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Leave of Absence - Things to consider

Establishing the reasons behind you wanting to take time out is important to assisting you. It is likely that there are other options available to allow you to continue with your studies. However, the University will not put barriers in your way if you have a legitimate case for wanting time out. Common reasons (but not limited to) for requesting a Leave of Absence include :

  • Personal issues These could include caring for a family member, taking a ‘gap-year’, or just wanting to review options. If you will be caring for a family member you should indicate this when requesting a Leave of Absence.
  • Bereavement
  • Financial hardship This may include unexpected loss of income, family financial hardship, lack of funding, debt, or any other financial issue.
  • Illness This includes any illness affecting your ability to study this mental health or physical health. It is important to see a medical professional while you are unwell because you will need to provide medical documentation indicating that you are fit to return to your studies.
  • Academic Reasons These could include wanting to change your main subject, or deciding to investigate transferring to other Universities. You must take a leave if you are absent from your studies for more than 2 consecutive weeks.

Working out why you want to take time out will determine which adviser in Student Services it is most appropriate for you to see.

Financial Implications

Taking a leave can have a significant impact on your present and future finances. There are factors which you may not have considered and it is important that you have the relevant information before making your decision. For advice contact the Money Advisers, Student Services, Email:

Tuition fees

There are two things to consider regarding tuition fees: whether you are liable for them, and if you are able to request repeat funding.

For information on Tuition Fees liability please see:


Evening degree students

Taught Postgraduates

Research Postgraduates

If you are funded by a public funding body for tuition fees i.e. Student Finance England (SFE), Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI), Student Finance Wales (SFW) or Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) or Postgraduate Research Funding:

SFE, SFNI, SFW and SAAS have a system whereby a student is given one extra year of student funding, this is called plus 1 year of funding. If you have had previous funding or a previous Leave of Absence you should consult the Money Advisers at Student Services to discuss your personal circumstances.

Taught/Research Postgraduates
If funded by a UK funding body, ie SFE, SFNI, SFW or SAAS contact the Money Advisers at Student Services to discuss your individual circumstances

Postgraduates with external funding
Postgraduate students will need to contact their funding body to discuss if repeat funding is applicable.

If you are unsure whether you are entitled to repeat funding, or if your repeat funding relies on securing medical or other documentation, you must consult the Money Advisers at Student Services.

Tuition Fees

SFE, SFNI and SFW have 3 attendance dates when you have to be in attendance/registered to allow your tuition fees to be sent on your behalf to the University. If you are not in attendance on one of these dates, you will be personally liable for the outstanding tuition fee. 

For example:

Fee £9250 on LOA for Semester 1 and Semester 2

  • Not in attendance/registered on 07/01/19 - liability ¼ (quarter) £2312.50.

Fee £9250 on LOA Semester 2

  • Not in attendance/registered on 01/04/19 - liability ½ (half) fee £4625.

Fee £1820

  • Not in attendance/registered on 07/01/19 - liability ¼ (quarter) fee £445.

Fee £1820

  • Not in attendance/registered on 01/04/19 - liability ½ (half) fee £910.

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Advice and Support Centre
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 46 2020


Student services

Eden Court
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AS
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 46 2720
Fax:+44 (0)1334 46 4007

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We welcome feedback about your experience with Student Services. Whether your experience has been positive or negative we would like to hear about it so we can understand what we did right or where we could have done better. If there are issues with the service that need to be resolved or if you haven’t formed a good rapport with your Adviser/Counsellor we may put you in touch with an alternative member of our team or signpost you to an external source of support (if appropriate). Please share your feedback with Adam Welstead ( or Dr Penny Turnbull ( Assistant Directors of Student Services. Alternatively, you can fill in our Comments and Suggestions online survey.

Please also be aware that the University has Complaints Handling Procedure for formally addressing concerns.

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