Chapter 13 - Procedures for the interruption and voluntary withdrawal of taught students

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  1. Procedure and sources of advice
    1. Before making a decision to apply to interrupt or withdraw, students must consult with their personal tutor, who may give academic advice with respect to module availability and programme structure. Students are also strongly advised to consult with other sources available within the University, in order that they may be fully aware of the consequences of that decision, and other options, which may be open to them. Students who are funded by a Research Council, other funding organisation or overseas sponsor should carefully consult the general regulations of their funding organisation/ sponsor if they need to interrupt their studies.

      The following are useful sources of advice:

      Financial Advice:
      http://www.exeter.ac.uk/students/finance/studentfinanceregulations/
      Contact sid@exeter.ac.uk

      The Students' Guild Advice Unit:
      https://www.exeterguild.org/advice/
      Contact advice@exeterguild.com

      FXU Advice Service (For Penryn/ Truro-based students)
      https://www.fxu.org.uk/news/article/6013/FXU-Advice-Service/   
      Contact advice@fxu.org.uk

      International Student Support:
      Interrupting your studies
      Contact sid@exeter.ac.uk

      The Faculty Office:
      http://as.exeter.ac.uk/academic-policy-standards/faculty-offices/
  2. Interruptions

    International Students who are Tier 4 visa holders: interrupting your studies can have serious consequences for your immigrations status as the University may be required to report this interruption to the Home Office. This will lead to the curtailment of your visa. It is important that you receive advice on the implications of your decision, which you can access by contacting the International Student Support Office. The circumstances in which the University will report your interruption to the Home Office are outlined hereIf at any point in your period of study, subsequent to registration at the University, you are unable to demonstrate immigration permission to study, you will be advised to take a period of interruption until this issue can be resolved. See also Chapter 14 Procedures for Temporary Visa Interruption and Withdrawal.

    1. The University defines interruption of studies to mean an entire cessation of academic study for a specified period. Periods of interruption do not count towards the timeframe for completion of a programme and a student is not required to undertake academic study, nor will they receive any tuition or supervision, nor be required to pay tuition fees. During a period of interruption, a student’s registration will be suspended until formal re-registration and resumption of studies.
    2. Applications for interruptions to study should be made by the student through their College using an appropriate interruption form from SID. If the College confirms their support for the Interruption, they will initiate the process through SID. The form should be approved by the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of College (PVC), Associate Dean for Education (ADE) or nominee1 and in the cases of Combined Honours students where disciplines in different colleges are involved, by the PVCs/ADEs or nominated delegate of both Colleges, with whom responsibility lies for ensuring that both programme structure and resources will allow the student to return to their programme, and, if the student is residing in University accommodation, by Campus Services.
    3. During periods of interruption, student status will be maintained and such students will be subject to the normal student regulations. However, Student Services are not normally accessible during a period of interruption with the exception of the Chaplaincy, Students’ Guild and the Health Centre. Wellbeing Services and Living Support are able to provide continued support for the first 4 weeks of an interruption. A student will normally retain access to Library facilities and their IT account will normally remain active during their interruption. Care should be taken to ensure that only appropriate communication with the student takes place during this period as they are advised not to engage with study for the duration of their interruption. Therefore, any urgent/ important communications with the student requiring response or attention should be sent to the student’s personal email address and any letters sent in hard copy to their home address where appropriate. On interruption, students must hand back their Unicard. 
    4. The University permits interruptions of study for part-time and full-time students, with good cause2, normally for a minimum of one term, up to one year at a time. At the end of this period, a further period of interruption can be granted by the College (again to a maximum of one year) under exceptional circumstances. The maximum period of approval that may be granted for interruptions in total across the course of a programme should not exceed 2 years. Exceptions beyond this may be made with the approval of the Dean of the relevant Faculty; where a continued interruption is not approved a student will be required to re-register or withdraw, but may apply to reinstate their registration at a later date. Such a request will be considered by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College and will take account of the student's circumstances, the resources available within the College and the academic feasibility of continuing study after a prolonged absence.
    5. Maternity/paternity/shared parental and adoption leave: Students who apply for interruption on the grounds of maternity/paternity/shared parental and adoption leave will not have the period of interruption for these types of leave counted towards their maximum number or total period of interruptions. Please also see the Student Pregnancy, Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Policy.
    6. Students should note that interruptions of study shall normally only be granted when academically viable. Where this is not the case a student shall be required to withdraw. Undergraduate students may not normally apply to interrupt in the summer term for resumption of studies at the beginning of the next academic year.
    7. Students living in University accommodation should note that interruptions to their programme of study may result in them being expected to terminate their accommodation contract under its terms and conditions and they will need to vacate with immediate effect (normally within 7 days). If there are extenuating circumstances for requiring accommodation during an interruption period, the student should contact the Accommodation Office team via Student Information Desk in the first instance.
    8. Prior to resumption of their studies, students who interrupt due to medical circumstances are responsible for supplying Student Records with a medical certificate (including any costs incurred in doing so) indicating their fitness to study. Where students have interrupted following Fitness to Study, Health, Wellbeing and Support for Study or Fitness to Practice procedures, the College and/ or Student Support Services will consider whether any other action is necessary to facilitate a return to study.
    9. Students shall normally fall under the University Conventions and Procedures currently applicable upon the resumption of their studies.
    10. The University of Exeter will not assume any responsibility for students whilst interrupted from their studies at the University.
    11. Colleges must clearly communicate to any student considering interruption that, in order to resume studies, students must contact the University or re-register after the end of the interruption period, or they will be deemed to have withdrawn. Colleges mustarrange for appropriate services to be made available to students prior to resumption of studies in order to facilitate their return. Additional student guidance can be found below;

      Interrupted Students Guidance Streatham

      Interrupted Students Guidance Penryn

  3. Withdrawal from study

    International Students only: Withdrawal is always a difficult choice, but for international students it can also have serious immigration implications of which students are often not aware. The immigration rules are not lenient, and very rarely make allowances for compassionate circumstances. It is vital that international students are aware of the ramifications of their decision before it is finalised, and understand what actions they must take after the withdrawal to ensure that they are allowed to study in the UK in the future. It is a requirement of the Immigration Office that only authorised University personnel in the International Student Support Office interview and sign off forms for students who wish to withdraw from their studies. For withdrawals relating to temporary visa interruptions, please see Chapter 14 - Temporary Visa Interruption and Withdrawal.

    1. Students are permitted to withdraw from their programme of study at any time and for any reason, but are reminded that any fees or fines outstanding must still be paid.
    2. On withdrawing from a programme, registration is terminated, and the student ceases to be a student of the University.
    3. For information on termination of registration for postgraduate students see Statement of Procedures: Periods of Study and Changes to Registration Status for Taught Postgraduate Students.
    4. When a student ceases to attend without giving notice, the College should make reasonable efforts to contact the student and ascertain the reasons. If this is unsuccessful, the College should assume that the student has decided to withdraw, and complete a withdrawal form through SID on the student's behalf. Notice of the withdrawal should be sent to the student's last known address, (normally email address).
    5. Students who are withdrawing should contact their College in the first instance to aid the University in understanding the reasons for student withdrawals, and to formally tell the University about the decision to withdraw. Colleges are asked to confirm that they are aware of the student’s decision to withdraw.

Last reviewed August 2018

1 College Student Handbooks will specify those members of staff who have delegated authority from the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of College to approve interruptions and withdrawals. This would normally be Director of programmes and the Education Business Partner.
2 Good Cause normally means of positive benefit to a programme of study or personal, financial or medical circumstances.

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