This guidance relates to both postgraduate taught and postgraduate research programmes and outlines the financial and practical consequences of withdrawing from your studies.
Students withdraw for a myriad of reasons. For example, you may not have settled in London or simply realise you have chosen the wrong course and want to pursue an alternative.
To ensure that withdrawal is a suitable option for you and that you are fully aware of the impact this may have on funding, housing and future study, it is strongly advised that you discuss your case with both your personal tutor or supervisor, and Advice Services before making your final decision. We have lots of information and advice about Who to talk to in our article I'm not sure if I should leave my course or just take a break.
Important to know: If you are studying on a Student Visa, please refer to our guidance on Visa implications and sure to consult with Visa & International Adviser before making your decision.
In this article we address the considerations you need to think about before submitting a withdrawal request:
What will happen with my fees and funding?
You may still be liable for tuition fees and withdrawing can affect your access to funding should you wish to study again in the future.
For further detail, please refer to our specific guidance on this area in Fees & funding when withdrawing.
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 as Halls are exclusively for students. Please speak with the King’s Residences about organising an early release from the contract. They will be able to advise further about moving out dates and how the early release impacts on the rental charges.
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 withdrawing from the course. Speak to Money & Housing Advice if you need further support with this.
Will I lose my TfL student discount once I withdraw?
Yes. You attract this discount because of your enrolment at the institution, so once you leave, you will eventually lose this concession. At certain times of the year, the university must update TfL on withdrawals and this will prompt them to cancel your student discount card.
What happens with the Council Tax Exemption/discount that I have enjoyed at my property?
This is linked to enrolment on a full-time course so once you withdraw, you lose this discount or exemption. You are responsible for updating your Local Authority as they will need to review your council tax bill to take into account this relevant change of circumstance.
How are welfare benefits affected by my withdrawal?
Once you stop studying, you are no longer a student and therefore, should be free to apply for welfare benefits, if necessary. The usual restrictions on full-time students should no longer apply.
If on the other hand, you are someone who has continued to access welfare benefits whilst studying, for example, you are a lone parent, then ensure that you update the benefit provider that you have left the course, so they can take this relevant change into consideration. For means tested benefits, this is likely to result in an increase in your entitlements as student loan income is likely to be reduced.
Please seek advice and support from Citizens Advice if you are at all unsure about this.
If I withdraw before the end of the academic year, will I still pay the full tuition fee?
Once your withdrawal is finalised by Student Records, the amount charged will be reviewed to ensure it reflects your period of enrolment. The longer you have been enrolled, the more you can expect to pay and vice-versa.
In exceptional circumstances, where there has been a delay in submitting your withdrawal due to unforeseen circumstances, such as ill health, it is worth discussing this with your department, as this may help to reduce the final charge.
Are there any exceptions to this fee charging policy?
Yes, there are some courses where the charging arrangements differ. This is likely to be the case for King’s Online Courses and the International Foundation Courses. Please contact Student Records for more information on these.
What if I have paid too much. Can I expect a refund?
Once your tuition fee is determined, it will be confirmed by an email from Student Records. They will also advise Credit Control (Finance) who will update your charge, if necessary. At that point, if you have overpaid, you should request a refund via Student Records.
Please also remember, if you have paid a non-refundable deposit, this could cancel out a refund, depending on the figures. For more information visit Student Fee Payments.
I used a Postgraduate Loan to pay my tuition fees. Will this money still be refunded back to me?
Postgraduate Loans are paid directly to students and are intended as a contribution towards postgraduate study. You can choose how you spend that loan and therefore, if you used it towards your fees, then yes, any overpaid amount will be refunded back to you.
If I leave early, do I have to repay the Postgraduate Loan back to my funding body?
If you have accessed a Postgraduate Loan and leave before the end of the course, King’s has a duty to inform your funding body of this change. This is because instalments paid are linked to attendance so, in some cases you may find an overpayment is identified once your last day of attendance is confirmed to them. Your funding body will write to you about this and explain your options for settling this bill.
I thought my loans were only repayable once I started working and earning over the £21k threshold?
To a large degree, this is true. However, the Postgraduate Loan is usually paid in 3 instalments and their release is dependent upon attendance each term.
So on occasion, where an instalment is paid (assuming attendance) but later the funding body learn of an earlier withdrawal, an overpayment notice may be sent out to cover the instalment paid in error. You can help avoid this by contacting your funding body as early as possible, to update them on your change of registration.
I have spent all the money. What should I do if they ask for some money back?
Once you have received the overpayment notice, your options will be explained. You can usually either:
- Pay back the full amount immediately
- Agree an instalment plan to pay back what you can afford and review it as your circumstances change.
Can you remind me about the repayment arrangements for postgraduate loans?
I have been awarded a scholarship/bursary. What happens with that funding upon my withdrawal?
If you have been awarded a scholarship or bursary, it is important to check whether there are implications when withdrawing early. If you have been given written terms and conditions governing the payment, then refer to those for guidance.
You might also like to speak to your personal tutor, supervisor or programme administrator who should also be able to guide you on funding implications if the payment has been organised through King’s. If you are a postgraduate research (PGR) student, you may be best to approach the Centre for Doctoral Studies who may be able to support you.
What happens if I need funding for future studies?
Can I be funded again if I enrol on to a new postgraduate course in the future?
As things stand, the Postgraduate Loan is intended to be accessed just once. So, for many, a second Postgraduate Loan application will be denied. Given restrictions like this, you are strongly encouraged to seek advice about funding implications before committing to a withdrawal in case future plans will be impeded. On occasion, an interruption or transfer may be preferable, to protect funding entitlements.
If you are uncertain about how to proceed, we recommend reading I'm not sure if I should leave my course or just take a break.
I am withdrawing for reasons outside of my control. Why should I be penalised if I leave my course early?
In certain situations, a new application for the Postgraduate Loan will be permitted even if you have accessed all or some of the loan in the past. To qualify you must satisfy your funding body that you had ‘compelling personal reasons’ (CPR) for the original withdrawal. These are reasons outside of your control and might include (but is not limited to), serious ill health or a close bereavement, all of which negatively impacted on your ability to study/attend on the original course.
In these instances, letting your funding body know and providing supporting evidence can help improve your access to a second Postgraduate Loan to fund a brand new eligible course.