Suspending or withdrawing from study: financial considerations

Understand what happens financially when you suspend or withdraw from your studies.

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If you are thinking about suspending or withdrawing from your studies solely for financial reasons, please contact the Money Advice and Funding Team to discuss possible financial support. We offer emergency and hardship funds for students who are experiencing financial difficulty.

Financial impact of suspending or withdrawing

Eligibility for student funding

If you are a home-fee-paying undergraduate student, studying your first degree, you are eligible for student funding for the duration of your course plus one year. So, for example, if you are studying a three-year BSc, you are entitled to four years of funding.

Suspending or withdrawing from university will use up your 'plus one' year of funding.

When you return to your studies, you will receive full funding for the remainder of your course unless you have any other previous years of study or you need to suspend your studies again. In this situation, you would be eligible for a maintenance loan but not a tuition fee loan.

You are normally only entitled to student funding for your first higher education course.

Notifying the Student Loans Company

Suspending or withdrawing from study may affect your eligibility for funding and student loans. It can take the University up to eight weeks to notify the Student Loans Company of a change in your circumstances. It can then take more time for the Student Loans Company to process the changes. Your funding may be affected during this process.

Exceptional circumstances

If you are suspending/withdrawing due to ill health or exceptional circumstances, you can give evidence of this to your student finance provider. This is called applying with compelling personal reasons to get the tuition fee loan reinstated. Essentially, you can ask the student finance provider to disregard this year as a supplementary year of study.

You would not need to do this at the point of suspension/withdrawal, but it would be wise to keep hold of any medical evidence you have from this year in case it is needed in the future. Contact the Money Advice and Funding team for assistance.

Bursary or scholarship payments

When you suspend or withdraw, you do not need to pay back any University of Bristol Bursary payment you have received. You will not receive any future instalments that have not yet been paid.

If you have been awarded any other bursary, scholarship or fee waiver, you should speak to the Money Advice and Funding team about how this will be affected.

Repaying tuition fees and maintenance loan

You are only entitled to a maintenance loan or grant for living costs for the time you are registered as an attending student. If you suspend or withdraw from your studies, you will probably have to pay some money back.

Your awarding authority will adjust your entitlement based on your last date of attendance. The following table applies to most undergraduate courses at the university. Please note that some students will be subject to a different refund policy. Students studying for a PGCE should refer to their school policy.

Your last date of attendance% of tuition fee liability% of tuition fee refunded
First two weeks of 1st term 0% 100%
Third week of 1st term to before start of 2nd term 25% 75%
On or after start of 2nd term to before start of 3rd term 50% 50%
On or after start of 3rd term 100% 0%

If you have been overpaid, your student finance provider will contact you. If you do not repay, your overpayment will be deducted from the funding you are due to receive in future years. Should this arise, the Money Advice and Funding Team can help you complete an SFE Hardship Fund form for every year of your studies. This overpayment will then be moved from year to year.

How to suspend or withdraw from your studies

You should read our full guidance on suspending or withdrawing from your studies.

Once your suspension or withdrawal is confirmed, the University will inform your student finance provider of your last day of attendance. The student finance provider usually takes around six weeks to process this change of circumstances, after which point they will get in touch with you about any overpayments you have received. This includes any maintenance loan payment you have received that covers beyond your last date of attendance. You may also receive your next maintenance loan instalment during these six weeks, which you will be asked to repay in full.

However, if your suspension is due to ill health or pregnancy, you will be entitled to keep 60 days’ worth of overpayment of maintenance loan following your last day of attendance.

Returning to study

You should apply for student finance as early as possible before you return to study to avoid delays.

When you return after a suspension, the tuition fee loan will usually be calculated on a pro-rata basis. You should get the full maintenance loan as, even if you are studying as a part-time variable student, you will remain on a full-time course code so would be eligible for full-time funding. Therefore, do not apply for part-time student finance funding. If you are registered part-time on your supplementary year, apply for full-time funding as normal.

Think ahead about where you will live on your return. If you are struggling financially on your return to study, you may wish to apply to the Financial Assistance Fund.

Funding enquiries or money worries

Money advice queries:

Call our Student Services:
+44 (0)117 428 3000

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