It is not unusual to have doubts about your course / university at some point. Changing course / University may be the right option for you, but it is important to consider all your options, as well as the academic, practical, immigration and financial implications before making a decision.
Consider and follow the points below, to assist you in deciding whether to change course:
During the first 3 weeks of Semester 1, you may be allowed to switch straight onto a different course (dependant on places and admissions criteria). Beyond this you would normally have to start the new course the following academic year.
Procedure to change course:
Before you decide whether transferring university is the right option for you, you should consider the following points:
If you are not able to do a same year transfer/change, you may want to take Leave of Absence until you start the new course, so you will not have to complete the rest of the year on the current course. If you want to change course and take a leave of absence before you start your new course, you will have to complete this form, instead of the general Change of Programme form.
You do have the option of completing the year you are in if you wish, and this would not normally affect Student Finance further because you would already be registered and attending for this year. If permission to change course is conditional on this year’s exam results, leave of absence will probably not be possible.
General points to note about leave of absence:
It is important to consider the financial implications of changing course before you make your decision:
The following information only applies to Home Undergraduates who are entitled to Student Finance England Funding.
Although the general principles are the same, if you are a student funded from Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales or NHS funded, the situation may different. Please speak to a money adviser at the Student Advice Centre for more information.
The funding you will get towards a new course depends on the course length and how long you spent on your previous course(s).
The following are basic guidelines on Student Finance eligibility. If you are unsure on how the rules relate to your particular situation, please speak to a money adviser at the Student Advice Centre.
Student Finance regulations entitle you to full student funding for the length of your new course, plus one year’s additional funding if necessary (referred to as ‘Plus 1’/gift year funding), minus any years of funding you received for your original course (and any other course you may have done prior to that). This is referred to as previous study.
The formula is as follows:
Length of new course + 1 = ( ) – Previous study = Remaining full funding entitlement
Situations where you may find that you are not entitled to full funding for the whole of your new course, may include when you change course in/after second year, or you have previously done a foundation degree (separate from your degree course).
For any years which you are not entitled to full funding, you will be paid a non means tested maintenance loan only. In these years you will have to pay your own tuition fees.
Funding bodies do not want students to get to the end of their course and then find they have fees to pay and therefore any years which are not eligible for full funding will be at the start of the new course.
Student starts a course in Maths and decides after completing Level 2 that he/she wants to change course. They change to English Literature and start at Level 1. They will be entitled to two years of full funding:
New course length = 3 years + 1 year = 4 - 2 years of previous study = 2 years full funding remaining.
These years will be paid by Student Finance in Level 2 and 3 of the English Literature course. For Level 1, the student will have to pay their own fees and will only be entitled to a maintenance loan.
However, if you do fall in this situation of having to pay one or more years fees yourself, you may still be able to get full funding if you can demonstrate that the reasons for transferring your course, or changing university, are due to compelling personal circumstances such as illness, bereavement or family problems. Please speak to a money adviser at the Student Advice Centre, if you think this applies to you, and we can help you to make representations to Student Finance.
You will need to demonstrate your financial hardship to Student Finance by providing 3 months bank statements, and evidence of continued financial commitments such as rent for the rest of the year (tenancy agreement, which should show that you are liable for the full years rent), and any other significant financial commitments that are relevant.
Please speak to a money adviser at the Student Advice Centre if this applies to you, and we can help you to make representations to Student Finance.
In addition to the the student finance hardship application (if applicable) explained in the previous section; if you experience financial difficulty during leave of absence, you can also make an application to the University Financial Support Fund.
The financial support fund is available for all students; undergraduate full and part time , post gradaute taught and research, and international students.
Any Student Finance received for the period after withdrawal would be classed as an overpayment, as you are not entitled to this. You should not receive any further Student Finance payments after withdrawal.
Student Finance will contact you to make arrangements to pay this back or they may claw it back from your next year’s funding entitlement. If this claw back will cause you financial hardship, you may be able to negotiate deferment of repayment if you can demonstrate the financial hardship this would cause you.
If this situation arises, the advice centre (or equivalent) at the new university should be able to assist you in making representations to Student Finance.
Please note: there may also be overpayments of University bursaries, which you may be required to pay back.
You are likely to still be liable for rent for the remainder of your contract, even if you return home after your leave of absence or upon withdrawal from this university. Please see the ‘Housing’ section below for further details.
Home Postgraduate Students starting their Masterss course on after 1 August 2016, can apply for a Postgraduate Loan (PGL).
If you change course or university whilst receiving a PGL, you can usually continue to receive funding as long as you haven’t received the maximum amount.
You would not normally be funded for any repeat years unless you have compelling personal reasons for not completing the previous course. This can include where you have had to change university. Compelling personal reasons can be things such as illness, bereavement, difficult personal circumstances.
Please speak to a Money Adviser at the Student Advice Centre for further advice if you fall into any of these situations.
Different rules will apply to those on teacher training, NHS funded courses and social work students. Please see a money adviser at the Student Advice Centre if this applies to you.
If you are a Postgraduate Research student, you may be funded for your research. If you are intending to change department or institution, this may affect your grant funding. You should speak to the funding administrator for details on how it affects you. If you are moving institution and wish to apply for a grant transfer, please click here for further information.
If you withdraw or go on leave of absence pending your course/university change, you are usually still liable for your rent for the remainder of the housing contract.
You may wish to stay in Sheffield and work part time to pay your rent or if circumstances mean you are in significant financial hardship, you may be able to request discretionary funding during leave of absence, as explained above.
However if you are in University accommodation, you may not be able to remain in University accommodation beyond withdrawal.
If you are going on leave of absence pending your course change / transfer, please visit the housing section on this webpage for further information.
If you are going on withdrawing pending your course change / transfer, please visit the housing section on this webpage for further information.
If you are an international student then changing course / University will have significant visa implications. You must contact International Student Support for further advice about your situation.
New rules on academic progression have made changing courses difficult and complicated, so it is important that you get advice on your situation and the proceudres from International Student Support before you make any decision.
Last Updated: August 2016