/ Advice? - returning to uni following a temp withdrawal

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airbournegrapefruit on 09 Jan 2013
Hello all.

Ok so the situation is this:

Last year i was forced to take a temporary withdrawal from university due to a rather large prolapse of the L5/S1 disc. So having paid the full tuition fees for my final semester I was then unable to receive said tuition. The university is now requesting that I again pay the full tuition fees for the semester (1,725).

I have requested on numerous occasions that my case be looked at in a little more detail as I see it as being extremely unfair of them to request I pay double fees. They keep coming back that there is nothing they can do and my fees are based on number of credits that I am registered for.

Has anyone else been in a similar position? Or can anyone give me any advice? I really can't afford another 2k, this year last year has cost me enough and after having zero help from the government in terms of benefits I'm at a proper loose end.
Bobling - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit:

Which university and who are you currently talking to about the fees?
SAF - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit: Does your student union have a hardship fund/grant avaliable...they might be able to offer something given the circumstances.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit:

Hmmm, I've no real idea, but I'm guessing that a lot might depend on the terms of your withdrawal last time. Did you just not attend (while still being registered)? Or were you you formally granted leave of absence? Was the scenario of you returning discussed back then?
airbournegrapefruit on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: Yes it was a formal temporary withdrawal with a limit of two years absence.
airbournegrapefruit on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Bobling: At Aberystwyth. Have emailed academic office, student fees office and my departmental sec.
airbournegrapefruit on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to SAF: Good idea, I shall email them.
Hairy Pete on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit: Can you get medical records to support your claim - in effect a "doctor's note"?

My circumstances were slightly different to yours. I found the university were very reluctant to move until I provided some form of official medical record. Once they had the paperwork they were actually very helpful in enabling me to complete the course.

Get hold of a copy the university's calendar/student handbook (whatever they're calling it - you should have been provided with a copy at the start). Study it - there must be some provision for medical or other emergencies happening that would prevent a candidate from completing the course and/or exams.

Check with your students' union - they might have an advisor or legal bod that can point you in the right direction (although, I have to say, the one that I met was only knowledgeable about landlord-rent issues!). Next stop - CAB. As a minimum you should ask them to give you a list of solicitors that specialise in educational issue.

I ran up against the wall of university rules (not the same uni as above) and "nothing could be done", until I mentioned taking legal action, suddenly the wall came down and they started talking. I chickened-out in the end, but with the wisdom of hindsight I wish I had pursued it - I had a much stronger case than I realised at the time.

Best of luck.
airbournegrapefruit on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Hairy Pete: That is go advice Pete thank you!

Yes I have forwarded numerous medical notes on to them.
airbournegrapefruit on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit: Obviously meant to put 'good' not 'go'
IMA - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit: The odds are no, how long of the semester had you been at uni for before the withdrawal?
Bobling - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit:

Your student fees office says this about part payment for early withdrawal from a programme of study: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student-finance/undergraduate-uk/tuition-fees/early-withdrawal/. It's not clear to me if that refers to permanent or temporary withdrawal, though if it applies to one it should surely apply to both? I would have thought there would be a date on your withdrawal form (presuming you did one?) that is something like "Last date attended University", and that this date would be used to calculate the proportion of fees you pay for that year.

Having said that if you are already talking to our fees office and your department and they are both saying the same thing I would guess it is because according to the University in your case you are not due any refund. You are going to have a hard time overturning this but a good first step would talking to the Students Union as others have suggested to see if they can help. You could also begin a complaint as set out here: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/regulations/contents/student/appendix-2/ , it sounds to me like you have exhausted the avenues under point 3 and can move on to point 4. But again if the University thinks it is right I doubt your HoD will wave a magic wand. You are then down to upping the stakes and starting to threaten them with lawyers but again if they think they are on firm ground they'll just turn the case over to their own lawyers which won't get you a degree or save you any money in a hurry. I should add I'm now out of my depth as I am no legal eagle.

If I was you I'd probably take it as far as talking to your HoD (informally if possible, formally if not) and if nothing changes and you are still looking at 2k of fees then scramble for funding elsewhere - hardship funds from the Students' Union or the University, whatever the CAB can suggest...

Crikey I should have gone to bed already. Good luck!
hang_about - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit:
If you took a formal Leave of Absence you should not have to pay tuition fees for that period. If you were registered for modules then they considered you still in attendance. Get your Head of Teaching on the case. A reasonable University should be able to make a retrospective adjustment if you have evidence. The people in the fees office won't have the authority though.
lithos on 10 Jan 2013


wonder if the T.H.E.S. would be interested - wouldn't look too good for the Uni

I checked our Unis policy thats seems to imply (i cant find any direct wording) that you would not pay for the period you were on LoA,

Offwidth - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to lithos:

No such thing as THES, stopped being that years ago.

For the OP the University is being unreasonable if you have followed due process with formal notification of you intent, backed up by medical eveidence. However sometimes sadly some universities need external help to realise that (legal threat etc). Even the UKBA was trying similar stuff with overseas students a while back (no right for a visa extension when medical circumstances prevented completion).
KellyKettle - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to airbournegrapefruit: I withdrew from UWB due to ill health during the University of Wales - Bangor Uni transition, I was told that the SLC would be refunded my tuition on a pro rata basis (tuition fees * taught hours I wouldn't get/total number of taught hours on course)... I would have thought Aber would have a similar arrangment.
lithos on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to lithos)
>
> No such thing as THES, stopped being that years ago.

my mistake. T.H.E http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/
Bobling - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to lithos:
>
>
> wonder if the T.H.E.S. would be interested - wouldn't look too good for the Uni

Have you read this publication recently?!
ads.ukclimbing.com
lithos on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Bobling:

never read it!

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