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Withdrawing from Sussex

Find out about temporarily or permanently withdrawing from your course, what support you can receive and who you need to contact.

Taking a break from your studies

Taking a formal break from your course is called temporary withdrawal. You might also hear it referred to as ‘intermission’.

Students decide to take temporary withdrawal for a range of reasons. These can include health, family, academic, and financial concerns.

If you are thinking of taking a break from your course, book an appointment at the Student Life Centre as soon as possible. This allows you to talk through and consider the implications of taking intermission.

During your appointment, a Student Life Advisor will help you consider your options. They will talk through the process of temporary withdrawal and look at the support available on campus, and in the local area, that could help you remain on your course. They will also explain the impact of temporary withdrawal on your funding, housing, personal life and your visa (if you have one).

There are cut-off dates during the academic year for taking temporary withdrawal, so book a meeting as soon as you think you may wish to leave.

The Careers and Employability Centre has helpful information for students considering leaving university.

Leaving university permanently

If you are thinking of leaving permanently, or have been withdrawn by the University for any reason (for example on financial or academic grounds), book an appointment at the Student Life Centre to discuss the issues you need to consider. We will advise you on your options and also aim to understand your reasons for leaving.

The process of leaving is called permanent withdrawal.

You should also let your Academic Advisor know, as they will be providing you with a reference after you leave and may be able to support you if your issues are course- or study-related.

If you are requesting to withdraw from the University, the Student Life Advisor you meet will complete a permanent withdrawal form with you.

Other sources of advice

You must also meet your Academic Advisor to discuss your course and find out about any changes planned for the next academic year. They may also be able to help address any study-related issues that contributed to your decision to withdraw.

Many students also discuss the decision with a family member, especially if they are providing financial support, and with friends.

If you withdraw and receive funding from Student Finance, the University automatically informs them of your withdrawal. However, you should also contact them yourself to discuss how it will affect your funding.

Find out more about how withdrawing will affect your fee liability.

The withdrawal process

After your discussion with a Student Life Advisor, if you have made a firm decision, the Advisor will complete the temporary or permanent withdrawal form with you.

Before you sign the form, the Advisor will make sure you are fully aware of all the implications.

In the case of a temporary withdrawal, you will be asked to specify a preferred return date in the following academic year, at the start of one of the teaching blocks.

During your time out, your School’s Progression and Award Board (PAB) will consider your requested return date. They may agree with it or decide a different return date for you.


If you are in University-managed accommodation, you must also terminate your accommodation agreement.

This is a separate process. The form you complete at the Student Life Centre will not withdraw you from your accommodation.

You may also wish to ask Housing about your entitlement to university accommodation on your return the following year.

Fees and funding

Find out about paying University fees and how withdrawing from Sussex affects this.

If you have a scholarship or a bursary, this may be affected if you withdraw. See more about changes to a scholarship or bursary.

If you have a visa

If you are a student studying with a visa, check the visa implications when taking a break from your studies.

The Student Life Centre will not be able to proceed with your withdrawal until you have sought visa advice.

Using our services during temporary withdrawal

You can continue using the Library, Sussex Direct, Canvas and your computing account and Sussex email while you’re temporarily on withdrawal from the University.

You can also access support from the Student Life Centre. However, during busy times, we may need to prioritise students who are fully registered. Book an appointment with a Student Life Advisor before your return date to plan your transition back into studying and discuss any worries or concerns.

If you receive support from the Student Support Unit, funded by the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), this support will be suspended while you are on withdrawal.

If you are attending sessions from University Counselling Services, the number of sessions you are offered will usually be restricted while you are on withdrawal.

PhD students

If you are a PhD student thinking about withdrawing from your course, discuss this with your Supervisor and your School’s Research and Enterprise Co-ordinator.

You may also wish to book an appointment at the Student Life Centre if you have personal or health concerns related to your withdrawal.

Direct Federal Loans

A Federal Loan is awarded under the assumption that you will attend university for the entire period for which funding was granted.

If you withdraw or take a break before completing 60% of a payment period, the University will inform the Department of Education and calculate the amount of funding that has been earned (the portion that you are entitled to) based on your period of attendance. If more financial assistance has been received than was earned, the excess funds must be returned to the Department of Education.

A student in receipt of Federal funds who takes temporary withdrawal will be classed as withdrawn for financial aid purposes.

If you decide to withdraw temporarily or permanently you should notify your Student Life Advisor that you are in receipt of a Direct Federal loan at your appointment.

If you can’t come in to see us

Email studentlifecentre@sussex.ac.uk if you want to discuss withdrawal, but are no longer living locally.