Thinking about intermitting

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.

There is further guidance for postgraduate research students.

Things to consider

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. You should speak to your advisor/supervisor or another member of departmental staff, like Personal Tutor, course director, year director, course administrator. Check your departmental handbook if you aren’t sure who to speak to.

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 be based on standard term dates.

University accommodation

Once you have completed the withdrawal process please advise Accommodation Essex via the Student Services Hub. Provided we agreed to your Early Departure request and you have left your accommodation by the agreed departure date and returned your keys, as per our these Terms and Conditions, your tenancy will end on (a) The expiry of one calendar month from your departure date; (b) The date the Accommodation is re-let, whichever is first to occur.

If you decide to leave your accommodation and return your keys before we have received confirmation of your withdrawal/intermission, and we have not agreed to release you from your contract, you will still be liable for the rent until confirmation has been received. A request for a refund of any accommodation charges you have paid in advance can be made after the process is complete.

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

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 for all terms for which you have been registered, including the instalment for the term in which the intermission takes place. See our fee liability information (.pdf) 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 may 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.

US Loans recipients

If you are in receipt of a US Loans, please be aware that a University approved intermission is not the same as an Approved Leave of Absence under 34 CFR 668.22(d). You may be subject to our Return of Title IV Funds Policy (.pdf). Please contact our Funding team at usloans@essex.ac.uk for advice on your individual circumstances.

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

Students choose to intermit for a variety of reasons which may include how their physical or mental health is impacting their studies. 

If you have an existing disability or you are intermitting on medical grounds, please contact the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service to explore whether you may require support during and after your intermission. 

You can also find further information about the support available during intermission via our support webpage

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Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub who will be happy to assist you.