Funding for re-taking periods of study
Why might I need to re-take a period of study?
Medical and Dental students are usually required to re-take the whole academic year in attendance if they have interrupted their studies or need to re-sit exams.
How will re-taking in attendance affect my Student Finance funding (Years 1-4 of MBBS and year 1 of GEP)?
Certain elements of your Student Finance are affected by re-taking a period of study in attendance, and others are not. If you are a first degree MBBS/BDS student on the 5 year programme, the standard entitlement shown below is to a Student Finance Tuition Fee Loan (and Maintenance Grant/Special Support Grant if you started your course before September 2016) in years one to four of your course, plus one extra year should you need it:
Standard Entitlement to Student Finance
Standard Entitlement = OD*+1
OD (ordinary duration of the course) +1 (extra ‘plus one’ year)
*For medical or dental students, the Ordinary Duration of your course only means the SFE funded years, not the NHS funded years.
If you are not funded by SFE because you normally live in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland, contact a Welfare Adviser for advice about your entitlement.
What happens if I exceed my standard entitlement to student finance?
If you need to repeat a year of study in attendance, in most cases you can use your ‘plus one’ year. For example, if you are in year 1 of GEP (which is the only SFE funded year) you could use your ‘plus one’ year if you needed to repeat that year in attendance. If you need to repeat more than one year of study, you will already have used up your ‘plus one year’ and you will only be eligible for a Student Finance Maintenance Loan plus any supplementary grants e.g. for childcare or dependents, for any retake periods. However, there are exceptions to this rule – see the next section of this advice guide, Re-taking a period of study because of compelling personal reasons.
If you are an MBBS/BDS second degree student who is only eligible for a Student Finance Maintenance Loan in the SFE funded years 1-4, you will not be able to apply for a Student Finance Tuition Fee Loan or Maintenance Grant for any retake years, only a further Student Finance Maintenance Loan and supplementary grants. There is no limit to the number of years that you can receive these for.
Do I need to notify SFE that I am retaking a year of study in attendance?
Queen Mary University of London will process an online notification of your change of circumstances to SFE, to notify them that you are re-taking a period of study in attendance. This should happen automatically, but if you want to check, contact the Student Enquiry Centre, ground floor, Queens Building, Mile End Campus.
I’m re-taking a period of study because of compelling personal reasons – how does this affect my Student Finance?
If you have to re-take a period of study in attendance because of compelling personal reasons which can be health or personal related, and if you have already used up your ‘plus one year’ of funding, you can request SFE exercises its discretion to award you an additional year of Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Grant for your re-take year, if you are normally eligible for these.
If you are not funded by SFE, check with a Welfare Adviser whether you might be able to apply to your funding body for additional discretionary funding.
If you need to re-take more than one year of study and there were no compelling personal reasons that contributed to this, you are unlikely to be awarded any additional discretionary funding on top of the standard entitlement (Maintenance Loan and Supplementary Grants only) for your additional re-take years. If this will cause you financial hardship, a Welfare Adviser can advise you of any available options.
Do I need to have been ill or bereaved to apply for discretionary funding?
Your funding authority should consider a range of circumstances which could be health-related, personal or other compelling reasons. A Welfare Adviser can advise you about the merits of your case. However, there are usually strict criteria about the evidence that you are required to provide – see below.
How do I apply for discretionary funding?
If you wish to apply for discretionary funding, you will usually need at least five documents to apply. You do not need to have these documents before you contact a Welfare Adviser, but this list might help you prepare your application:
☑ Your own letter to your funding authority, to explain:
- What circumstances affected your ability to study effectively
- When your difficulties started and how long they affected you
- How these circumstances affected your ability to study effectively
- How your situation has changed, or will have changed, so that these circumstances are unlikely to adversely affect you when you resume or re-take your studies
Your Welfare Adviser can advise you about this letter, but it can be helpful if you have prepared a draft to show them.
☑ A letter from a professional person or agency to confirm the difficulties that you had and the effect they might have had on your ability to study effectively
This letter might be from a doctor, other health professional or a counsellor. It is important that the letter explains when your ill-health and or other difficulties occurred, and that this is the relevant period for your CPR claim. For example, if you are re-taking the 15-16 academic year, and you are claiming that this is because you failed the 14-15 academic year due to ill health, the medical evidence will need to confirm that your ill health occurred during the 14-15 academic year.
If you have not received help or support from a professional, a letter from a friend or family member who knows about your difficulties may be fine. Your Welfare Adviser can help you decide who might be the best person to write this letter for you.
☑ A letter to confirm that your difficulties have been addressed and that you will be able to study effectively when you resume or re-take your studies (often this information can be included in the same letter as the one above)
If you have been getting medication, treatment or therapeutic help for your difficulties, it is helpful to get a letter to confirm what support you have been getting and how this is helping you.
This letter might be from a doctor, other health professional or a counsellor.
If they are able to, it is useful for them to confirm that you are likely to be able to study more effectively because of this help.
If you are re-taking a period of study in attendance, a letter from the School of Medicine and Dentistry to confirm that you have been granted permission to do this
If you are re-taking a period of study in attendance, a letter from the School of Medicine and Dentistry to confirm that you have been granted permission to do this. This letter is not essential but can be helpful. It could be from your personal mentor, AYT, head of year or any other member of academic staff who knows about your difficulties.
☑ A letter from your Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service
This letter is important because it will outline the aspects of your case that meet the guidance and regulations used by funding authorities to assess applications for additional periods of study.
Can I apply for discretionary funding in NHS funded years (year 5 and beyond of MBBS and years 2-4 of GEP)
Funding for re-take years of study is usually more straightforward during your NHS funded years. The Student Finance Officer at Whitechapel will notify the NHS Student Grants Unit that you are re-taking a year and you will usually get your tuition fees paid for you again automatically, plus any NHS Bursary that you normally receive. You can also apply for a Student Finance Reduced Rate Maintenance Loan during any number of re-take years.
If the NHS Student Grants Unit refuses you funding for your re-take year, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service as soon as possible and we may be able to help you appeal this decision.
Taking time out from your studies, or leaving completely
You might find that for personal or health reasons you need to take time out from your studies. At Queen Mary we call this is called interrupting. There are strict deadlines for interrupting, and they vary according to which course you are on and which academic year of study you are in. You can check the relevant deadline with the Student Office (Garrod Building).
Occasionally students find that studying medicine or dentistry isn’t right for them. For detailed information about the practicalities of taking time out or leaving your course, how you will support yourself financially, and the effect on your entitlement to Student Finance in the future, please read the Advice and Counselling Service’s advice guide Re-sitting, interrupting or leaving your course.
Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.