Taking an absence, changing, withdrawing

How to make a change to your studies and what the implications are.

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We want you to be happy with your studies at Goldsmiths and we have procedures for students who need to take a break or make a change.

These can be big decisions with consequences so you can come to talk to us at the Student Centre for help and advice on making them.

Interruption/taking an absence (changed from March 2020 to end of 2019/20 academic year)

Changes to Interruptions effective from March 2020 to end of 2019/20 academic year.

In light of the current situation concerning Covid-19 (coronavirus) the College has revised its interruption process. This process applies with immediate effect and remains in place until the end of the 2019/20 academic year.

The changes are made to support students needing to take an interruption of studies and to prevent any detriment (including financial, visa or enrolment detriments) wherever possible.

Illness and short term absence from your studies (Authorised Absence)

If you are unwell for a short period of time and need to be absent from your programme of study for a period of up to 4 weeks, the College would usually grant a period of ‘authorised absence’.

Since 23 March 2020, the College has needed to remove all face to face teaching and learning activity and has therefore suspended its usual attendance requirements.

Teaching is now being delivered online. You are expected to continue to engage with scheduled teaching and learning activities (as set out by your department). If you are unwell or otherwise unable to engage with your studies remotely, you should inform your department(s) in the first instance.

As the attendance requirements for students have been suspended there is no need for you to obtain an authorised absence.

Interruption of Study – what to consider before making an interruption request

Teaching has now moved to online provision (effective as of 23 March) and remaining assessments completed remotely. This has been done in order to support students to continue and complete their current programme of study.

Additionally, a number of measures have also been introduced to provide further support where additional challenges (such as illness or increased caring responsibilities) are experienced during this time.

It is not yet known when the current situation might change and when the College might be able to resume its normal activities.

The College encourages all students to continue with their studies on the basis of the changes and additional measures that have been put in place. You may wish to consider taking an interruption of studies if your circumstances make it impossible to continue your studies at this time.

Before reaching this decision, please ensure you have read and understood all information. Your department can advise you on your programme of study and staff from the Student Centre can advise on the financial implications of taking an interruption.

Your department will need to reach a decision on whether they can support your interruption request. They will need to establish and confirm whether they are able to accept you returning to your programme on the date requested in your completed form. 

Deadlinefor requests

The College would not normally permit interruption requests from undergraduate and postgraduate taught  students in the summer term (requiring all requests to be made in advance of 31 March in any academic year). In light of the current situation, the College will now consider interruption requests  submitted by 15 May 2020.

Making an application

You should use the 2019-2020 Interruption Form (PDF) to make your application and ensure that it is completed in full by you, signed off by your department and submitted to the Enrolments and Records Team via  studentrecords (@gold.ac.uk).

Applications should be submitted within two weeks of the effective start date of the requested interruption (the last date of attendance as indicated on the interruption form). 

In completing your application, you should ensure you have read the information provided on financial and other implications when taking a period of interruption. 

The College is unable to accept retrospective interruption requests, unless there are exceptional reasons that prevented you from submitting a request any earlier.  Where an application is made on the basis of the current situation and is submitted by 15 May 2020, interruptions will be granted with effect from the start of the Summer Term 2020.

Maximum Interruption period possible

You can normally only  take a maximum of two years of interruption during your programme of study under the College’s Academic Regulations. For any interruptions relating to the current situation concerning Covid-19, the first 12 months of this period of interruption will  not  count towards the maximum two year period permitted under the College’s Regulations.

Date of return

In requesting an interruption, you will be asked to confirm your expected date of return. This should be 12 months from the date the interruption commenced so that you can resume your studies at the same point in the subsequent academic year. If you require a shorter or longer period of interruption you should discuss this with your department as it might not be possible for you to resume your studies at any other stage.

Fee liability for interruption requests

The College’s tuition fee liability continues to apply.

In light of the current situation, the College has revised its refund policy to ensure that you are not financially disadvantaged should you need to take a period of interruption in the current academic year. These changes are as follows:

  • For self-funding students: if you have paid your fees upfront at the start of the academic year, you can be refunded the amount in excess of the tuition fee charged in accordance with the fee liability and the terms of the interruption set out here 
  • For students funded by the Student Loans Company: if the College has received your tuition fee for the Summer Term and you subsequently have a period of interruption approved, you will not be charged a fee for the Summer Term 2021 (on the basis that the College has already received your tuition fee payment)

Research Degree Students

You can take an interruption of study at any point in the academic year for a minimum of 2 months to a maximum of 2 years. However, interruptions are not permitted in completion and continuation status unless there are extenuating circumstances and these will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Students with a Tier 4 Visa

For those international students on a Tier 4 visa, there may be additional implications to taking an interruption to your studies, if you are considering this, please contact  immigration (@gold.ac.uk)  to discuss this with them first.

If granted, an interrupted status would prevent you from accessing student loans/other funding  sources, Student Hardship Funds or other financial benefits relating to your student status. You would retain Goldsmiths IT accounts and access library resources but would not be actively studying or submitting work for assessment.

You should ensure that you have understood all implications when taking a period of interruption before submitting your interruption request.

Interruption/taking an absence

Illness and unavoidable circumstances

You should inform your department(s) on the first day of absence and immediately upon return.

You must supply a medical certificate showing the cause of absence if this has lasted for one week or more.

Authorised Absence

If you need to be absent for under four weeks you can request to take an Authorised Absence. This is commonly used when students suffer a bereavement.

This is usually arranged through an appropriate tutor in your academic Department.

You will be charged your fees as normal during this time.

Interruption of Study

If you need to take a longer break, you may do so up to 31 March in any academic year for a maximum of two years in total. 

You should advise your department within one week of your last day of attendance.

Use the 2019-2020 Interruption Form (PDF)  to make your application and ensure that it is completed by you, signed off by your department and submitted to Enrolments and Records via studentrecords (@gold.ac.uk) within 2 weeks of the effective date.

Providing you have permission for the interruption, and depending on when you leave, you may be entitled to a partial refund of your fees.

If you are in receipt of a tuition fee loan and/or maintenance loan, please contact Student Finance to discuss any implications on your funding.

Research degree students - you may take an interruption of study at any point in the academic year for a minimum of 2 months to a maximum of 2 years.  However, interruptions are not permitted in completion and continuation status unless there are extenuating circumstances and these will be dealt with on a case by case basis. 

For those international students on a Tier 4 visa, there may be additional implications to taking an interruption to your studies, if you are considering this, please contact immigration@gold.ac.uk to discuss this with them first

Regulations

This is covered in the Progression sections of the Academic Manual for Taught Programmes and Research Programmes.

Changing course or restarting

You must speak to your current Departmental Senior Tutor. They will discuss your options and (if approved) complete the Change of programme form (PDF) which you will need to sign. You will then be responsible for seeking approval of the Senior Tutor responsible for the programme to which you want to transfer. 

If you are a research degree student, you will need to discuss the change with both your Supervisor and your Departmental Research Administrator. If approved, they will complete the Change of programme form (PDF) which you will need to sign. If funded by a research council or sponsor you are responsible for ensuring they have approved any change and will also need to notify the Graduate School of this change via graduateschool (@gold.ac.uk).  The Research Degrees section provides more information on changing mode of study (FT to PT/PT to FT).

Once the form is signed by all relevant persons, it should be returned to Enrolments and Records via studentrecords (@gold.ac.uk) who will update your student record and confirm details by letter.

It's important that any changes are notified promptly as it will have an impact on the fee liability or any refund due. Please note that you are not generally permitted to make changes to your programme after 31 March unless you are a research degree student.  As a research degree student, you may change programme or mode of study at any point in the academic year.

If you are in receipt of a tuition fee loan and/or maintenance loan, please contact Student Finance to discuss any implications on your funding.

Withdrawal/leaving your study

You should first discuss this with a tutor in your department. The Student Centre can also give you advice. There may be other options you haven't thought of.

Use the Withdrawal form (PDF) to make your application and ensure that it is completed by you, signed off by your department and submitted to Enrolments and Records via studentrecords (@gold.ac.uk) within 2 weeks of the effective date.

Depending on when you leave, you may be entitled to a partial refund of your fees. If you are in receipt of a tuition fee loan and/or maintenance loan, please contact Student Finance to discuss any implications on your funding.

Regulations

Withdrawal is covered in the Attendance section of the Academic Manual.