Student handbook

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught programmes

Leave of absence

Note: This information applies to UG and PGT students.

A Leave of Absence is an agreed break from your studies.  A Leave of Absence must be discussed with, and agreed by, your academic School/Department.

Support Available

If you are thinking about a Leave of Absence, it may be helpful to try to identify the issues causing you to consider a break from study and seek the appropriate support/advice:

Study/Academic Issues

Talk to someone in your School/Department about your options. In the first instance, you should probably try to make contact with either your personal tutor or School/Department Administrator.  They should discuss the following with you:

  • Continuing your current programme with a greater level of academic support.
  • Taking a short break from your studies and resuming within the current academic year (with appropriate academic support). This option may not be appropriate for some academic programmes.
  • Taking a Leave of Absence (formal approved absence from the University) and returning when you are ready to resume your studies.
  • The possibility of transferring to a new programme either in the same School Department or a new School/Department.
  • Moving onto a part-time version of the programme where one exists (postgraduate study only) or, in exceptional circumstances, ‘stretching’ your degree programme. ‘Stretching’ normally means completing one year of a full-time programme over two academic years. You should be aware that transferring to part-time study or stretching your degree will have implications for your academic progression and could also affect the financial support to which you are entitled.
  • Withdrawing completely from the University.

Student Wellbeing Service

If you are considering taking a Leave of Absence because of personal issues, it may be helpful to talk these through with someone from the Student Wellbeing Service. For more information see the Student Wellbeing Service website or email studentwellbeing@lboro.ac.uk.

You can also book an appointment by filling out the short Student Wellbeing and Inclusion Referral form on the Student Wellbeing Service pages.

Support for disabled students

The Disability Service can provide advice and support if you feel you are struggling because of a long term health condition, disability or specific learning difference. They can also support you in taking a Leave of Absence and in considering what help might be put in place to ensure your return is successful. For more information, please either phone on (01509) 222770, email disability@lboro.ac.uk or go to the Disability Service website.

Mental Health Support

If your reasons for considering taking a break are due to high levels of emotional burden or mental health difficulties, then the University may be able to help you identify practical strategies to help you deal with them. If you ultimately decide to take time out from your course, the Mental Health Support Team can also help you with this process and consider what may need to be in place to facilitate a successful return to your studies. For more information, please see the Mental Health Support Team site

Careers Network

The Careers Network can talk through a range of issues with you if you are considering taking a Leave of Absence.

  • Leave of absence to gain work experience: students on some courses opt to take leave of absence as their degree programme may not offer them the opportunity to undertake a formal placement year.  In such cases the Careers Network can assist you in discussing the benefits of taking this action, help you to identify possible sources of vacancy information and provide you with application and interview advice and guidance. 
  • Leave of absence for other reasons: the Careers Network can discuss, impartially and confidentially, how you can manage any periods of leave of absence when you are making applications to organisations, helping you to identify the positive messages you can make from your experiences.

 

Implications of taking a Leave of Absence

If your Department/School does approve a period of Leave of Absence, then you need to be aware of the following issues:

Impact on Academic Studies

  • If you take a leave of absence, you will not be able to progress with your initial cohort. This may mean that you have to make new friends/contacts on your return to the University.  Ultimately this will delay the date on which you are able to graduate.
  • The time of year from which you take leave of absence will affect whether or not you are able to carry forward any marks already achieved. Your School/Department will be able to discuss this with you and you can view information at:
    Regulation IX (Paragraph 42).
  • The availability and/or content of modules may change whilst you are on leave of absence. Therefore you may not be able to choose the same modules/study exactly the same material upon your return to studies.
  • If you have submitted a claim for Mitigating Circumstances against modules completed before the start date of your leave of absence, it will be considered at the earliest Mitigating Circumstances Panel meeting.

Financial Issues

Tuition Fees

Undergraduates: If you take a leave of absence, your tuition fees will be charged on a termly basis in accordance with Regulation XVI.   If you are receiving payments from a student loan, you will need to notify Student Finance England or the relevant other funding body to ensure you are not overpaid.

Postgraduates: If you take a leave of absence, your tuition fees will be pro-rated so that you are charged on a termly basis in accordance with Regulation XVI.  If you are in receipt of a Postgraduate loan, you will need to notify Student Finance England or the relevant other funding body of your change in status so that you can borrow the correct amount in each academic year.

Loans/Grants

Taking leave of absence may have financial implications as student loans and grants are not normally payable during suspension of studies. There are a few exceptions to this so please seek advice by making an appointment to see an advisor in the Student Advice and Support Service.  

Council Tax

If you take a leave of absence, you may not be eligible for Council Tax exemption.  If you remain living in Loughborough in a student household, your entitlement will not be affected.  However, if you move to a non-student household or return home to live with your parents, you are advised to seek advice from the Student Advice and Support Service.

University Facilities

IT Facilities

Your IT account will remain active whilst you are on a Leave of Absence. This means you will still have access to Student Self-service, Learn, computer labs and your email account during your period of Leave of Absence.

Library

Students on a Leave of Absence are welcome to continue to use the University Library for reference purposes at any time, free of charge. If you wish to borrow books whilst of leave if absence, you need to collect a membership authorisation form from the Library and have it countersigned by your School. Once you have returned the form and paid the Library a £10 admin fee, you will be allowed to borrow throughout your Leave of Absence period with the same borrowing rights as students in your year.

Accommodation

Halls of Residence

If you are living in a Hall of Residence and take a Leave of Absence, you will be released from your contract as per clause 6.2 of the Licence Terms and Conditions.

Private Accommodation

Contracts will vary between landlords and the University is not privy to all of the agreements used.  Normally your contract will bind you for the period of the contract, usually along with other members of a group (your housemates). If you move out of the house for your leave of absence and fail to pay your share of the rent, the landlord can legally recover it from yourself and your housemates.  Usually landlords will allow a new person to move into the house to replace you.  However, the onus to find a replacement tenant will usually rest with your housemates. If you have an individual contract, the landlord should take reasonable steps to re-let the property to enable you to be released early but the onus may still be on you to find a replacement tenant. If you leave before the end of the fixed term without your landlord’s consent, you are liable to pay the rent until the term ends even if you aren’t living there. If you need further advice on this topic, please make an appointment to see an advisor at the Student Advice and Support Service.

International Students

International students considering taking a Leave of Absence should seek advice from the Student Advice and Support Service as it will have significant implications on your permission to remain in the UK.  As you were issued a student visa to be in the UK, the UKVI will expect you to return to your home country and re-apply for a new visa when you choose or are able to resume your studies.

If you are required to register with the Police, then you will also need to inform them of any change of circumstances.

See the UK Visas and Immigration website for more information.


Applying for Leave of Absence

If, having considered the various support options available to you, you do decide that a Leave of Absence would be the best thing for you, please contact your School/Department to progress this. Regulation IX (Paragraphs 34-38) contain more information about the timescales for taking/returning from a leave of absence.

In order to formally apply for a Leave of Absence, you will need to complete (including School/Department signatures) and submit a Leave of Absence form to the Student Office. Please note that your request will not be processed until all the relevant staff have seen and signed the form.