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.
(i) Student Finance Funding Entitlement-Tuition Fees
If you take leave of absence after you have registered (even if you have only attended a few days), then you will usually be considered to have used a full year of funding entitlement by Student Finance, and although you are entitled to an extra year of funding from Student Finance (+1/gift year), in some situations this may have been used up meaning you are left without full funding, namely tution fee loan. You will still continue to get a maintence loan.
If you do fall into this situation of having to pay one or more years fees yourself, you may still be able to get full tuition fee 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.
Student Finance funding entitlement is calculated based on the following formula:
Length of course + 1 = ( ) – Previous study = Remaining full funding entitlement
So if you go on leave of absence after attending, that year will be classed as previous study. However if your leave of absence starts from the beginning of the year it won’t.
Student currently in Level 1 of a Maths degree, takes a leave of absence (LOA) a few months into his first semester completing. They return to University the following September to start Level 1 again. Their funding entitlement is calculated as follows:
Course length = 3 years + 1 year = 4 - 1 year of previous study (LOA year) = 3 years full funding remaining.
So this student would be covered for the rest of their course.
Student currently in Level 2 of a 4 year Law degree. They complete second year and then take a leave of absence (LOA) for the whole of the next academic year (September- September). They return the following September after their LOA to start 3rd year. Their funding entitlement is calculated as follows:
Course length = 4 years + 1 year = 5 – 2 years of previous study = 3 years full funding remaining.
This student’s leave of absence year doesn’t count as previous study as they didn’t register to attend; it was a full year leave of absence. So this student would be covered with full funding for the rest of their course and still have their +1 year intact.
Student starts a course in Geography, fails first year and then has to repeat first year.
They start second year, and take a leave of absence in December of that year, and return to university the following September to restart their second year. Their funding entitlement is calculated as follows:
Course length = 3 years + 1 year = 4 - 3 years of previous study =1 year full funding remaining.
This student has 3 years previous study because; 1) Level one, 2) Level one repeat, 3) started second year then went on LOA.
The student requires two more years of funding (2nd and third year) in order to compelte his degree. As he is only entitled to 1 year, Student finance will pay this in his final year, for Level 2 repeat year the student will have to pay their own fees and will only be entitled to a maintenance loan.
Student funding rules can get very confusing and complex. If you are unsure about your situation, please come and speak to a money adviser at the Student Advice Centre.
(ii) Student Finance-Overpayments
- Once your leave of absence has been processed, the University will inform Student Finance of your leave of absence and the start date.
- You should not normally receive any further Student Finance or University Bursary payments for the remainder of the leave of absence.
- If you take leave of absence before then end of the year, Student Finance will generate an overpayment for the period for any days they have paid for beyond the leave of absence start date. If you took leave of absence on medical grounds, you will be entitled to receive student finance for 60 days after your leave of absence start date.
- Student Finance will usually request you to repay any overpayment, and may deduct it from your next years funding if you do not.
- Student Finance will contact you to make arrangements to pay any overpayment back or they may claw it back from the next years funding entitlement.
- If you find yourself in financial hardship due to not receiving student finance during leave of absence or because of the overpayments incurred due to leave of absence, you can make a discretionary funding request to Student Finance to allow continued funding during leave of absence due to the financial hardship caused. In this situation, 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 for discretionary funding.