When a student wishes to leave
This page covers processes to follow when a taught student (UG or TP) is considering taking leave from their studies.
“Leaver” is a term used to refer to students who, in exceptional circumstances, are officially authorised to either take temporary leave from their studies of 4 weeks or more, or permanently leave their programme before completion. Requests for leave should be discussed between the Student and the School, and then submitted by the School either to the Operations Team, as detailed here, or to Student Cases, as described on the Student Cases SharePoint Guidance. Permanent leave will always be a standard request, though requests will be rejected if incomplete and the date of leave will be calculated as described elsewhere in this page. Temporary leave is subject to more requirements, see the temporary leave page for more details.
Baseline expectations for all students
- Students are required to attend all aspects of study expected by their programme and School.
- Students commit to a year’s fees at the point of annual registration with the University – only in exceptional circumstances will the University not require payment of full fees.
- All leave requests submitted by schools are only made when the student has been given reasonable advice and signposting regarding the implications of their leave request.
Process steps for standard requests
- Student contacts School in person or through the leavers enquiry form (latter triggers email to School).
- School contact the student and arrange a meeting.
- Meeting held between the student and a Student Support Officer (SSO) (alternatively with an academic or personal tutor). Discussions should cover reason for leaving, implications (e.g. academic progress , fees, funding, visa rules), and highlight alternatives to leave. Schools do not need to have all the answers, the student may be best informed by signposting to other teams such as a LUU/wellbeing/counselling services/mit circs. This meeting should be clearly documented for reference.
- The next steps are decided and recorded in writing and shared with the student. If the student decides to take temporary or permanent leave following the meeting, the School must ensure student is aware that they have not yet officially taken leave and there is still more process to follow. At this point, if the request does not meet standard requirements, the School should follow Student Cases processes. Standard requests continue as below.
- School completes a leave request form with leave information, and asks the student to agree to document in writing on email.
- School forwards the student’s authorisation to firstname.lastname@example.org to submit the request.
- Operations confirm the outcome to the School and relevant teams,
- School notify the student of aany updates and follow up any temporary leave requirements at the relevant times.
Alternatives to leave requests
There are other processes that run alongside temporary leave. These may be a more relevant route to pursue and include:
- Mitigating circumstances process for examinations issues (within School or Student Cases.
- Unsatisfactory Work, Attendance and Engagement Procedure (UWAEP)
- Standard Operating Procedure for Attendance Monitoring (SOPAM), which relates to presumed leavers and UWAEP in this list.
- Fit to Study procedure (TBC including ill health exclusion) (Student Cases)
- Study Success meetings (within School)
- Progression exercise (within School following school examination boards, reporting taught undergraduate students who have exhausted all resit examination attempts)
- Referred students procedure (Student Cases)
- Presumed (permanent) leavers – please read the link for more details
Guidance on requested leaving date
The University’s Operations team is responsible for finalising a student’s leave start date, which may differ from the leave date requested by the student. This is mentioned on the leave request form also. The leave start date entered into the student record signifies when the student’s leave request has been approved and processed. It is important that the leavers form is submitted to Operations within 10 working days of the leave start date requested, as Operations are unable to backdate beyond this period. Where the leave date requested is beyond 10 days prior to submission, Operations will consider the student’s authorisation date and the form submission date as alternative dates to reflect the start of leave.
Please do not submit standard requests with a leave date in the future. Leave requests such as this may be returned to be recompleted.
Delays to leave processing (which directly impacts leave date entered) can affect the following areas:
- UKVI must be updated of any changes to the candidature within 10 working days. A backdated start of leave date would mean that this requirement is not met.
- Tuition fees.
- The student could receive funding they are not entitled to and be required to pay this back.
- Accommodation fees.
- The student may have continued to access facilities and resources past their start of leave date.
Common mistakes in submissions
Incomplete or inaccurate requests can delay the processing of requests, which can negatively impact the student.
One common reason for rejection is when the student’s approval of the form itself is not provided or does not clearly link to the request form submitted (this may be avoided by the school confirming “the leave request submitted is the same details as the student authorised”). There may also be undesired impact where the leave date requested is more than 10 working days before the completed request is received by Operations (see “requested leaving date” section on this page).
Particularly for temporary leave, we are unable to accept requests where evidence of the reason for leave is not verified by the school (Operations do not need to view the evidence), the form’s temporary leave boxes are not completed, or the leave request is not appropriate as a standard request.