Last updated: August 2023. Review date: August 2024
St Mary's University is committed to improve student retention and maintain accurate student records for internal and external submissions. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that students receive appropriate advice, academic, pastoral and financial, before the withdrawal process is initiated. The policy works in conjunction with Personal Tutoring Policy and also provides guidelines for academic and professional services staff on how to process requests for withdrawal in a timely manner.
Scope and Purpose
1. St Mary's University's Mission is to prepare its students for flourishing lives, successful careers and social commitment through excellent, research-enriched teaching in a strong community of mutual respect based on our Catholic ethos and identity.
2. However, some students decide to withdraw from their programme of study and they should be supported to explore other options available to them, with withdrawal seen as a last resort.
3. All students considering withdrawal from their studies should seek academic advice and student guidance as soon as possible from both their Course Lead and Student Services and Wellbeing before making the decision to withdraw. Advice and guidance can also be sought from Personal Tutors and the Students Union.
4. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that students receive appropriate advice, academic, pastoral and financial, before the withdrawal occurs. It also provides guidelines for academic and professional services staff on how to process requests for withdrawal.
Reasons for Student Withdrawal
5. Students decide to withdraw or are withdrawn from their academic programme and the University for a variety of reasons:
- student wishes to withdraw from their programme, hereafter referred as 'Self Withdrawal Request'
- student is withdrawn due to academic failure
- student is permanently excluded as the outcome of a student disciplinary process, a criminal convictions panel or for academic misconduct
- student is withdrawn as an outcome of the fitness to study/practise processes
- student is withdrawn due to failure to abide by university regulations (e.g. non-payment of fees)
- student is required to withdraw due to external compliance issues (e.g. UKVI regulations)
- student fails (or ceases) to attend their programme, according to Academic Regulations
- student fails to arrive or enrol for their studies in the academic year
- death of a student.
6. In the event of a Self-Withdrawal Request, if following advice, the student wishes to proceed with withdrawal, s/he is required to provide reasons for their decision by completing the online withdrawal form, and return their University ID card.
7. International students studying on a student visa should note that their SMU sponsorship will be cancelled and their withdrawal will be reported to the UKVI.
8.Once a student has been withdrawn from the University, either through Self Withdrawal Request or other reasons cited above in Section 5, s/he does not normally have access to University systems and are not permitted to submit coursework or sit exams/assessments. Withdrawn students will be considered at the next assessment board and credit awarded where applicable.
Student Withdrawal Process
9. The Student Withdrawal Process is based within Registry to ensure that accurate student records are maintained at all times. With the exception of Self Withdrawal Requests from students, all other forms of withdrawals are initiated by formal procedures such as, Exam Boards, Student Disciplinary Process etc.
10. A student who considers withdrawing from the institution under the Self Withdrawal Request, is required to complete the online Withdrawal Form and immediately contact their programme, in the first instance.
11. Students who make Self Withdrawal Requests, should do so through the online student portal, which sends an automated withdrawal request to the Registry Services, which is monitored by staff in Registry Services.
12.The receipt of the email request from the student will trigger the start of the process and freeze their tuition fee liability from that point.
13. All Self Withdrawal Requests received via the student portal shall be forwarded to the respective Course Lead for the student, normally within 3 days of receiving the email.
14. The Course Lead will be responsible to ensure that they meet with the student within three working days of receiving the email request. At this meeting, they shall discuss with the student their reasons for considering withdrawal, offer them with advice on pastoral and financial support available to them and discuss other options available within St Mary's, if their choice of programme is not suitable. If the student cannot travel to the University, video meetings are permissible.
15. All information provided by the student in the Withdrawal Form should be treated with utmost confidentiality as it may contain information pertaining to sensitive individual circumstances. A student will be provided with a disclaimer to allow the University to use the information provided anonymously for monitoring and planning purposes.
16. At these meetings, Course Leads will be expected to keep a written account of the discussion with the student and the options offered to them to help come to a decision. Course Leads are expected to ensure that the student is aware that they can receive further advice from the SU, Student Funding, Fees Office and Accommodation office.
17. The student can contact their SU representative or SU President independently to seek further advice or guidance on their options before considering withdrawal.
18. The student can also contact Fees Office or Student Funding Services to seek further information on the impact of their decision on their financial liability.
19. If the student is residing in St Mary's Hall of Residence, they should consult the impact of their request with the Accommodation Office.
20. The student and Course Lead can complete the online withdrawal form together and ensure that advice and information is covered from the following stakeholders before it is processed by Registry Services:
- Students Union
- Fee Office
- Accommodation Office (if applicable).
21. After completing the form, the student and the Course Lead will be required to sign the Withdrawal Form and normally, the student will submit the form to Registry Services.
22. Once the form is received, Registry Services shall process the requests, update the Student Record System (SITS) and inform the student once the process is complete. Registry Services shall also notify the Programme and Services of all student withdrawals on a regular basis.
23. Registry Services will inform the Student Loan Company of all student withdrawals at first, second and third Liability points, and thereafter update SLC records on student withdrawals after Examination Board in summer, to ensure that the student does not incur unnecessary debt of Student Loan when they have been withdrawn from the University.
Please note: The above procedure will not apply to students studying on a Student Visa. All Self Withdrawal Requests from students on a Student Visa must be sent to the UKVI Compliance and Immigration Adviser in the first instance, where students shall receive advice on their Visa status prior to making a decision.
24. If a student withdraws from their academic programme, or goes on a period of 'leave of absence', their tuition fees will be recalculated on the following basis:
- For all Undergraduate, PGCE, Foundation Degree students, fees are charged on a 25%, 25%, 50% basis, based on the start date of a programme, and the related liability point as recognised by the Student Loans Company.
25. The tuition fee liabilities are published in the Tuition Fee Policy. Students can also ask the Fees Office for the liability dates.
26. If the student withdraws close to the end of the academic year, Student Finance may retain/recollect some of their maintenance money for the final part of the year. In such cases, Registry Services shall notify the student.
Registry Services will update the Student Record System (SITS) and can produce reports on student withdrawals to Departments and Services, such as, Student Services, Fee Office, Accommodation Office, Library, TEL and PVC's Office.
Departments will be able to access directly from the SRS system up to date information on individual records and update their attendance registers.
Planning Office will be able to access student withdrawal data from the SRS system and produce regular reports on the Dashboard, available to all Schools, which shall also be reported directly to the PVC (Academic Strategy).