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How will I support myself financially?

How will I support myself financially?

Budget planning

Before you think about how you will fund yourself, you need to work out how much your costs will be, to see how much money you need. You can use the budget spreadsheets on our website to do this.

The financial options available depend on whether you are:

Interrupting studies

Re-sitting out of attendance

Withdrawing from a course

De-registered from a course

If you will be returning to your course and will re-taking a period with attendance please see the other section of this guide 'Retaking a period of study in attendance'.  You must check you have sufficient funding available to cover your Maintenance costs and to pay your Tuition Fee for this repeat period.

Interrupting

Student Finance

The amount of Student Finance (Loan/s and grant/s) you are entitled to receive is based on your expected course attendance during an academic year.  If you interrupt during an academic year, your entitlement will be re-calculated.  If you have been paid too much Student Finance you will normally be asked to repay the overpayment.

If you interrupt during a Semester, this will result in an overpayment of Maintenance Loan and an overpayment of Student Finance England grants that you have been paid.

If your interruption begins on the last day of a Semester, you should have no Maintenance Loan overpayment.  You should also have no overpayment of Maintenance Loan if you interrupt at the end of a vacation period because your interruption will be backdated to the end of the last Semester (your last recorded date of attendance). However if you receive any grants these will also be recalculated and you may have a grant overpayment. 

NOTE: If you interrupt close to a payment date, for example just before the start of a new Semester, Student Finance England (SFE) might not get notified by Queen Mary in time to stop your next payment of Student Finance.  This payment will become an overpayment.

Overpayments usually have to be repaid immediately although this can be negotiated with Student Finance England.  Alternatively they can also be recovered by deducting the amount from your funding entitlement for the following academic year.  If repaying the overpayment will leave you in Financial Hardship you can make a Discretionary Hardship application to Student Finance England for them to consider your circumstances. For more information about overpayments read the section of the guide 'Will I have to repay my Student Finance grants or loans' and also see the next section Applying for Discretionary Student Finance.

If you interrupt during an academic year and ticked ‘health’ as the reason on your Queen Mary, University of London interruption form, your Student Finance entitlement will be recalculated by SFE although they should automatically allow your Student Finance entitlement to continue for a further 60 days from the date of your interruption. After this 60 day period you will no longer normally be entitled to SFE funding until you resume your study. 

If you didn’t tick ‘health’, your Student Finance entitlement will end from the date of interruption.

If you will have essential expenses during your interruption (such as rent, food, etc) and you will not be eligible for income from any other source (see options below), you can apply to Student Finance England and ask them to use their discretion to continue funding you for the remainder of that academic year. See the next section Applying for discretionary Student Finance.

If you interrupt for a full academic year, we understand that Student Finance England will not provide any Student Finance throughout the whole academic year. Contact a Welfare Adviser to discuss your options.

You can also read Student Finance England's information about getting student finance while you suspend your studies.

Working

Most students would be expected to work to support themselves during this period out of attendance, unless circumstances prevent this (for example, ill-health). The Advice and Counselling Service and Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise Centre have written an advice guide to help you find work. 

Welfare Benefits

Most full-time students cannot claim welfare benefits throughout their studies including during any period of interruption. However the benefit rules do permit certain students to claim, for example there are exceptions for some students with dependent children and/or some students with a disability or ill health.  If you are a full-time student who can normally claim benefits while studying, you can continue claiming during your interruption.  We have more information about who can claim while studying in our Additional Funding guide. 

If you have interrupted for medical reasons, and you feel unable to work because of this, you might be eligible to claim welfare benefits on the basis of your ill-health. Our advice guide Extra Money for Disability and Ill Health explains about these benefits and the eligibility criteria. Please note, it is not straightforward to claim Universal Credit if you are a full time student and have not already been assessed for your work capability. 

If you are well enough to work and/or have no children, you cannot usually claim benefits like Universal Credit because you are still treated as a full-time student even though you are not currently in full-time attendance. However, if you interrupted because you are ill, or to care for someone else and are not eligible for any student funding, you may be entitled to claim certain benefits for a limited period once you recover from your illness or once your caring responsibilities end.  This is allowed for a maximum of one year or up until you return to full-time study, whichever comes first.  It may also be possible to claim Carer's Allowance during a period of interruption if you care full-time for someone and are not required to complete course work, sit exams or engage with your course during this time. 

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you need advice about claiming benefits.

Applying for discretionary Student Finance

If you interrupt for a full academic year, we understand that you cannot apply for any discretionary funding from Student Finance England.  This applies for the whole academic year. Contact a Welfare Adviser to discuss your options.

If you interrupt during an academic year and you have extenuating reasons why you cannot work during an interruption of study and are not entitled to any other income, Student Finance England has discretion to continue to pay your Student Finance even though you are interrupting your studies. We understand that they can only consider this for the remainder of the academic year in which you interrupt. An example of this might be someone who interrupts for health reasons and who will be applying for welfare benefits, but until these are awarded or if payments are delayed,  they have no income to pay for their essential costs of living. However, SFE can make discretionary payments in circumstances other than ill health. For example, if you have dependents to support then it may be worth applying for discretionary funding.

How do I apply for discretionary Student Finance?

In assessing an application for discretionary Student Finance, SFE should consider each case on its own merits. SFE should consider the reasons why you have interrupted, how long you are interrupting for, what financial hardship you may experience if you don’t receive any Student Finance, and whether this might mean that you are not able to resume your studies in the future.

To help you apply for discretionary Student Finance England has produced a Financial Hardship Confirmation Form.  It asks for information about your income, expenses and debts. There is also a blank page on the form for you to explain to SFE why you have had to interrupt, and why you are now unable to work or to access any alternative income.

You will also need to send supporting documents with your form such as bank statements for the most recent three months, as well as evidence of your financial obligations such as a tenancy agreement showing your rent amount, copies of any bills that are due, etc.

You can call SFE on 0300 100 607 and ask them to send you a Financial Hardship Confirmation Form, or you may be able to download it from your student finance online account. A Welfare Adviser can help you complete the form, or check it before you send it off.

You will also need evidence of your ill health to show that you cannot work, for example a fit note from your GP. If you cannot get a GP fit note, contact a Welfare Adviser to discuss your options.

Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service who can advise you about making a discretionary funding application. 

 

Re-sitting out of attendance

Student Finance

You are not normally eligible to receive Student Finance England Loans and/or grants while you are re-sitting out of attendance. Contact a Welfare Adviser to discuss your options. 

Working

You would normally be expected to work to support yourself during this period out of attendance. The Advice and Counselling Service and Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise Centre have written an advice guide to help you find work.

Welfare Benefits

Most full-time students cannot claim welfare benefits like Universal Credit throughout their studies including when re-sitting out of attendance. However the benefit rules do permit certain students to claim, for example there are exceptions for some students with dependent children and/or some students with a disability or ill health.  If you are a full-time student who can normally claim benefits while studying, you can continue claiming while you are re-sitting out of attendance.  We have more information about who can claim while studying in our Additional Funding guide

If you have a disability or are ill our advice guide Extra Money for Disability and Ill Health explains about these benefits and the eligibility criteria.

University Financial Assistance Fund

If you are re-sitting out of attendance and you need to give up work a few weeks before your exams so that you can revise, you may be able to get a grant to help towards your loss of earnings from the University Financial Assistance Fund (UFAF). Application details are here.

In exceptional circumstances you might also be able to apply to the University Financial Assistance Fund for a limited amount of financial assistance if you have no income while you are waiting for other funds to arrive.

Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service who can advise you about applying to the hardship fund. 

 

Withdrawing

Once you withdraw, you will no longer be entitled to receive Student Finance, as you will no longer be a student.  Depending on the date you withdraw, you may have a Student Finance overpayment of Maintenance Loan and grants (if you receive these) - see the later section of this advice guide Will I have to repay my Student Finance grants or loans?

In addition, any Student Finance you have received to date will reduce the Student Finance England funding available to you for a new course. For information about this and the options available read the section of this guide 'Leaving your studies completely (withdrawing)'. 

As you will no longer be a student and will not be entitled to receive any further student funding, you will either need to find employment or consider applying for welfare benefits such Universal Credit.  Universal Credit has replaced Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Tax Credits, Housing Benefit for most new claimants.  You may also have to apply for Council Tax Reduction if you are liable for Council tax.  You will need to meet the eligibility requirements under the standard benefit rules.

Any Student Finance you have received so far might continue to affect and reduce the amount of benefits that you receive for a certain period after you have withdrawn from your course. Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service if you need advice about this. 

 

Deregistration

Once you are deregistered, you will no longer be entitled to receive Student Finance, as you will no longer be a student. If you normally receive Student Finance, and you are deregistered mid semester, you are likley to have an overpayment - see the later section of this advice guide Will I have to repay my Student Finance grants or loans? 

After being de-registered, you would usually be expected to support yourself financially, for example through working. As you will no longer be a student in full-time education, you may be eligible to claim certain welfare benefits such as Universal Credit.  This has replaced Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits for most new claimants.  You will need to meet the general eligibility rules to claim. Any Student Finance you have received might continue to affect and reduce the amount of benefit that you receive for a certain period after you have been deregistered. Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service for advice.

If you are later re-instated to Queen Mary (either following payment of any outstanding tuition fees or following a successful academic appeal) you immediately resume your full-time student status.  This means that you will become ineligible to claim or continue to claim welfare benefits or Universal Credit, unless you fall into one of the groups of students who can claim these despite being a full-time student, such as a lone parent, or a student with a disability or ongoing ill health. This is even the case if you are reinstated and then immediately put on an interruption of study until the next academic year (as usually happens following a successful academic appeal following August exams) - while on an interruption you still count as a full time student. Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service if you need advice about this.


Disclaimer:
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.

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