When a student leaves

This page explains processes to follow when a student asks to, or is advised to, to take time out of their studies temporarily or leave permanently.

“Leaver” is a term used to refer to students who, in exceptional circumstances, are officially authorised to either take temporary time out of their studies lasting more than 4 weeks, or permanently leave their programme before completion. Leave requests are discussed between the student and School, and then submitted by the school to the Operations team or Student Cases, as below. Please note, postgraduate research should follow guidance on the postgraduate researchers page.

Recent updates to leaver processes

The presumed withdrawn process used before November 2019 has been replaced by SOPAM guidance from October 2020, detailed on the presumed leavers page. 

Guidance for taking leave in the 2020/21 year was issued in late June 2020 by the Student Cases team in the Secretariat. There are notes in their staff SharePoint guidance folder, including FAQs and examples in the annexes, on temporary leave (leave related to the student’s personal circumstances, after week 8 of teaching) and exceptional leave (where leave is related to covid-19 teaching and assessment adjustments or otherwise does not meet standard leave guidelines). Links are to pdf, both pdf and word versions of the guidance are available in the SharePoint folder.

Key changes to the general leave process as of July 2020 include: 

  • SWATSLF is no longer required – please do NOT use this Banner screen
  • independent evidence must be held for ALL reasons of temporary leave
  • authorisations are entirely email based (please ensure student authorisation is clear and explicit about what is being authorised, confiriming on submission “the leave request details attached are those the student has authorised”)
  • On the latest Taught Student Leave form for standard requests, schools must tick to confirm that any temporary leave requests submitted are NOT within the “exceptional leave” category as defined by Student Cases.

Baseline expectations on all students

  • Students are required to attend all aspects of study expected by their programme and School. 
  • Students commit to a year’s fees on registration – only in exceptional circumstances will the University not require payment of full fees.
  • Though students can request a change in status, Operations/Student Cases decide when a change in status is approved. Schools should NOT be requesting that Operations/Student Cases back date.
  • 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, and if taking temporary leave, that the school and student have discussed conditions of return (see Conditions of Return template form for School and student use as a guide – not for submission).

General process for leave requests

We expect three broad stages in leave requests:

  • Student and School to agree the details of the request (documented conversations)
  • Submission of the request (clearly authorised submission from School to Operations or Student Cases as below) 
  • Supporting return to study (temporary leave only)

Details of these are on the temporary leavers and permanent leavers pages.

Routes for leave requests

Schools can only send standard Taught Student Leave requests to Operations within the standard guidelines outlined on the temporary and permanent leavers pages. Otherwise, the School needs to email a leave request t oStudent Cases with the relevant Student Cases form i.e. Student Cases temporary leave request after week 8 teaching or Student Cases exceptional leave request where other guidelines are not met. In summary: 

  • Leave requests within standard guidelines: Taught Student Leavers Form (for Standard Requests) submitted to studentrecords@adm.leeds.ac.uk with university email authorisation of the form from student and staff (latter can be fulfilled by the submission email itself). Staff should confirm “the leave details attached are those which the student has authorised”.
  • Leave requests not within week 8 standard guideline (i.e. after week 8): Student Cases application for temporary leave as per Student Cases SharePoint guidance. Please see the temporary leavers page for an explanation of the week 8 guideline.
  • Leave requests not within standard guidelines for any other reason beyond week 8: Student Cases application for exceptional leave as per Student Cases SharePoint guidance.

A note on the start date of leave

The leave start date requested (such as on a taught student leavers' form) is used as an indicative date only. The leave start date finalised on the student record (Banner) by the University’s Operations team reflects when the leave request is fully approved by the University. Specifically, the leave start date requested on the form must be within 10 working days of the completed submission to Operations (studentrecords@adm.leeds.ac.uk). Backdating leave beyond this is NOT allowed. Please be aware that incomplete requests for whatever reason may need to be resubmitted and so can cause delays to the time limit, so please submit as soon as possible. Degree Apprenticeships are exception to standard leave date regulations. Due to the nature of the contracts covering Degree Apprenticeship courses, their leave start date must reflect the last instance of learning.

Conversley, please do not submit standard requests with a start of leave date on the form in the future, or if really neccessary not beyond more than one working week.

The leaving date in Banner will be used to notify external organisations e.g. Home Office and the Student Loans Company. To ensure the consistency of this information, only the central Student Education Service teams, in particular the Student Services Counter team (not Schools) provide verification of the leaving date.

Alternatives to leave requests

There are other processes that run alongside temporary leave. These may be a more relevant route to pursue and include:


For students who are not fully registered, deferrals can be made by the student and/or school emailing registration@leeds.ac.uk confirming the student as a deferral (No Show), and also notifying your relevant admissions team to then make the update on Banner admissions screens, to create a new record for the student into the new cohort.

For fully registered students, the deferral will need to be updated depending on their start of teaching date (and the application of the 14 day cooling off period) as follows:

  • before start of teaching, within cooling off period - No Show: email notification of deferral to Ops, Ops will mark as No Show. School admissions to log deferral in Banner.
  • after start of teaching, within cooling off period - Permanent withdrawal: email notification of deferral, Ops will mark as WD. School admissions to log deferral in Banner.
  • after start of teaching, after end of cooling off period - Temporary leave: taught student leavers form with student authorisation email to studentrecords@adm.leeds.ac.uk for temporary leave to deferral, Ops will mark as SP.
Examples of dates for deferral routes
Timeframe January 2021 starters on Taught Postgraduate programmes (variable start of teaching) January 2021 starters on standard Undergraduate programmes (standard start of teaching)
before start of teaching, within cooling off period before mid-late Jan 2021 before 25/01/21
after start of teaching, within cooling off period from mid-late Jan to early Feb 2021 from 25/01/21 to 07/02/21 inclusive
after start of teaching, after end of cooling off period early Feb 2021 onwards from 08/02/21 onwards

Making changes to leave 

If a student is agreed to return earlier than previously indicated, please ensure the return meets requirements agreed for repeats of teaching, such as on the examinations SES guidance page and as agreed when establishing conditions of return for the original leave request. the School should then notify Operations on studentrecords@adm.leeds.ac.uk as you would for standard return confirmation.

If a student wishes to extend their temporary leave,  the School can submit a new leave form for the new period of leave if within standard guidelines. Please note, both parts of leave must not total more than a year. If any of the standard guidelines are not met, the leave request should be submitted to Student Cases.

If a student decides to take permanent leave while on temporary leave, please submit a permanent leave request to studentrecords@adm.leeds.ac.uk. The start date of leave requested on the form should reflect the date of the student’s decision to permanently leave, whilst also being within 10 working days of the request’s complete submission to studentrecords@adm.leeds.ac.uk.

If a School wishes to reinstate a student who has chosen to permanently withdraw but then changed their mind, please seek guidance from the Student Cases team in the Secretariat.

If a School wishes to reinstate a student directly to temporary leave, the temporary leave request should generally be provided alongside the reinstatement request to the SAME TEAM that requires the reinstatement request, i.e. within first two weeks of withdrawal/registration deadline goes to Operations, after that to Student Cases. However, if the temporary leave request breaks standard guidelines (as on the temporary leavers SES guidance page), then both the reinstatement and temporary leave request should go directly to Student Cases. 

Key further guidance pages

If you have any questions or feedback about this page, please email studentrecords@adm.leeds.ac.uk.