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 with a Student Advisor at studentlifecentre@sussex.ac.uk 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If you are thinking of leaving permanently, or have been withdrawn by the University for any reason (for example on financial or academic grounds), book an appointment with a Student Advisor at studentlifecentre@sussex.ac.uk 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.

Housing

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 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

Most of this information is only relevant to students who are funded by Student Finance England. If you are funded by another funding body and have questions, please contact studentfunding@sussex.ac.uk.

Withdrawing from your course temporarily or permanently may mean you receive more money from your loan or grant than you are due. 

Once you have confirmed your withdrawal from the University, your student record will be updated automatically, whether you choose to withdraw temporarily or permanently. This may take time to process.

Your fees will be amended in line with our Fee Liability Policy [PDF 160KB] or Rent Rebate Policy [DOC 24KB].

If you are leaving part way through a chargeable period, you’ll pay the full fee for that period. For example, a Masters student leaving in November pays tuition fees to the end of December.

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

Fees and funding during temporary withdrawal

Once your temporary withdrawal has been agreed, the University will contact Student Finance to tell them that you are no longer attending University. Part of this notification will be a “date of last attendance” and it is this date that Student Finance will use to re-calculate your maintenance funding for the year.

Tuition fees and maintenance funding

Depending on the point in the academic year when you withdraw the University may recalculate the tuition fee due for the year. 

Students are only entitled to maintenance funding for the time they are studying. For the majority of students funding will stop on the last day of attendance, even if your withdrawal is processed later than this. Student Finance will recalculate your funding entitlement for the year and issue a new entitlement letter. Depending on when you withdraw, this may mean that some of the maintenance grant and/or maintenance loan needs to be repaid. As long as there are no changes to your course, this will normally be deducted from the next grant or loan payment.

If you do change course, this counts as an “interruption in studies”. This will trigger a demand from the Student Loans Company for any outstanding grant or loan before they will allow a student further maintenance or tuition fee funding. If you do have issues with the Student Loans Company please contact studentfunding@sussex.ac.uk.

Temporary withdrawal on health grounds

If you withdraw on health grounds, you are automatically entitled to an additional 60 days funding from the date of last attendance. Holiday periods as well as term time are counted within this 60 day period. Depending on the date of last attendance, you may receive a funding award after you have taken temporary withdrawal. If so, you will not have been charged fees for this period.

Claiming State Benefits whilst on temporary withdrawal

Whilst on temporary withdrawal you are still considered a full time student, and are not eligible for state benefits in most instances. Exceptions include:

  • students who were eligible for benefits whilst studying (you should ask for re-assessment since your maintenance funding from Student Finance England will have stopped)
  • students who withdrew on health grounds but are recovered enough to work.

If you have any questions or issues with benefit claims please contact studentfunding@sussex.ac.uk.

Funding on Return to Studies

If you withdraw temporarily, when you re-register you will need to:

  • pay any tuition fees due in full
  • set up a payment plan for your returning academic year.

Find out more about paying tuition fees.

Students on temporary withdrawal should apply for funding well before they plan to return. Normally this will be in February or March (if returning in September) and September or October (if returning in January.) Maintenance funding will be automatically agreed, but repeat years may cause issues with tuition fee funding.

Students have a statutory right to an additional year’s tuition fee funding. However if you suspended your studies on health or personal grounds, such as a bereavement or a family crisis, you should apply for Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR) so you don’t use your gift year.

Once you have applied for funding for your return to studies, you will need to write a letter to Student Finance asking for the interrupted year to be disregarded. Student Finance will then contact you asking for additional documentation. For instance, students who suspended due to ill health will need to supply a letter from a medical professional and a member of University staff (normally a Student Life Advisor or Disability Advisor).

If you have any questions, or would like support during this process, please contact studentfunding@sussex.ac.uk.

Fees and funding during permanent withdrawal

If a student permanently withdraws from their course then they will go through a similar process to students on TWD with regards to fee and maintenance funding. The exception  is that any maintenance overpayment will need to be paid back immediately. Students who withdraw on health grounds are not entitled to additional funding.

Claiming State Benefits after permanent withdrawal

Ex-students are entitled to claim benefits as per other members of the general public and we strongly suggest that student who are taking PWD to start a Universal Credit claim as soon as they can.

If you owe us money

You may still have an outstanding balance to pay after you withdraw. You can view any balance, and pay with a debit or credit card, online through your Sussex Direct account.

If your withdrawal is temporary, we may contact you to arrange payment before you return, or to let you know about any other outstanding payments on your account (such as accommodation fees).

If you have permanently withdrawn you will need to pay any outstanding amount as soon as possible. To discuss your account, or arrange payment of your balance, call Accounts Receivable: 01273 678076.

View our Student Debt Recovery Policy [PDF 131KB],

Refunds

If you have temporarily withdrawn, and your student account is in credit from a tuition fee payment, the credit will be held on your account to go towards any future tuition fees due when you return. You can, however, request a refund for any other credits, such as overpayment of accommodation charges.

If you have permanently withdrawn, and your student account is in credit, you can request a refund.

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 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 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 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.