A student may take a break from their studies if they are having personal or health issues, or they may wish to travel. Whatever your reason is, if you are thinking about interrupting/suspending then you need to give consideration to your student finance, housing contract and academic progression.
If you are suspending or interrupting your studies it is important to consider your funding options as Student Finance England will not release any maintenance loan payments whilst you are taking a break from your course.
However, if you are interrupting your studies for health reasons (or to care for another if they are unwell), you may be eligible to receive a further 60 days of funding from Student Finance England under Discretionary Payments, in some cases you may be eligible to receive funding for the duration of your break.
To apply for Discretionary Funding you will need to write to Student Finance England to outline the reasons for interrupting your studies and explain how your studies have been affected by your circumstances. Any points raised should ideally be supported with independent evidence, such as a letter from your GP or Health Care Professional.
It is also recommended to explain why you would be unable to support yourself financially during the time your studies are interrupted, for example if you were unable to work due to focussing on your health or if you have lived independently for a length of time (or you are estranged) and did not have a family home to return to.
All correspondence should be sent to:
The Discretionary Payments Team
Student Finance England
PO Box 210
Darlington DL1 9HJ
Compelling Personal Reasons
Students are eligible to receive tuition fee funding from Student Finance England for the duration of their course plus an additional gift year, the additional year of funding is in place in case any study needs to be repeated or if you changed course in your first year to ensure you could receive funding for the duration of your new course.
Interrupting your studies will count towards one year of your eligibility for funding and it will affect your overall entitlement, but there is the option to request the academic year (that your studies are interrupted) is not included in your entitlement by applying for your Compelling Personal Reasons to be taken into consideration, students can apply for Compelling Personal Reasons if their studies have been affected by circumstances beyond their control.
Applying for CPR is very similar to requesting Discretionary Payments in that you would need to write to Student Finance England and explain how your studies were affected by circumstances beyond your control, any points raised should be supported with evidence.
If you apply for Discretionary Payments, we would strongly recommend including a request for the academic year to also be considered under Compelling Personal Reasons.
If you are interrupting your studies for health or caring reasons, but Student Finance have declined the request for Discretionary Payments, you may be eligible to receive Universal Credit whilst you are taking a break.
Full time students are not generally seen as eligible to receive welfare benefits, but interrupting your studies for health or caring reasons is one of the exceptions to this general rule. You would need to evidence that you are not eligible to receive Discretionary Payments: You can apply for Universal Credit via the .gov website.
BU offers a 14 day cooling off period from the date you accepted your offer, you may also withdraw with no tuition fee liability after this 14 day period has ended, but before you’re the official start date of your programme.
Hence, where possible, we advise that if you are thinking of withdrawing from BU you do so before you are liable to pay the next fee instalment. It’s important to know that even though you may not use a full years funding from Student Finance, Student Finance will consider you to have used a year’s funding entitlement. This rule is applied from the moment you enrol.
Further information about the BU Fees Policy can be found in the Finance section on the BU website.
If you have signed a housing contract then you are legally bound to the conditions within it. This may mean that you will be required to pay your rent, despite not actively studying at BU or living in the house. We advise you look for a breakclause and/or ask your landlord if you can find someone to take over your contract (fees may apply). Contact us for advice if necessary - we're here to help!
How do I request to interrupt/suspend?
We advise you discuss your situation with your Academic Adviser before submitting the BU Interruption of Studies Form. This form can be found at the end of the BU Fees Policy.