IMPLICATIONS OF CHANGING YOUR STUDIES 2015/16

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1 IMPLICATIONS OF CHANGING YOUR STUDIES 2015/16

2 Implications of Changing Your Studies Changing your studies can have a major impact on you either now or in the future. This guide is not meant to replace personal advice that is given in response to your unique circumstances. It is very important to know that if you are in receipt of loans/grants from Student Finance (England, Wales, NI or Scotland) there is a limit on the number of years funding you can receive. As a general rule, you will be allowed the ordinary duration of the course plus one additional year which allows for problems during your course or change of course. After that you will have to find the money for your own fees. Please seek advice as soon as you start to think about making changes to your studies. This information relates to UK undergraduate students. If you are an International or EU student, please contact us for further help. Contents PAGE Leave of Absence (Suspension of Study) 3 Transferring to a New Course 5 Permanent Withdrawal 7 Resits and Repeat Study 8 Further Help 10

3 Leave of Absence LOA (Suspension of Study) This is when you take time out of your course. It allows you to return at the start of the next academic year or the second semester in the next academic year if you have successfully completed semester one. It must be agreed by your Department (personal tutor or another academic) and approved by Academic Registry. Complete the relevant form: RG1011A (i). Tuition fees Loughborough University does not charge tuition fees if a student takes Leave of Absence from their course during the first four weeks of the academic year. If you withdraw after the end of the fourth week of your programme, you will be charged tuition fees on a termly basis: Withdrawal Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Cumulative Tuition Fee Liability Entry Pre-2012 Entry Any year you start will count as one year s previous study, even if you withdraw very early on. Please seek advice from us regarding the implications of this. Maintenance loan/grants Student loans and grants are not normally payable during suspension of studies, unless the leave of absence is for illness; you will then be allowed funding for the first 60 days of the illness (providing you indicate on your leave of absence form that the reason for LOA is illness). If you are suspending your studies due to significant health or personal difficulties and are likely to be in hardship if the instalments are stopped you can ask for future instalments to continue to be paid by SFE but this would be on a discretionary basis. Similarly if you are suspending your studies due to significant health or personal difficulties (Compelling Personal Reasons) you can ask SFE to disregard the year when calculating how many future years of funding you are eligible for (although all loans still have to be repaid). You normally will not get any further instalments of your current year loan/grant after the date you suspend your studies. But if you withdraw shortly before the next scheduled payment then there is the possibility that an SFE admin delay may mean that you receive the payment. This can result in an overpayment that you may have to pay back. Any overpaid portion of grant and loan are normally recovered. The amount you repay is calculated from the date that you stop studying.

4 The Hardship Fund / Welfare Benefits If you are in financial hardship whist on LOA you are still entitled to apply for help from the Hardship Fund. Forms are available on our website. However, you are not normally able to claim welfare benefits during this period unless you have an underlying entitlement due to disability or being a lone parent. During a leave of absence standard student loan repayment terms do not apply unless you decide to leave permanently. Other matters Check with the LU Finance Office (via Student Enquiries in the Rutland Building) to see if you have any credit (or debit) on your university account. If you owe money, this will need to be paid. If you are in credit you need to request a refund without delay. Accommodation a) University Halls Complete the accommodation withdrawal form at the Student Accommodation Centre (ii). Hand back your keys when you vacate your room. You will be charged up to the official withdrawal/leave of absence date, plus a release fee (equivalent to 4 weeks rent/fees). This fee may be waived if you leave for medical reasons. If you have already paid your hall fees you can ask for a refund of any overpayment. You will only receive a refund if your university account is in credit. The balance of your room bond deposit should be refunded within 30 days. b) Private Halls If you are living in private halls and have signed a contract you will be liable to pay rent to the end of the tenancy. Try to find a replacement tenant The hall provider (landlord) needs to agree to the transfer in order for them to release you from your contract. c) Private rented accommodation If you are living in private rented accommodation and have signed a contract you will be liable to pay rent to the end of the tenancy. Check to see if there is an early release clause in the contract. Try to find a replacement tenant. The landlord needs to agree to the transfer in order for you to be released from your contract. You are still entitled to a council tax certificate during a period of absence, as long as you plan to return to your course.

5 Transferring to a new course Check if there is a place available for you on the new course by contacting the admissions tutor. Check you meet the entry criteria for the new course (look at the online prospectus). Check if you can carry forward credit for any passed modules. If you have missed too much of the new course you may be need to start at the beginning of the next academic year. Tuition fees When you transfer to a new course, you should still receive a tuition fee loan, as long as this is the first transfer you have made and you have not had any periods of repeat study. If your situation is more complicated please speak to an adviser so we can fully assess your case. Maintenance loan/grants You will receive repeat funding if this is your first transfer to a new course, BUT if you have previously transferred course, or had to repeat a year of study, then this will affect your future funding. This applies even if you only completed a few weeks of a previous course or academic year. The Maintenance Loan is not normally affected. You won t get any further instalments of your current year loan/grant if you have to leave and begin your new course in the next academic year. But if you withdraw shortly before the next scheduled payment then there is the possibility that an SFE admin delay may mean that you receive the payment. Notify SFE of your change of circumstance. Complete a Change of Circumstances form, you will find this on your online account. Any year you start will count as one year s previous study, even if you withdraw very early on. Please seek advice from us regarding the implications of this. Remember to keep a copy of everything you send and preferably send it by recorded delivery so that you have proof of posting. You can check your online account for any updates. If you are from Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland then you will need to contact the relevant funding body for your country. You will not be required to immediately pay back any student loan that you have been paid, at this stage, unless an overpayment has been made.

6 Accommodation a) University Halls Complete the accommodation withdrawal form at the Student Accommodation Centre (ii). Hand back your keys when you vacate your room. You will be charged up to the official withdrawal/leave of absence date, plus a release fee (equivalent to 4 weeks rent/fees). This fee may be waived if you leave for medical reasons. If you have already paid your hall fees you can ask for a refund of any overpayment. You will only receive a refund if your university account is in credit. The balance of your room bond deposit will be refunded within 30 days. b) Private Halls If you are living in private halls and have signed a contract you will be liable to pay rent to the end of the tenancy. Try to find a replacement tenant The hall provider (landlord) needs to agree to the transfer in order for them to release you from your contract. c) Private rented accommodation If you are living in private rented accommodation and have signed a contract you will be liable to pay rent to the end of the tenancy. Check to see if there is an early release clause in the contract. Try to find a replacement tenant. The landlord needs to agree to the transfer in order for you to be released from your contract. If you become a non-student and stay in the property you will become liable for council tax. Permanent Withdrawal You will need to discuss this with your department first. You can always opt for a leave of absence to give you time to consider your options. Complete the relevant form (i).

7 Tuition fees Loughborough University does not charge tuition fees if a student effectively withdraws from their course during the first four weeks of the academic year. If you withdraw after the end of the fourth week of your programme, you will be charged tuition fees on a termly basis: Withdrawal Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Cumulative Tuition Fee Liability Entry Pre-2012 Entry Any year you start will count as one year s previous study, even if you withdraw very early on. Please seek advice from us regarding the implications of this. If you have borrowed a tuition fee loan to cover the fees it is important to check your student loan statement, to confirm that the correct figure has been charged; otherwise you may end up repaying too much student loan. It may be several months before you get your student loan statement but you do need to check it. Maintenance loan/grants You normally won t get any further instalments of your current year loan/grant after the date you stop studying. But if you withdraw shortly before the next scheduled payment then there is the possibility that an SFE admin delay may mean that you receive the payment. This could result in an overpayment, which you may have to pay back. If you go on to start a new course after a year or two you may be affected by changes to the student finance system for example the withdrawal of maintenance grants for students starting new courses after Also the previous study rules may limit the number of years of entitlement to student finance for any new programme. If you have previously transferred course, or had to repeat a year of study, then this will affect your future funding. This applies even if you only completed a few weeks of a previous course or academic year. The Maintenance Loan is not normally affected. Welfare Benefits When you permanently withdraw from a course you will no longer be a student and therefore will be able to claim any benefits, subject to eligibility.

8 Other matters Check with the LU Finance Office (via Student Enquiries in the Rutland Building) to see if you have any credit (or debit) on your university account. Any money owed to the university will become a debt and will need to be repaid. If you are in credit you need to request a refund without delay. Accommodation a) University Halls Complete the accommodation withdrawal form at the Student Accommodation Centre (ii). Hand back your keys when you vacate your room. You will be charged up to the official withdrawal/leave of absence date, plus a release fee (equivalent to 4 weeks rent/fees). If you have already paid your hall fees you can ask for a refund of any overpayment. You will only receive a refund if your university account is in credit. The balance of your room bond deposit should be refunded within 30 days. b) Private Halls If you are living in private halls and have signed a contract you will probably be liable to pay rent to the end of the tenancy. Try to find a replacement tenant The hall provider (landlord) needs to agree to the transfer in order for them to release you from your contract. c) Private rented accommodation If you are living in private rented accommodation and have signed a contract you will be liable to pay rent to the end of the tenancy. Check to see if there is an early release clause in the contract. Try to find a replacement tenant. The landlord needs to agree to the transfer in order for you to be released from your contract. If you stay in the accommodation after you have withdrawn you will become liable for council tax, as you are no longer entitled to a student status for council tax. If you are the only non-student in the household, you will be solely responsible for this charge, less a 25% single person discount. Re-sits and repeat study Occasionally people need to re-sit an assessment or repeat part of their studies. The financial implication will depend on which group you fall into: Reassessment without tuition This could be in the Special Assessment Period (SAP) during the summer or in the academic year.

9 Fees You will pay for every ten credits that are reassessed, this currently stands at 50 for every 10 credits but you should check this on the LU website (iii). Maintenance loan/grants You will not be eligible for a student loan or grant or for tuition fees as you are not attending your course. You will still be entitled to apply for an award from The Hardship Fund, if you are in financial hardship. You must notify your student funding body of your change of circumstances. You can do this via your online account, and complete a change of circumstances form. Reassessment with tuition Fees If you have made a successful impaired performance claim (iv), you are not normally charged tuition fees for these modules, and the assessment will be treated as if it is your first attempt. If your reassessment is classed as a second attempt (i.e. you had no mitigating circumstances and/or an impaired performance claim was not successful), then the re-assessment fee is a proportion of the full tuition fee (iii). Maintenance loan/grants As you will be attending lectures you can still apply for the relevant loans and grants. Maintenance Grants and Tuition Fee Loans will normally be paid only for one period of repeat study. In some cases the limit on repeat funding will not apply if you can provide evidence of medical or personal difficulties having affected your studies. If this applies to you, come and see an adviser. The amount of funding you receive may be adjusted if you only attend for one semester. The Loughborough Scholarship Programme can be paid for repeat study with tuition. It is paid in proportion to the number of modules being studied and subject to the normal income assessment. The scholarship may be reinstated for the next academic year after successful completion of the repeat study, (subject to the other eligibility criteria being met). You are still entitled to apply for financial help if you are in financial hardship from The Hardship Fund. When you apply for your funding for repeat study you still need to apply for full-time funding (don t use the part-time application). You must notify your student funding body of your change of circumstance. Complete a Change of Circumstances form to notify them of your repeat study (v).

10 Remember to keep a copy of everything you send and preferably send it by recorded delivery so that you have proof of posting. You can check your online account for any updates. Any repeat study will have an impact on your eligibility for future funding. It is important that you seek advice if you have having to repeat any part of your course. Further Help To book a face to face or telephone appointment: Phone / Call into the Bridgeman Building on campus Useful websites: i) Leave of Absence form: ii) iii) iv) Hall release form: Reassessment fees: Impaired Performance: v) Change of Circumstances form (England):

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