As a university student, you may wonder if you’ve made the right choice. This may be about the modules you’ve taken, your dissertation area or even simply the societies you’ve decided to join. However, for a university student, one of the most crucial things that you might be wondering if you’ve made the right choice about is your future and in this case, I’m specifically referring to your choice about studying your degree.
For some students, this may go a little further than wondering and you might realise for some reason or another that continuing with your degree isn’t what’s right for you. However, as dropping out of university isn’t a subject that commonly gets talked about, you’ll probably have questions about this process, which is exactly what this article is for.
Continue reading to learn more about what is involved in dropping out of university, including how you would go about doing so. Other than that, you can find out more about how to decide if you should drop out and other important details, student finance.
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How to drop out of university in the UK
Dropping out of university is just as the name suggests, where a student permanently withdraws from their university course. However, while its definition might be obvious, the process of actually going about dropping out of university isn’t.
In order to drop out of university, there are several steps that students need to follow. These steps are that students need to first talk to their university and then to confirm their withdrawal, that students need to contact student finance and then to figure out what they’re going to do next.
Look below at the following sections to gain more detailed information about these steps. These will go through the significance of each step as well as more information about how students would go about doing them.
Please note that the information in this section and the following ones is taken from this page on the government website. You can also look at this article by Prospects to learn more about the process of dropping out of university.
Step 1: Talk to your university about dropping out
If you’re thinking about dropping out of your university course, the first thing you’ll need to do is to talk to your university. At first, this might be with a student support officer or a careers advisor at your university, who will be able to help you figure out your next steps and if dropping out is really a good choice for you.
You can also talk to a student finance advisor at your university, who may be able to tell you more about how this would work if you do decide to leave. Also, if you want to drop out due to financial difficulties, the student finance advisor may be able to give you guidance relating to this, to see if there are other options for you than dropping out.
When you have officially decided that you do want to leave your university course, you will then need to contact your university to begin the withdrawal process.
Step 2: Finalise when you’re going to drop out of university
To inform your university that you will be dropping out, you’ll need to meet with your personal tutor. From there, you will need to get and then fill out the withdrawal forms from your faculty office.
Once you have completed these and handed them in, you will be able to finalise the date that you will officially leave your university. This will need to be agreed on by you and your university and so especially due to the presence of online learning materials, it won’t just be the date of the last lecture or seminar that you attended.
After this date, you will no longer be a university student and so you won’t be able to attend lectures, seminars, etc. and you won’t have student access to university facilities or online materials.
Step 3: Contact student finance about dropping out of university
When you inform your university that you will be dropping out, they will inform student finance and send them certain details, including the date that you left. By doing this, your university will no longer receive tuition fee payments from student finance on your behalf.
However, you will still need to contact student finance yourself to inform them that you will be dropping out. This is to ensure that your maintenance loan payments will be stopped after you have dropped out.
If you continue to receive maintenance loan payments after you have dropped out or if you received more than you’re entitled to, it is essential that you repay these straight away or that you contact student finance to sort this out.
How student finance works when you drop out of university is a pretty big topic, which can’t be covered in this section alone. Look at its respective section further on in this article to learn more about what you need to do to sort out your student finance when you drop out of university in the UK.
Step 4: Plan for after you drop out of university
Before you drop out of university, it is good to have a plan for what you’re going to do next. You may want to figure this out when you talk to a careers advisor or student support officer at your university, or you may decide that it’s something you want to figure out later on.
If you are in your second or third year of university, the first thing you may want to consider is if you can still gain some kind of qualification, such as a certificate or diploma of higher education. While they aren’t degrees, these qualifications are at a higher level than what you already have and so depending on what you’re thinking of going into next, they may help when it comes to job applications. Plus, they give you something to show for the time you spent at university.
Other than that, after leaving university, you may decide that you wish to work. The best place to start is to find an entry-level position, where you don’t need specific qualifications.
You may even find that you wish to do this while travelling or that you wish to become self-employed, whether this is by starting your own small business or by doing freelance work. For more information about this, check out this article by Indeed.
Alternatively, you may wish to take a gap year before you officially decide what you want to do next. In this, you may decide to travel, work or do whatever else. You can learn more about taking a gap year, by looking at this Think Student article.
How does dropping out of university affect student loans?
As mentioned above, when you drop out of university, it is essential that you contact student finance. However, you might be wondering how your student loans are actually sorted out and how much you will have to repay once you drop out.
If you drop out of university in the UK, the amount that you will have to repay will depend on what kind of student loan you’ve received and when you actually dropped out.
As previously mentioned, your university will tell student finance the date that you left the course and so you won’t have to provide these details yourself. The following information is taken from this page on the government website.
How does dropping out of university affect tuition fee loans?
For tuition fee student loans, you will need to repay up to the term that you leave. However, how much you repay will depend on which term this is.
If you leave during or at the end of the first term, you will need to repay 25% of the tuition fee student loan for that year. If you leave during or at the end of the second term, you will need to repay 50% of the tuition fee student loan for the year. If you leave in the final term or at the end of the academic year, you will need to repay the entire tuition fee student loan for the year.
An example of how this may look is below (The numbers will vary depending on the university and degree):
- If you leave in your first term (between September – December), you will have to pay back 25% of your student loan for that year (around £2,312.50).
- If you leave in your second term (between January – March), you will have to pay back 50% of your student loan for that year (around £4,625).
- If you leave in your third term (between March – July), you will have to pay back 100% of your student loan for that year (£9,250).
How does dropping out of university affect maintenance loans?
If you receive maintenance loan, then your student finance provider will need to reassess how much maintenance loan you should have received based on when you left your course. This is because your maintenance loan is calculated based on the number of weeks you spent on your university course during the term and so if you left part way through, you will no longer be entitled to this.
If it ends up that you were overpaid in your maintenance loan as you dropped out, you will need to repay this immediately or contact student finance if that is not possible at the time. However, there is no need to panic about this as the Student Loans Company will contact you if there was an overpayment that you need to return.
For example, if you receive £1,600 to cover you for a 12-week term but you leave after 6 weeks, you would only be entitled to £800 of that loan to cover you for those 6 weeks. This would mean that you would need to repay the other £800 immediately.
For both tuition fee loans and maintenance loans, you will need to make the repayments for the student loans that you were entitled to in the regular way. You can learn more about making student loan repayments by looking at this Think Student article.
Is it bad to drop out of university?
If you’re thinking about dropping out of university, one of the main things you may be thinking is whether it is a “bad” thing to do. In this case, “bad” may be in terms of the wrong decision or it could be in terms of looking bad.
Either way, no it’s not bad to drop out of university. In fact, many people who drop out still end up being incredibly successful.
For example, Steven Bartlett, who you might know from Dragon’s Den, dropped out of university after his first lecture and is now a millionaire and the youngest ever investor on Dragon’s Den. For more information about his story, check out this article by The Guardian.
University just isn’t for everyone and Steven Bartlett’s success story after dropping out of university isn’t a standalone. You can also find a list of other incredibly successful people who dropped out of university by looking at this article by Oxford Learning College.
If you’re wondering whether dropping out of university is the wrong decision, then I can’t give you a definite answer as it depends solely on you and your situation. However, as you’ll be able to see in the following section, there are a range of things that you should consider in order to help you make your decision.
Should you drop out of university?
Having decided to read this article about dropping out of university, it may be that you are considering doing so yourself. The short answer to this question about whether you should drop out of university is that it is ultimately up to you and that there is no absolute answer.
As we’ve already established in the previous section, it’s not bad to drop out of university, however, whether or not it is the right decision will depend on you and your situation. Due to this, there are a range of things that you need to consider when making this choice.
What should you consider when deciding if you should drop out of university?
In order to decide whether or not you should drop out of university, you’ll need to think about whether it is right for you and your situation. First of all, is it right for you and your health. Your health is important and regardless of whether this is your mental health or your physical health, you shouldn’t let university get in the way of protecting this.
Alternatively, you may find that you can cope with university while also being able to protect yourself and both your mental and physical health. Just remember, this will all come down to you and what you feel is right for you rather than what others, such as your friends or family, think is best.
Another thing to consider when deciding if you should drop out of university is what your plans for the future are. For example, if you want to go into a very specific field, such as medicine, nursing or even law, you will need a degree to be able to get into these careers and so dropping out might not be the best idea.
However, you may also want to consider whether you even still have the same plans as when you started your degree and if you still want to go into a career, where you would need a degree. When looking into this, you can also try to see if it is possible for you to still meet your goals if you do decide to drop out.
Just remember that once again you will need to weigh everything up as your health and wellbeing are still more important than your plans for the future. To get more about what you should be considering when deciding if you should drop out of university, check out this Think Student article.
Dropping out vs transferring university in the UK
If you’ve decided that the university course, you’re on or the university you are at isn’t right for you, one option you have is to drop out. However, you may instead wish to transfer to a different university or different university course.
Transferring university might be a better option for you than dropping out altogether. This might be the case, for a range of reasons, including if you want to pursue a different career path but still need a degree; if you like the course you’re on but feel that the university isn’t right for whatever reason; if you like the university you’re at but feel the course isn’t right for whatever reason and many more.
However, you might find that dropping out is still the right choice for your situation. This may be this case for reasons such as if you’re struggling with your mental health and wellbeing at university; if your plans have changed and now you want to pursue a career, where you don’t need a degree or a range of other things.
Figuring out if you should drop out of university altogether or if you should transfer university or course can be difficult. One of the best ways to help you decide is to learn more about both options.
This article has given you more information about dropping out of university and the process involved in that. You can check out this Think Student article, which will take you through transferring university or university course and the process involved in this.