Study

Suspending your studies

This is, obviously, a big decision with a lot of implications, although it should not ultimately affect your long-term prospects. You will graduate with exactly the same degree.

Your first step should always be to talk with your personal tutor, and you should also speak with Student Welfare. Remember that suspension isn’t the only option when problems arise. You may be able to apply for mitigating circumstances or it might be possible to transfer to another course. (In an extreme situation, it is possible to withdraw completely, in which case you may receive a different qualification such as a Diploma (DipHE) or Certificate (CertHE). We will always help you explore other options before making this decision.)

Points to consider before you decide to apply for suspension:

  • The content of our courses sometimes changes from year to year, so the selection of modules available when you return may be different.
  • Fees, bursaries, scholarships, loans, maintenance grants, accommodation costs – you should thoroughly explore how this will affect you financially.
  • You will be learning among a different cohort and will need to make new relationships with your fellow students.
  • If you are an international student, you should check how this will affect your visa/immigration status.

Timescales

Your suspension formally starts on the last date that you ‘engaged with’ the University, which will normally be attendance at a scheduled event or the submission of/attendance at an assessment. A period of suspension cannot be backdated, but it can be requested ahead of your last engagement date. This date is important because it can affect things like loans and fees.

The maximum period of suspension that can be authorised is 12 months from your last engagement date. If you leave partway through Semester 1 (or 2), you will normally return at the start of the next year’s Semester 1 (or 2). If you leave at a late point in a semester, when you have completed the learning but not taken the assessment, you can return at that same point the following year and start by taking the assessment.

Student Records will email you to let you know when your return date is approaching. You should then contact your Personal Tutor and Student Welfare who will help you with a smooth transition back into student life. Just like when you started at Leicester, you will need to ensure you have arranged your tuition fee loan, any other financial matters (such as maintenance loans/grants, scholarships or bursaries), your accommodation and, if relevant, your visa.

If, after 12 months, the reason for your suspension has not been resolved, it is possible to apply for a second suspension or withdraw from the course. Under University Regulations, you can only be a registered student here for a period no more than two years beyond the normal course length (i.e. a three-year degree must take no longer than five years, including any suspension).

Research Postgraduates

Periods of suspension shall normally be at least three months in duration. Research students shall not normally suspend their programme for a period exceeding twelve months over the duration of the research degree programme. Research students returning from a period of suspension shall normally resume their programme as of the first day of the relevant month. The suspension period shall not count towards the specified minimum and maximum registration periods.

Finance

Get more information on what happens with your fees if you suspend your studies and learn more about our refund process.

Accommodation

University accommodation

Send an email to accommodation@le.ac.uk confirming that you have suspended your studies. Include your name, student ID number and full term-time address, and specify the date you will end your tenancy.

The terms and conditions of your accommodation contract (Section 5.2) require you to give four weeks’ notice. The Accommodation Service will charge you for every day you have been in accommodation with the University up until the day you inform them that you are suspending your studies (not necessarily the same as your study ‘last engagement date’) plus this additional four week notice period. In other words, if you suspend your studies at short notice and want to leave immediately, you will still have to pay for an additional four weeks.

Any money you owe the University must be paid in full before your last engagement date.  Any money already paid for the period after the last engagement date will be refunded to you.

Within those four weeks you will need to clear your room and return your keys to the Accommodation Service (it’s worth sending them an email to confirm you have done this).

If you have paid for your accommodation in full you can, if you want, stay in it for the full period you have paid for.

Private accommodation

Check your contract and contact the Students’ Union for advice.

Bear in mind that private landlords and letting agents generally don’t like trying to find new tenants partway through the academic year so it is unlikely you will be released from your contract unless you can find someone else to take it over from you.

Council Tax

If you receive a council tax discount, your local authority will determine whether you can continue to receive this during your suspension.

International students

Please contact our Student Immigration Advice and Compliance team (visas@le.ac.uk or 0116 229 7400) as suspending your studies will affect your right to remain in the UK. 

Tier 4 Visa

The University is legally required to report any change in the registration status of an international student to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) who will then adjust your visa to a new expiry date. UKVI will normally allow a ‘grace period’ of 60 days for you to leave the UK or make another immigration application, but this is not guaranteed.

You – and any dependents here with you – will need to return home and you will then need to apply for a new visa before returning to your studies. If you are genuinely unable to travel due to medical reasons, you must let UKVI know. They will want to see evidence from a doctor.

If you have paid Immigration Health Surcharge, you will continue to be eligible for free NHS hospital treatment until your new visa expiry date.

After your period of suspense, you will need to apply for a new Tier 4 student visa before returning to the UK. To do this you will need to apply for a CAS number. If your course requires ATAS clearance you will need to apply for this before you can continue your studies. If you have any queries about how your immigration permission will be effected then please make an appointment to discuss your situation with our Student Immigration Advice and Compliance team (visas@le.ac.uk or 0116 229 7400).

Other visas

If you are here on another visa type/immigration route, such as Tier 1 General, Tier 2 or a dependent’s visa, the University will not advise the UKVI that your studies are suspended. However we still strongly recommend that you seek advice about how your suspense may affect your immigration status.

Research Postgraduates

If you are suspending for 60 days or less we may be able to continue to sponsor you. You must meet the criteria and will need to be able to complete your studies within your current visa period. Your supervisor will be asked to confirm that they believe this is achievable. You are advised to contact the International Student Advisers in the Student Immigration Advice and Compliance Team by emailing visas@le.ac.uk or by visiting the Student and Library Information Services to discuss your options. 

Distance learning students

Deadline for requests

Please ensure that you note the deadlines for suspense requests that are available on your course admin blackboard site. After these suspension deadlines, you will be far into your studies to be able to request a break.

If you wish to suspend after the deadline given, you will need to follow the mitigating circumstances process instead, where it will be considered whether you would be able to resit the module with an uncapped mark. Please note that requests for mitigating circumstances are not automatically accepted and so you should provide as much documentary evidence as possible to evidence your request.

You will potentially have the option of suspending your studies from the start of the following teaching session and you should submit a request for this once you have decided it is what you would like to do, ensuring that you still submit the request with the suspense request deadline.

Requesting a period of suspense

If you wish to apply for a period of study suspense, you should provide a written request to your Distance Learning Team with details of your student number, reason for request, and duration of suspense required, via email.

Suspensions are not automatically guaranteed and your request will be reviewed by the programme team, you will be notified by email to your University email address of the decision along with details of your expected return date and a breakdown of any amended future fees instalment deadlines.

If a suspense is not possible, you will be notified of the reasons for this as well as any other options that may be possible.

If you are being funded by Student Finance we will inform them of your suspense to delay future payments in line with your new cohort. More detailed information about the impact of suspending on your fees can be found within the finance web pages.

If you have been diagnosed with a long-term condition or disability, please contact the AccessAbility Centre about support and services available to you at the University.

While your studies are suspended, you will still be able to contact University staff and you will still have access to:

If you are working for the University through Unitemps (and are able to continue that work), this will be unaffected.

Health-related suspension

If you have been diagnosed with a long-term condition or disability, please contact the AccessAbility Centre about support and services available to you at the University.

Applying for suspension

Once you have discussed your situation with your personal tutor, Student Support Services and everyone else who can advise you, and after you have considered other options, if you definitely want to suspend your studies you need to complete this form (Word doc, 35.1KB).

You should email the form from your University of Leicester email address; there is no need for a signature when your form is sent from this email account. You must attach any supporting documents such as a doctor’s letter. Please send the form to your department's email address.

Once your request has been processed we will confirm this by email (to your university email address).

We will notify as soon as possible the Student Loans Company, UK Visas and Immigration (if applicable) and any other relevant organisations.

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