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Student Finance If You Suspend or Leave

You would need to cancel any student loan payments you are receiving if you decide to take a break from studies or you drop out of the course early.

Information in this section explains what happens with student finance if you suspend or leave your course (e.g. due to an illness or pregnancy).

How to Stop Your Student Loan Payments

It is best to discuss your intentions with the college or university before you suspend your studies or leave the course early.

But, you will need to stop the payments you receive from your student loan if you do take a break or drop out of your course.

You should be able to postpone the loan payments until you start studying again. Either way, you need to make any loan repayments that are due to the SLC.

Note: In some cases, you can still get student finance payments even while you are away, such as if you are ill or pregnant (further details below).

Before withdrawing from your course, and stopping your loan payments, you must:

  • Inform the college or university that you will be leaving or suspending the course.
  • Contact Student Finance England (SFE) if you are a student from England.

There is a different telephone number to use for students who are from Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

After informing your university or college, they will notify the provider of your student finance about the actual date that you finished your studies.

The next step is for the student finance provider to reassess your funding (based on the number of days that you attended the course). You would then get a letter confirming how much of the student loan you need to repay.

Paying Back Your Student Loan

It is important to understand that repaying your student loan is a requirement even if you suspend or leave your course before the finish date. But, you may not need to repay all the Tuition Fee Loan for the particular academic year that you are studying in.

So, how much Tuition Fee Loan would you need to pay back? It would depend on which of the academic years you decide to suspend or leave your course. Thus, you must pay back:

  • 25% of the loan for the year (after suspending or leaving in term 1).
  • 50% of the loan for the year (after suspending or leaving in term 2).
  • The full amount for the year if you decide to suspend your studies or leave the course in term 3.

Note: You may need to pay back an extra Maintenance Loan payment if you fail to make, or delay making, the telephone call to stop your loan payments.

What If You Receive an Overpayment?

If you are overpaid you would need to pay back (both):

  • Any Maintenance Loan payment that you receive after suspending or leaving your course.
  • Anything else owed, once your student finance provider completes the reassessment of your funding.

Paying Back an Overpayment to the SLC

After receiving an overpayment, you would get a letter from the Student Loans Company (SLC). It would explain how much you were overpaid and how to repay the money.

The next step depends on whether you plan on returning to your studies (or not). If you do, they would usually deduct the amount that you were overpaid from your Maintenance Loan payments, once you go back.

So, what happens if you left your course altogether? In this case, you must start paying back any overpayments – without delay! The Student Loans Company would contact you to set up a repayment plan.

Getting Student Finance During Suspension of Studies

In some cases, you can still get your student finance payments – even while you are away from your course. As a rule, you would need to suspend it on serious personal grounds (e.g. being pregnant, having an illness, or due to a bereavement).

You could qualify for the Disabled Students’ Allowances (e.g. get help if you’re a student with a learning difficulty, a health problem, or a disability).

Note: You would need to apply for funding following the set process for returning to study after taking time out for personal reasons.

Suspension Due to Serious Illness or Pregnancy

After suspending your course, you may get a Maintenance Loan for a period of sixty (60) days. Your college or university would need to inform the Student Loans Company (SLC) about your situation.

Applying for Extra Money

What if you are having some financial difficulties after the sixty day period? If so, check to see if you qualify for further payments by applying to Student Finance England, and supplying them with:

  • A cover letter that explains your situation (remember to include your customer reference number).
  • Some evidence that supports your claim (e.g. a bank statement or a copy of your tenancy agreement).

There are other ways to get extra money to pay for college or university, such as through the hardship fund.

Suspending Courses for Other Serious Personal Reasons

Check with Student Finance England (SFE) to see if you can get a Maintenance Loan if you need to suspend your studies for another serious personal reason. You may get payments to cover some or all the time you are away from your scheduled courses.

You would need to supply:

  • A cover letter that explains your reasons for suspending your course (remember to include your customer reference number and the relevant academic year).
  • Some evidence that supports your claim.

Typical examples of supporting evidence may include things like a letter from your doctor or social services, your university or college, or a bank statement.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) might ask you to supply several pieces of evidence. Either way, they would send you a letter (usually within six weeks) that explains how much loan money you can get.

Note: The postal address for this type of application is different for students from Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

Getting Student Finance If You Suspend Your Course or Withdraw