Re-taking a period of study because of compelling personal reasons
If there are compelling personal reasons that contributed to you having to re-take a period of study, Student Finance England (SFE) can choose to discretionally award you Student Finance for your re-take period if you would otherwise be ineligible. This is a useful option if you have already used up your 'plus one' (Gift) year of SFE funding. We explain more about the 'plus one' year on our Re-taking a period of study in attendance page. SFE often refer to year of discretionary funding as a CPR year (Compelling Personal Reasons year).
Compelling personal reasons can include ill-health or serious personal difficulties, such as a bereavement. However there is no prescribed list of situations that can be considered and each case is considered individually. as See ‘How do I apply for discretionary funding’ below, to see what information SFE will need from you. A Welfare Adviser can let you know if your situation is likely to be considered as compelling by SFE.
In what circumstances can I apply for discretionary funding?
As explained in the previous section, any previous study would normally be taken into account when calculating your entitlement to Student Finance for your new course at Queen Mary.
Discretionary funding is a useful option to consider if you are funded by Student Finance England and you calculate that because of your previous study you are only eligible for a Maintenance Loan and supplementary grants for the first year of your new course at Queen Mary or you have already had to re-take a year and now need to do so again. If SFE grant a year of discretionary funding it means that in addition to your Maintenance Loan and supplementary grants you become entitled to a Tuition Fee Loan for the year and, if you started your course before September 2016, a Maintenance Grant too.
You may be able to apply for discretionary funding for the re-take year/s in any of the following circumstances:
- You might have to re-take a period of study if you fail to pass enough exams to progress to the next academic year of your course, or if you interrupt your studies and need to re-take a period of study when you return. If this is because of compelling personal reasons you can request that SFE exercises its discretion to award you an additional year of Tuition Fee Loan and income assessed Maintenance Grant (pre-2016 starters only) for your re-take year. There is no deadline for doing this, so you can apply for this for an academic year which has already passed, if you need to; or
- If you failed to complete your most recent previous higher education course due to compelling personal reasons, you can request that Student Finance England (SFE) uses its discretion to award you a Tuition Fee Loan and income assessed Maintenance Grant (pre-2016 starters only) in the first year of your new course at QMUL, if you would not otherwise be eligible for these because your previous study. This includes where you failed to complete your most recent previous course but were still given some type of exit qualification.
If you are not funded by SFE, check with a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service 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 either repeat year, you are unlikely to be awarded any additional funding on top of the standard entitlement (Maintenance Loan and Supplementary Grants only) for your additional re-take years. Check your options with a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.
If you wish to apply for discretionary funding, you will usually need the evidence listed below to apply, although this is just a guide - a Welfare Adviser will let you know exactly what documents you will need, as this will vary according to your individual situation. Please note, if you have no evidence, please still contact a Welfare Adviser who can discuss your options. You do not need to have these documents before you contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service, but this list might help you to start thinking about preparing 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. The letter should explain the difficulties that you had, and clearly detail the effects of these difficulties on your ability to study. It is also important that the letter explains when your difficulties occurred, and that this is the relevant period for your compelling personal reasons claim. For example, if you are re-taking the 2019/20 academic year in the 2020/21 academic year and you are claiming that this is because you became ill during the 2019/20 academic year and this affected your studies, the medical evidence will need to confirm that your ill health occurred during the 2019/20 academic year, at what point during that year and how this affected your study.
If you have been getting medication, treatment or therapeutic help for your difficulties, it is helpful for this to be explained in the letter, and how this is helping you, so it is clear that you are taking steps to address the difficulties you have had. If the person writing the letter feels 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 have not received help or support from a professional, a letter from a friend or family member who knows about your difficulties may be enough, although some kind of formal documentation will often be required. Your Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service can help you decide who might be the best person to write this letter for you.
- 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.
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.