Taking a break from your studies (leave of absence)

The information on this page primarily relates to full-time undergraduate students being funded by Student Finance England. If you are a part-time undergraduate, a postgraduate student, or are funded by an alternate provider (such as the NHS), we would recommend that you contact Student Finance and Welfare to discuss your individual circumstances.

Taking a break in your studies is often called taking a leave of absence, however you may also hear the terms ‘interrupting’, ‘suspending’, ‘taking time out’ or ‘intercalating’. There are many reasons for wanting to do this and the first thing you should do is discuss these reasons with your faculty. It is also important that you speak to a member of Student Finance and Welfare to discuss how taking a leave of absence will affect your finances.


Tuition fees

Once a term has started, you are liable for the full fee for that term even if you take a leave of absence. The fees per term are proportioned as follows:

  • Term 1 – 25%
  • Term 2 – 25%
  • Term 3 – 50%

If you take a leave of absence part way through a term you will be liable for the whole fee for that term.  If you are receiving a Tuition Fee Loan to pay your fees, then you will still be eligible for enough Tuition Fee Loan to cover the cost of your fees for the term.

Please also ensure you refer to the Tuition Fee Charging and Refunding Policy relating to your year of entry:


Maintenance loans and grants

Grants and loans for living costs are paid in termly instalments, to cover costs for the duration of that term. Where a student takes a leave of absence part way through a term, Student Finance England will reassess these funds from the first day of the academic year until your last date of attendance on the course.  Any money that you have received in excess of this reassessment will need repaying. This is likely to be requested immediately or taken from any future entitlement. Student Finance England will contact you about this.


Am I entitled to any funding during my leave of absence?

You will not normally be entitled to receive any further payments from Student Finance England during your period of leave of absence, as your funding entitlement will be reassessed based on your ‘last date of attendance’ (see above). However, if you take a leave of absence due to illness, you may still be able to get full student funding for up to 60 days after your last date of attendance. In some cases, this may be extended such as if it may cause financial hardship or you have caring responsibilities. Student Finance and Welfare can help you to get the right level of funding.

When you take a leave of absence from your studies, you maintain your student status, so you may be able to apply for the DMU Support Fund.

Depending on your circumstances, you may also be eligible to receive social security benefits. Support is usually only available if you have taken time out because you are ill or pregnant, or because you have to care for someone.


When you return to your studies

In general, students are entitled to student funding from Student Finance England for the duration of their course plus one extra year. Any previous study undertaken may affect your funding entitlement.