Important to know:
- This information contains relevant considerations for all undergraduate students, but if you are studying on a Student visa you must consider the implications for your visa if you decide to interrupt. For this please read Visa implications of interrupting.
- The UK Home Office introduced a new immigration system which came into effect from 5 October 2020. The new “Student Visa” route replaced the “Tier 4 (General)” visa route. Please read our article New Student Visa Immigration Route for more information.
In this article we address your considerations before taking an interruption in your studies:
What happens with my fees and funding?
Taking an interruption will likely affect your financial situation and any funding you may be in receipt of.
Please read our information on Fees & funding when interrupting your studies.
What will happen about my housing?
If you are living in King’s accommodation, once you stop studying, you will need to find alternative housing because Halls of Residence are exclusively for enrolled students.
Important to know: There are exceptions we can consider, such as if you estranged from your family. Please contact Advice & Guidance to discuss your housing options during your break if this is your situation.
You’ll need to speak to the Residences team about organising an early release from your contract. They will be able to advise further about moving out dates and how the early-release impacts on the rental charges. You can email or call on 020 3660 2662.
If you live in private halls or at a private rented property, then you should check your contract for terms and conditions. It may be that you are unable to break the lease early, even though you are interrupting from the course.
Please contact us if you need further advice and support with this.
What happens with my Council Tax Exemption?
The good news is you remain classed as a full-time student during an interruption, so the exemption should still be available if you meet all the other conditions. If your Local Authority query this, please contact us for advice and assistance.
Your Confirmation of Study letter unfortunately won't be available to you as an automatic download while you're interrupted. If you need a letter for this purpose, please log a case with us and provide as much detail as possible.
For more information on Council Tax and whether you should be paying it or exempt, please refer to What is Council Tax and do I have to pay it?
How are Welfare Benefits affected by my interruption?
While you are on an ‘interrupted’ status, you retain your full-time student status so generally, the rules around accessing welfare benefits continue to be restrictive. Having said that, it is a complicated picture and seeking further advice from Advice & Guidance would be advisable, particularly if you are interrupting due to ill health or caring responsibilities.
Will I lose my Student Oyster card once I interrupt?
You receive this discount because of your enrolment, so once you interrupt, yes, you will eventually lose this concession. The university updates TFL on interruptions at regular points throughout the year and this will prompt them to cancel your Student Oyster card. When you return to the course, you will have to reapply to TFL for this travel discount.
What services can I still access from King’s whilst interrupted?
Access to Libraries and other learning resources should also be available but may be restricted. We advise checking with your department for full details and how to keep in contact while you are on a break.
You will also be able to access student support services at King’s, which includes our the specialist Advice & Guidance teams for Money, Housing & Visa advice, Frontline Student Services for a wide range of support including documentation, as well as Careers & Employment, Counselling, Disability Support and King’s NHS Health Centre.
How could taking a break affect my career?
We always advise considering your longer term career plans when planning to take an interruption of studies. We would recommend booking for a 20-minute Guidance Appointment with a Careers Consultant, to discuss your options.
Careers Consultants offer impartial advice to support you and help you to make the right decision for yourself. This is booked through King's Career Connect.
Important to know: You are likely to find it helpful to speak with your personal tutor/supervisor before your appointment, to develop an understanding of why your current course doesn't suit you or why you’re struggling with it. You can then bring that information to the 1:1 with a Careers Consultant and reflect on it in a confidential and impartial environment.
If I interrupt before the end of the academic year, will I still pay the full years’ tuition fees?
The amount charged is usually determined by the last day you were ‘actively engaged’ on the course (see exceptions below). You should speak to your personal tutor before completing the Change of Registration Form on Student Records so that you can agree your interruption date and an appropriate date to return to the course.
The longer you have attended the course the more fees you will be charged for the year. If relevant, this ‘last day’ will also influence the amount of living cost support paid by your funding body.
Are there any exceptions to this fee rule?
Yes, there are some courses where the charging arrangements differ. This is likely to be the case for King’s Online courses, International Foundation Courses and other short courses offered at King’s.
Please speak to your department directly or your Record Centre for more specific information about these programmes.
I am responsible for paying my own fees and have paid in advance. Can I expect a refund?
Once your interruption is finalised, your tuition fee will be recalculated by your Record Centre. Credit Control will issue a new invoice and if there is credit on your account, you can request a refund via Student Records or leave the funds until you return to study. For more detail you can take a look at the Student Fee Payments FAQs.
Record Centres can be contacted as follows:
Student Finance paid my tuition fees direct to King’s - what if they have paid King’s too much?
If you are funded by Student Finance England (SFE) or regional equivalents, the university will inform them about the change of registration and alert them to any revised charges. This will prompt them to adjust the Fee Loan paid.
Sometime later, you should receive a new financial assessment document from your funding body with the updated Fee Loan figure.
Important to know: Students with US Loans should speak to the Student Funding Office.
Student Finance helped with my living costs too - will interrupting impact on maintenance support?
When your funding body amends the Fee Loan, they will also reassess Maintenance Loans and/or Grants where relevant. Like Fee Loans, these are only paid for as long as you remain enrolled unless you interrupt for health or caring responsibilities, in which case, your funding body will extend your funding by an extra 60 days.
Important to know: As this type of funding is usually paid to you in advance, a mid-year reassessment is likely to result in your entitlement being reduced and an overpayment being identified. Your funding body will write to you about this as they are likely to seek immediate recovery of that overpaid amount.
I thought that loans were only repayable once I graduated and earned over the £25,725 threshold?
Yes, that is usually the case but when you interrupt, if you were paid for a whole term but did not complete it, this will trigger an overpayment request. Money paid towards periods that were completed will not be demanded and are repayable as normal at the end of your studies.
I receive an NHS Bursary, will they also make a request for money back if I interrupt mid-year?
Yes, once the NHS are informed of your interruption, they will review your funding and depending on dates, if an overpayment is identified you will be asked to repay this.
However, you may continue to receive your NHS funding for short periods of ill health, provided that this is authorised by the faculty/department office. If a significant break from study is required funding will be suspended.
The NHS has a maternity leave policy which can provide funding to students taking a break to have a baby.
If you received this funding because you are on a Nursing, Medicine or Dentistry course, please contact your faculty directly for guidance:
I have spent all my maintenance funding. What should I do if I cannot repay it all immediately?
Once you hear from your funding body, your options will be explained. Typically, these will include:
- Making an immediate repayment where you can or
- Having future funding reduced to help cancel out the overpayment.
- In some instances, with Student Finance, you may be able to defer the repayment until you complete the course, if an earlier repayment would put you in severe hardship.
For more details about overpayments and deferring repayment visit Student finance if you suspend or leave your course.
I still have rent and bills to pay but I am too ill to work, how will I manage without student finance?
If you have ongoing financial commitments and are unable to work (or receive financial support from your family or partner) you can ask SFE to continue payments, so as to avoid serious financial difficulty.
Important to know: We strongly advise you to consult a specialist Money Adviser about how to do this and the evidence required.