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Intermission

Intermission (temporary withdrawal/leave of absence) provides you with the opportunity to take a break from your studies. Normally, this is for reasons beyond your control (eg health or personal problems) although other reasons are permitted. An intermission is approved for a defined period of time, after which you would return to your studies. A request to intermit needs formal approval and requests are governed by our University regulations and guidelines.

Thinking about intermitting

Before deciding that an intermission is the best action for you, contact your Student Services Hub and talk to one of our advisers. Where possible, we will try and give you the advice and support you need to help you stay and carry on with your studies. If you are considering intermitting, there are some of the practical things you need to consider:

  • Academic issues

    You should discuss your plans to intermit with your department before completing the online form. You should speak to your advisor/supervisor or another member of departmental staff, like course director, year director, course administrator. Check your departmental handbook if you aren’t sure to who to speak.

    Undergraduate or taught postgraduates

    You should be aware that courses may change from year to year. This may affect the modules that are available to you when you return. Available modules for the next academic year will be shown on eNROL during module enrolment in the Summer Term. If you are considering intermitting before this information is published you should talk to your department about whether or not a module is likely to be running next year.

    Undergraduate students should also consider the impact on the maximum period (see below) that you have to complete your award.

    Intermission requests for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students are usually only approved for periods of a single academic stage (or year). If you are thinking about taking a break for a different period of time you should discuss this in advance with your department as it may not be possible.

    Research students

    Periods of intermission are approved on the basis of our University terms and not weeks or months. The date for the start of your time away, and the date when you are due to return, will be linked to the structure of our academic year and will based on standard term dates.

  • Accommodation

    University accommodation

    If you currently live in University-provided accommodation, you may be required to vacate your room from the beginning of your period of intermission. You will receive an email from our Accommodation Office once your intermission has been confirmed by the Student Progress Team. Please contact your Student Services Hub if you wish to discuss the possibility of staying in your room. If you decide to, or are required to vacate your room, any accommodation charges that you have paid in advance will be refunded to you from the date on which you return your key.

    Privately rented accommodation

    If you are considering moving out of your rented property when you intermit, we strongly recommend that you take advice from SU Advice before making your final decision. A tenancy agreement is legally binding and it is rarely possible to leave the property without the agreement of the landlord. This can be a particular problem for you if you are an international student, as you may need to leave the UK.

  • Funding

    You should consider the implications of intermitting for your funding/finances. Your Student Services Hub can offer you advice.

    University bursaries/scholarships

    You will not be eligible for any bursary/scholarship funding while you are intermitting.

    Student Finance

    These notes are for general guidance only and the information, which is based on the Student Support Regulations, is subject to amendment from time to time. It is therefore essential that you contact Student Finance England to discuss your individual case.

    If you are a Home or EU student in receipt of tuition fee loans to pay your tuition fees and our University approves your intermission, Student Finance England will normally suspend your award, and reinstate it when you return. However, you are entitled to funding for the full duration of your course plus one additional repeat year, minus any previous full or part years of study. If you have to repeat any year of study, including because of a period of intermission, this will be counted as your ‘plus one year’ even if you are only repeating part of the year. If you have previously studied at higher education level or have repeated/intermitted prior to this your entitlement to funding may be affected – please contact your Student Services Hub to discuss your funding eligibility if this is the case.

    Compelling personal reasons

    Normally students are only entitled to full student funding for the full normal duration of their course, plus one additional ‘gift year’. For those who have had more than one period of intermission or repeat study this can mean that there isn’t full funding available for the whole of the course. However, if you have intermitted from your course or had to repeat the year due to a personal or family crisis or ill health (including mental health) then you may be eligible to apply for an additional year (or years) of full funding from your student funding provider. This is known as Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR).

    To apply for Compelling Personal Reasons you should complete the usual application form online and then send a covering letter and supporting evidence to your student funding provider.

    The letter should contain the following information.

    • Your full name and customer reference number.
    • A full description of your Compelling Personal Reasons, how they have affected your ability to study and that this has resulted in you having to intermit and/or repeat the year.
    • Dates that you were affected.
    • A list of evidence that you are submitting along with your covering letter.

    The evidence that you are submitting to support your case should be from a professional service if at all possible. The evidence that you can provide will of course vary depending on your situation but could include letters from GP/Hospital/Consultant/Psychiatrists/Counsellors/Mentors for health related issues or Crime Reference numbers from the Police, birth/death certificates and letters from religious ministers for other issues. You may also want to include letters from tutors or Student Services staff if you have been in contact with them regarding your situation.

    Grant payments

    Normally when you intermit from your course your funding provider calculates any overpayment of grant which have been paid to you in advance – they then ask you to repay this or claw it back from future years’ entitlements. However, if you are intermitting from your course due to ill health (including mental health) and are able to provide evidence of this then you may be eligible to receive an additional 60 days of funding. (This is in addition to the extra year of full funding that can be granted.)

    If you are an NHS student, you should contact your Departmental Administrator as they will need to contact NHS bursaries on your behalf.

    Student loans

    You cannot apply for a loan while you are intermitting. If you already have a student loan, you are not required to make any repayments while you are intermitting. However, if you decide to leave the University permanently after your period of intermission, rather than returning to study, you might fall into arrears with the Student Loans Company, as you are required to begin repaying your student loan the April after you finish your course if you are earning over £16,910 per annum, or £21,000 if you started your course in October 2012.

    If you are repeating a period of study, you may apply for a student loan for this period if you wish.

    Sponsors

    If you are funded by another organisation, such as on overseas government, you should check carefully what their regulations are for intermitting and, potentially, repeating a part of your course. Some sponsors will require any period of intermission to have their approval in order to retain your eligibility for their support.

    Research Council funded students

    If you are a Research Council funded student you should contact the Executive Office (Research Team) to discuss your intermission.

  • Fees

    If you intermit from your studies up to 28 days after your course has started you will not be liable for any tuition fees. If you intermit after 28 days you will be liable for the standard fee instalment for the term in which the intermission takes place. See our fee liability information for more details.

    Once your intermission has been approved you will not be liable to pay fees for the period of intermission. If you have paid the whole year’s tuition fee to the University, and you start a period of intermission before the start of the summer term, you can choose whether to have your unused fees refunded or left on account for your return, at which point you would only pay the balance of any increase in the fee for the year in which you return). For further information, please contact your Student Services Hub.

    When you return to study, the tuition fees are likely to have increased by a small amount and you will be liable to pay tuition fees at the current rate in the year in which you return. Tuition fees are normally published at least 12 months in advance of the start of the academic year. On return from intermission, you are still counted as a "returning student", not a new student.

  • Student status and welfare benefits

    While you are intermitting you will be partially registered. This may affect your eligibility for benefits and exemptions.

    Council tax

    If you are a partially registered student, whose normal pattern of study is full-time, then you are eligible for a council tax certificate with which to claim a student discount or exemption from the council tax. Council tax certificates may be requested online. If you are a partially registered student who is entitled to welfare benefits, then you should note that these will be jeopardised if you claim a student discount or exemption from council tax. See our information on benefits and intermitting for more advice.

    Welfare benefits

    If you are partially registered, you are not entitled to apply for welfare benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance or Income Support except in certain circumstances. Further advice should be sought from staff in your Student Services Hub if you are concerned about how you will manage financially.

  • Support availability

    If you have a disability or other specific support arrangements, you should investigate how/whether these will be available to you on your return from intermission. Please contact your Student Services Hub for further advice.

  • Tier 4 requirements

    If you have a Tier 4 visa your intermission will be reported to the Home Office in line with the University’s responsibilities as a Tier 4 sponsor. You shouldn't remain in the UK during a period of intermission. Your Tier 4 visa will be curtailed (cut short) by the Home Office and won't be valid for re-entry into the UK.

    To return to the UK and resume your studies you will need to make a new Tier 4 entry clearance application and, if you're eligible, will require a new Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).


You are strongly advised not to take time out with no constructive plans to use it, and while you are away from the University, you should consider the best ways to re-equip yourself for your return to your studies.

How to intermit

Once you have decided to intermit you need to submit your request to intermit for approval. Your request will be considered by your department and, if required, also by the relevant dean. You are strongly advised to discuss your request with your department before completing the online form, and this should speed up the process once the form has been submitted.

Please read the following information before filling out the form:

  • Undergraduate students


    General information

    It is possible to take time out from your course - with permission - for one term, two terms or one academic year (stage). In exceptional circumstances, a period of up to two academic years away from our University may be allowed as long as it does not exceed your maximum period of study.

    Depending on the structure of your course, and the point in the year at which you intermit, it may be necessary to repeat a period of study in the year in which you return. For example, if you intermit towards the end of the autumn term, even though you will have studied some modules and completed some coursework, you would normally be required to start the year again, from the beginning of the autumn term. Some courses can be recommenced at the start of the spring term, if the whole of the autumn term has been completed.

    It is not permissible, however, for students to elect to repeat a stage of study with the sole purpose of improving grades. Only a Board of Examiners can impose or offer a repeat stage, and it would usually only be offered to students who do not meet the requirements to progress to the next stage of study.

    What happens when I intermit?

    Once approval for intermission has been given, your registration status will be changed from full-time to partial registration, which means that you will no longer be entitled to attend tuition. See the information 'While you are away' for more details.

    Please note that if you are partially registered, you cannot do voluntary or paid work for the Students’ Union, stand for election or hold an official position within the Students’ Union.

    Deadlines for intermitting

    Final-year students will be permitted to intermit from the University only if permission has been given before the Monday of the sixth week of the Spring Term.

    The final deadline for permission to intermit in the first and second years is 4pm on Friday of week 30 (or the working day two weeks immediately prior to the first day of the examination period).

    • Deadline for intermission requests for final year students is 4pm on Monday 19 February 2018
    • Deadline for intermission requests for first and second years is 4pm on Friday 27 April 2018

    Maximum period of study

    Our undergraduate students have a maximum period in which to complete their studies. This is set at the point at which you register, and is normally the length of your programme plus two additional years. This is to allow some flexibility in cases where you find you must intermit, or you fail a stage of study and must repeat it, or you want to transfer to a new course and must retake a stage of study. Transfers of programme are still included in the original maximum period unless they involve moving to or from a four year course. However, you must complete your studies within this maximum period.

    Each of the following counts as one additional year. You will not be permitted to do any of these actions more than twice, or exceed two of these actions in any combination:

    • repeating a stage (whether by full or part-time attendance)
    • undertaking reassessment the following year without attendance
    • transferring to a new course and repeating a stage
    • intermitting for part or all of a year

    If your intermission is due to serious extenuating circumstances, such as a severe medical condition, then the Dean can consider extending your maximum period of study by one year. For some professional courses, however, the regulatory body rules may mean that the maximum period can not be extended, even in the case of serious extenuating circumstances.

    Further details about the length of study for each award can be found in the Framework for University Awards in our Undergraduate Rules of Assessment.

    Notes for Law Students

    The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board will generally require a degree to be completed within six years in order to be recognised as a Qualifying Law Degree for the purposes of professional qualification.

    The lack of a Qualifying Law Degree will affect you only if you are hoping to qualify as a barrister or solicitor in England or Wales.

    If you need further information, contact your Student Services Hub or visit the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

  • Postgraduate taught students

    It is possible to take time out from your course - with permission - for one term, two terms or one academic year (stage). In exceptional circumstances, a period of up to two academic years away from our University may be allowed.

    Depending on the structure of your course and the point in the year at which you intermit, it may be necessary to repeat a period of study in the year in which you return. For example, if you intermit towards the end of the autumn term, even though you will have studied some modules and completed some coursework, you would normally be required to start the year again, from the beginning of the autumn term. Some courses can be recommenced at the start of the spring term if the whole of the autumn term has been completed.

    What happens when I intermit?

    Once approval for intermission has been given, your registration status will be changed to partial registration, which means that you will no longer be entitled to attend tuition. See the information below 'While you are away' for more details.

    Please note that, if you are partially registered, you cannot do voluntary or paid work for the Students’ Union, stand for election or hold an official position within the Students’ Union.

    Deadlines for intermitting

    The deadline for intermission requests for postgraduate students is 4pm on Friday 27 April 2018. If you are experiencing difficulties with completing your studies after this date, then please speak to your Department for advice on extenuating circumstances.

  • Postgraduate research students


    What happens when I intermit?

    Once approval for intermission has been given, your registration status will be changed to partial registration, which means that you will no longer be entitled to supervision or to attend any modules or training events. See the information below 'While you are away' for more details.

    Please note that, if you are partially registered, you cannot do voluntary or paid work for the Students’ Union, stand for election or hold an official position within the Students’ Union.

While you are away

You will continue to have access to your Essex email account, and the University will use this to remain in contact with you. Please make sure you continue to change your password when prompted. If you forget your password or can't login contact our IT Helpdesk.

Keep an eye on your Essex email account as we will e-mail you about aspects of your return to your studies, and there will be opportunities for you to sign up to relevant mailing lists so that you can keep in touch with what is going on at Essex.

There will also be University Facebook groups that you may want to sign up to.

You are also advised to ensure that you keep alternative copies of any essential documents from your M-drive in case you inadvertently allow your account to lapse.

  • Library access

    Taught students

    You will continue to have some Library access while you are intermitting on the following basis: you will have online access to a restricted set of e-resources which you can access remotely and you will be able to borrow up to five books at a time.

    Research students

    You will have some Library access in the term before you are due to return from intermission on the following basis: you will have online access to a restricted set of e-resources which you can access remotely and you will be able to borrow up to ten books at a time.

    For more information, please contact our Library.

  • Getting ready to return

    Where necessary, you should ensure that the reasons for your intermission are addressed and resolved prior to your return, making use of University support services where appropriate.

  • Visas

    You must ensure that you comply with any visa conditions during your period of intermission. If you hold a Tier 4 visa you should contact our International Services Team for information on complying with your visa conditions during your period of intermission.

    A CAS needs to be requested up to four months before your intended return date. Please email casquery@essex.ac.uk to request one.