In rare cases students decide that they need to withdraw from their course - either temporarily or permanently - for various reasons, such as ill health or changes in life circumstances. Sometimes temporarily suspending your studies can give you the opportunity to take some time out and give your course another go next academic year when you feel up to it.
Whether or not you withdraw is up to you - the main thing that we would advise is that you don't do anything hastily that you might regret later. Sleep on it, put some thought into it, and weigh up the implications of staying versus withdrawing before making a decision. If you do decide to withdraw, have a plan of what you're going to do after you've withdrawn from your course ready.
And remember if you've having problems that are making life at Uni difficult, you're always welcome to speak to someone at Student Support or the Student Welfare Service to see if there is appropriate support available to help you cope at Uni without having to withdraw.
How do I withdraw from my course?
In order to withdraw from your course, you need to collect a form from Student Support Central Office (AG09), fill it in, get it signed off by the appropriate people, and then submit it to Student Administration. Student Support Central Office or your Development Tutor can explain how temporary or permanent withdrawal works and are the best first ports of call if you're thinking about either temporarily or permanently withdrawing.
What are my options in relation to withdrawal?
Taking a temporary withdrawal means that you could:
1. Take a year out between levels (e.g. successfully finish level 5, then take a year out & return to start level 6 a year later) - so essentially a 'gap year'; or
2. Start this level of study again next academic year (so essentially repeat the year)*; or
3. Pick up your course from the same point in the year from where you left off*.
*Options 2 & 3 above usually require proof of exceptional extenuating circumstances and are subject to approval based on the evidence provided.
If you're in receipt of a student loan and are contemplating repeating a year / part of a year, student loans cover the length of your course plus one year (so if you're on a 3-year course you can get up to 4 years' worth of funding, to allow for the possibility of repeating a year) - however for some people it is possible to claim exceptional circumstances so as not to use up your spare year, so you still have that extra year of funding in reserve in case you need it - you can contact the University's Student Finance Adviser (firstname.lastname@example.org / 0113 283 7173 / AG9A) for advice on this.
If you withdraw permanently before finishing your full degree, you may still be eligible for a qualification. In most cases, if you've successfully completed your first year of study (level 4) of a standard 3-year undergraduate degree, you will be eligible for a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE). If you've successfully completed your second year of study (level 5), you will be eligible for a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE). These are Higher Education qualifications and the University will offer to send you the certificate along with a transcript when you withdraw, but we'd suggest checking with them what will be sent out to you & when when you hand in your form and make sure that the University knows that you want this. It's worth remembering that successfully completing modules gives you credits, as your transcript will show, which are often transferrable onto other courses / at other institutions should you decide to pick up your studies again later in life (in other words if at a later date you decide that you want to have another go at getting a degree, you might be able to to transfer your existing credits so as to skip one or more modules / years in your new course).
What practical issues do I need to consider when withdrawing?
~ Student Finance
If you're no longer a student then your student loan payments will stop. You will need to inform Student Finance of your withdrawal and, depending on what point in the year you withdraw, you may need to repay some of the money they've already given you for the period that you're not studying. You can contact Leeds Trinity's Student Finance Adviser (email@example.com / 0113 283 7173 / room AG9A) for advice on this.
~ Tenancy & rent
If you live in University Halls of Residence on campus then you will need to let the Accommodation Office know that you've withdrawn and are moving out. You will normally be liable for the rent until the end of the current semester but no further. If however you live off-campus in private rented housing, you will still be liable for the rent for the full length of the contract, regardless of whether or not you're a student or whether or not you're still living there (unlike University Halls of Residence, withdrawing from University won't automatically get you released from your contract early). You can find advice on what you can do about this in the Housing section of our website. If you don't have a full-time job and are unable to afford the rent, you may need to think about how you're going to manage this. While some poeple may qualify for housing benefit to contribute towards (but not necessarily completely cover) the costs of rent, most 18-21 year olds are no longer eligible housing benefits. Visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website for more information.
~ Council Tax
If you're no longer a full-time student, you are no longer exempt from Council Tax, meaning you'll become liable for Council Tax. If you're the only person in the property eligible to pay Council Tax, you're eligible for a 25% single person discount. Some people are also eligible for Council Tax Reduction. Contact the Council Tax office for your area for more information. If you live in a private rented house off-campus it's also worth checking your tenancy agreement to see what it says about Council Tax liability (in some cases, depending on what type of contract you have and what the contract says, liability might actually fall to the landlord - again the Council Tax office can advise on this if you're not sure).