated as UCL will need to contact you before your return. You will also have access to your UCL email. You must maintain access to your UCL email account, read and act promptly upon all messages sent to you.

If you are interrupting for a period of maternity leave, you will retain appropriate access to UCL facilities. You must ensure you have undertaken an appropriate risk assessment in your department to cover the access you need during your maternity leave. You will find further information on the UCL Support for pregnant students web page.

For queries regarding access to your Portico and UCL email accounts, please contact UCL Information Service Desk.


Fee liability for interrupting and withdrawing students

Depending on the fees that have been paid and the date you interrupt or withdraw, you/your sponsor may be eligible for a fee refund. Please note that students interrupting and returning in a different academic year will still be liable for the inflationary fee increases of up to 5% annually. 

For queries regarding paying your tuition fees, please contact the UCL Student Fees team.

Non-Affiliate students (academic year programme) - includes the majority of undergraduate programmes

If you are registered as full-time or part-time and you interrupt or withdraw:

  • within 2 weeks of term 1, you will not incur any fees
  • after the first 2 weeks but within term 1, you will be charged 25% of the full fee
  • in term 2 you will be charged 50% of the full fee
  • in term 3 you will be charged 100% of the full fee

Postgraduate Taught or Research students (calendar year programme) enrolled as full-time or part-time

Fees are charged on a daily basis for the period enrolled in each academic year. If you interrupt or withdraw within 2 weeks of term 1, you will not incur any fees.

Postgraduate students enrolled on a modular/flexible basis

Fees are charged for the modules registered on your Portico account. If you interrupt or withdraw within 2 weeks of term 1, you will not incur any fees.

Undergraduate Affiliate students (academic year programme)

If you interrupt or withdraw:

  • within the first two weeks, you will not incur any fees
  • after the first two weeks but in term 1, you will be charged 45% of the full fee
  • in term 2, you will be charged 90% of the full fee
  • in term 3, you will be charged 100% of the full fee

Postgraduate Affiliate students (academic year programme)

If you interrupt or withdraw:

  • within the first two weeks, you will not incur any fees
  • after the first two weeks but in term 1, you will be charged 45% of the full fee
  • in term 2, you will be charged 90% of the full fee
  • in term 3, you will be charged 100% of the full fee

Postgraduate Affiliate students (calendar year programme)

Fees are charged on a daily basis for the period enrolled in each academic year. If you interrupt or withdraw within 2 weeks of term 1, you will not incur any fees.


Funding information for interrupting and withdrawing students

Student Finance funding (Undergraduate)

The information in this section relates to Student Finance England regulations and procedures around interruption of studies. If you use one of the other funding bodies (Student Finance Northern Ireland, Student Finance Wales, Student Awards Agency Scotland) we would advise you contact them directly to find out how interruption is treated.

When you interrupt or withdraw, your Faculty sends a ‘change of circumstance notification’ (CoC) to Student Finance to let them know you have interrupted or withdrawn, and your last date of attendance. Student Finance use this date to calculate how much funding you should receive. 

Tuition Fee Loan

The correct amount of tuition fee loan will automatically be paid to UCL on your behalf, in line with your last date of attendance (see fee liability above).

Maintenance Loan

Student Finance will calculate pro rata how much maintenance loan you should receive in line with your last date of attendance. This means that if your last date of attendance is half way through a term, Student Finance will have overpaid you 50% of your maintenance instalment for that term. When there is an overpayment, Student Finance will ask you to repay that money or have it deducted from your funding when you return to study.

If repaying this overpayment or having it deducted from your funding when you return to study would put you in financial hardship, you can apply to Student Finance to be able to keep the overpayment via their hardship process

An extra 60 days for health reasons

If you interrupt for health reasons, Student Finance will add 60 days of maintenance funding from your last date of attendance – usually meaning any overpayment is reduced or eliminated.

Maintenance funding for longer than 60 days

You may be able to get funding for more than 60 days if you can prove that you will be in financial hardship during your interruption if you don't continue to receive a maintenance loan. You'll be asked to provide evidence that you cannot support yourself by any other means along with proof of your financial obligations - such as bank statements, tenancy agreement and other financial commitments. 

To apply for discretionary maintenance payments on the basis of hardship, call Student Finance and they will send you a form to complete.

Funding when you return to study

You must apply for funding from Student Finance for each academic year that you need it. Apply for your funding before you return to study so that the money can be approved and released to you when you return.

Your overall funding entitlement

You are entitled to tuition fee funding for the duration of your course plus one ‘gift year’. Interrupting or withdrawing from your studies will use up one of these years. However, if you interrupt or withdraw for ‘compelling personal reasons’ (for example mental or physical health, personal or family crisis) and provide evidence of this to Student Finance, they may grant you that year of tuition fee funding again. 

Find out more about how interrupting affects your entitlement to Student Finance funding and how to submit evidence of 'compelling personal reasons' for interruption to Student Finance.

For queries regarding interruption and undergraduate Student Finance, log in to askUCL, select Log an Enquiry and choose Undergraduate Loans from the categories.

Student Finance funding (Postgraduate Master's Loan and Postgraduate Doctoral Loan)

If you are receiving a Postgraduate Master’s Loan or Postgraduate Doctoral Loan from Student Finance and take an interruption of study, your funding will be paused when you interrupt and start again when you return to study.

If you receive a payment while you are not in attendance do not pay this back to Student Finance - keep it safe for when you return to study. (If you repay an overpayment of Postgraduate Loan it cannot be released to you again).

You cannot receive Postgraduate Master’s Loan or Postgraduate Doctoral Loan funding for any repeat periods of study.

You can usually only get a Postgraduate Master's or Doctoral Loan once. However, if you withdraw from your course for 'compelling personal reasons' and provide evidence of this to Student Finance, they may permit you to apply again, provided you are starting a new course.

For queries regarding interruption and postgraduate Student Finance, log in to askUCL, select Log an Enquiry and choose Postgraduate Loans from the categories.

UCL Undergraduate Bursary

When you interrupt, your UCL Bursary stops. If you interrupt part way through the term, it may be considered that you have received an overpayment and the Student Funding team may give you the option to pay the money back or have the amount deducted from your next instalment when you return. When you return, your UCL bursary payments start again.

Find out more about the UCL Undergraduate Bursary.

For queries regarding interruption and the UCL Undergraduate Bursary, log in to askUCL, select Log an Enquiry and choose Undergraduate Bursary from the categories.

PGCE Training Bursary/ Scholarship

When you interrupt, your PGCE Training Bursary/ Scholarship payments will stop. If you are in attendance on the 1st of the month in which the bursary is paid, you will still be entitled to this payment. You will be required to repay any money you have been overpaid. When you return, you will not receive PGCE Training Bursary/ Scholarship payments for months that you have already been paid for in the previous academic year.

Read more about PGCE Training Bursaries on the UCL funding pages

For queries about how your interruption will affect your PGCE Training Bursary/ Scholarship, log in to askUCL, select Log an Enquiry and choose ITT Funding (initial teacher training) from the categories.

U.S. Federal Loans

If you receive U.S. Federal Loans and you interrupt or withdraw from studies, you must inform the UCL Student Funding Office immediately. Your loan eligibility will change and your Cost of Attendance will be recalculated based on your new student status.

If you interrupt for more than 180 days you will be reported as withdrawn for U.S. Federal Loans purposes. The conditions of your loans for when you are no longer studying will then come into play. If you subsequently return to education your loan can be reinstated at that point. 

If you withdraw from your programme you must complete exit counseling and any unearned funding must be returned to the U.S Department of Education according to their guidelines.

For queries regarding interruption or withdrawal and U.S. Federal Loans, log into askUCL, select Log an Enquiry and choose US Loans from the categories.

PhD Funding - Stipends

If you interrupt as a PhD student, you must let your funding provider know. Your funding will then be paused, resuming when you return.

If you are interrupting for pregnancy or maternity/paternity/adoption leave, speak to your funding provider about financial provision that may be available to you.

UCL Financial Assistance Fund

Students who are interrupted or withdrawn are not eligible to apply for the UCL Financial Assistance Fund.

If you are awarded funds from the Financial Assistance Fund and subsequently withdraw from studies, you will not be asked to repay any of the money you were awarded.


Expiry of your 18+ Student Oyster photocard

Once you interrupt or withdraw from your studies, we are required to report this to TfL and you will no longer be eligible for the 18+ Oyster photocard.


Accommodation and council tax

UCL Accommodation 

If you are in UCL Halls, taking an interruption will mean you will be required to leave your room, as you are no longer enrolled as a student at UCL. 

Find out more on the UCL Accommodation web page.

For queries regarding UCL Accommodation, please contact the UCL Accommodation office

Private Student Accommodation

The implications of your interruption will depend on your accommodation provider. You will need to review your agreement and discuss your circumstances with an appropriate staff member at your accommodation. You may be required to leave the accommodation because you are no longer a registered student. It is likely you will be liable for some fees and in some cases, you may be required to find a replacement tenant. 

The University of London Housing Services and UCLU Rights and Advice Centre can offer you further guidance and advice on this.

Private Accommodation 

If you live in private accommodation, it is unlikely there will be an obligation for you to leave following a change to your student status. However, you may choose to leave and return home, in which case, you must consider the terms of your tenancy agreement and what this means for you. This can be complex and confusing, so we strongly recommend you seek advice from UCLU Rights and Advice. If you decide to stay in your private accommodation, it is important to note that as you are no longer a full time student, you may be required to pay Council Tax. 

The UCLU Rights and Advice and the University of London Housing Services  can offer you further guidance and advice on this.

Council Tax

Find information on how an interruption or withdrawal will affect your eligibility for council tax on our UCL council tax web page.


Staying in touch during your interruption

During your interruption, you may find it helpful to stay in contact with an appropriate person in your department such as your Personal Tutor. This is not compulsory but it can offer a good point of contact upon your return. It is your responsibility to initiate and maintain this contact.


Extending your interruption of study

If you wish to extend your interruption, you should contact your department in the first instance, as they will need to approve this extension. 


Before you return to your studies

If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student, you must contact your department at least one month before your expected date of return to confirm that you intend to re-enrol. Your department will then notify your faculty of your intention to return. If you are a research student, you must email the Research Degrees team to confirm your return. Your return to study maybe subject to a return to study checks. 

If you do not intend to resume your studies following your interruption, you must contact your department/supervisor to discuss your options.

International Students

If you are an international student returning to study, you will need to apply to apply for a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) number from the UCL Visa Compliance team before you apply for a new Tier 4 visa before you return to UCL. If your return was subject to a Student Support and Wellbeing check (see below), you will need to satisfy their requirements listed above before they can refer you to the Visa Compliance team for a CAS number.

For queries regarding visa advice or CAS, log into askUCL, select Log an Enquiry and choose Visa Advice or CAS from the category

Student Finance information for returning undergraduate and postgraduate students

Students who wish to receive funding when they return must apply for financial support from their funding provider for the upcoming academic year in good time before returning.

When you apply, your funding provider will run an assessment and calculate what you are entitled to. You will not receive any of your funding prior to arriving back at university, so it is a good idea to arrive with a little money of your own to support you before your loan/grant money comes through.


Return to Study Checks

Occupational health and wellbeing (OHS) check

If your course has a fitness to practice or fitness to teach element, for example a MBBS or PGCE, your return to study will be handled by your department and Occupational Health and Wellbeing. This may also be the case for some research students.

Find out more on our Occupational Health page

For queries regarding the OHS check, please contact the Occupational Health team

Student support and wellbeing (SSW) check

If you are returning from a period of interruption that was for health and wellbeing reasons, you may be required to provide medical evidence and a supporting statement to indicate that you are well enough to live and work in a university environment. If this is the case, Student Support and Wellbeing will email you approximately 3 months prior to your return to request this documentation. You will need to provide assurance that your studies will not be detrimental to your health or your health to your studies, and may be required to have an appointment with the Student Support and Wellbeing team before you will be allowed to re-enrol. 

Your medical evidence should meet the requirements outlined in the UCL Medical Evidence Guidance. It is important that you read the guidance carefully to ensure your medical evidence fulfils the requirements. This needs to be completed by a qualified medical practitioner and should be printed on headed paper or stamped by the health practice or service.

This needs to be printed on headed paper or stamped by the health practice or service. If it is only possible to provide the evidence in an email form, your medical practitioner must send it directly to Student Support and Wellbeing and include their registration number and full name in the email. 

You will also need to write a brief personal statement outlining the following: 

  • confirmation that you feel fit to return to your studies 
  • any support you have had during the time of interruption 
  • any arrangements for on-going support 
  • any further support you feel would be beneficial for you as you continue your studies at UCL
  • if any specific support is recommended in your medical evidence and is not currently in place, explain how you will go about following the relevant recommendations

It is important you address all the points outlined here to fulfil the requirements.

For queries regarding the SSW check, please contact the Student Support and Wellbeing team.


Re-enrolling to resume your studies

In order to resume your studies you will need to re-enrol on your programme. Before you can re-enrol, you must have paid the appropriate fees, or provided evidence of sponsorship to the UCL Student Fees team. You must re-enrol within 2 weeks of your date of return or your student record will be closed.

If you do not intend to resume your studies following your interruption, you must contact your department/supervisor to discuss your options.

If you have a query relating to re-enrolling, you may log an enquiry via askUCL.

askUCL