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Voluntary Suspension

Sometimes things come up that mean it’s not possible for us to continue studying. Pregnancy, illness, caring responsibilities, significant financial issues… there’s lots of things that may mean that you have to consider taking a break from your studies to focus on some other things for a little while. The Voluntary Suspension procedure allows for students who need to take time out of study.

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What should I know about Voluntary Suspension?

When you’re in Voluntary Suspension, you cannot attend any classes, submit any assignments, or do any formal studying related to your course; this is different from other registration statuses such as Academic Suspension or Registration with Attendance where you may be completing some element of your course to allow for progression or completion of your studies.

You can usually only apply to take up to one academic year in Voluntary Suspension, but this can in special circumstances, be extended to two. Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students can apply up to the end of week seven of semesters one and two if they are looking to take Voluntary Suspension for that current semester. You can also apply in advance of a semester starting if you know you will need that period on leave. Postgraduate Research students can apply for Voluntary Suspension at any point up to when they are registered in ‘writing up’.

International students on Tier 4/Student visas are not eligible to remain in the UK whilst on Voluntary Suspension and if you are an international students considering taking time out of study, you are strongly advised to contact the International Student Support Team for advice.

You are still classed as a full-time or part-time student when you are in Voluntary Suspension even though you are not attending classes. This means that you cannot receive benefits such as Universal Credit (unless you normally have entitlement to claim while you study), but full-time students will remain exempt from Council Tax. Being in Voluntary Suspension may also impact on the student funding you can receive from bodies such as SAAS and SFE, so it’s worth getting advice from us on your specific circumstances so we can tell you what funding you may be able to receive.

What is the process for Voluntary Suspension?

There is a form to complete (available via the Voluntary Suspension link below in useful resources) which will ask you for information on when you would like to request time away from study and when you expect to return to study. You will be asked why you like to enter into Voluntary Suspension which is your opportunity to explain your circumstances and why this time will be helpful for you. You can also submit supporting evidence if relevant (such as a medical certificate or doctor’s letter, for example).

You should then submit your application to Personal Development Adviser/Adviser of Studies – you can usually find out who this is via Pegasus. Your application will then be considered and you should get a formal notification if it’s accepted; your status on Pegasus will also be updated to say ‘Voluntary Suspension.’ It’s a good idea to make sure this happens so that you don’t run into any confusion down the line!

How can the Advice Hub help me with Voluntary Suspension?

Often students like to come to us for a chat about their circumstances to help them decide whether or not Voluntary Suspension is the right choice. Our advisers can support you with how to submit your application, what you should say on the form and the relevant dates involved, and how being in Voluntary Suspension might impact on your funding.

Useful resources

Voluntary Suspension

International Student Support Team

Book an appointment

We’re open Monday to Friday all year round other than a Christmas closure and on public holidays. You can book an appointment by visiting the link to our booking form or you can email us.

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You can find us on Level 1 of the Union based in the Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell Wing of the Learning and Teaching Building. We are fully accessible.

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