Advice on Dropping Out and Switching University - Student Loan Watch

kotoyoseru
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I'm a first year undergraduate currently at university who's nearing the end of her first semester and I've realised that I've made a huge mistake in which university I chose.

I'm heavily depressed in my current environment and as a result have fallen behind on a lot of my work. The course itself is absolutely brutal and is known for being one of the most difficult of it's kind in the UK with a 50% drop-out rate, which wouldn't actually be a problem except a few months prior to beginning university I developed depression which has interfered heavily in my studies ever since beginning.

Having spoken to my departmental advisor I've been told that it wouldn't be possible for me to re-do the first year and that if I failed the first year, which I'm very certain I'm going to, I'll have to either downgrade to a lesser degree or drop-out completely.

Having considered my options I'm now looking to transfer to a university for which I was given an unconditional offer to when I first submitted my UCAS application. The course is pretty much exactly the same only it's at a slower, more manageable rate.

I know there's a chance I might not get accepted 2nd time round, but putting that aside I need some advice on what to do right now. I need to know whether it would be better for me to finish my first year anyway or just stop now, drop-out and see if I can rest

The issue here is that, mentally, I'm not in a good place. It's gotten to the point where some days I'm waking up and debating whether it'd prefer to go into class or jump into the middle of the road so I need to make a decision and soon.

I really need some time to get myself and my affairs in order, so ideally I'd prefer to just drop-out now and continue living in my accommodation until Summer when I can return home, but I don't actually know whether or not I'd continue to receive my Student Loan since I'm unsure as to whether I'd stop receiving it if I officially dropped out.

Has anybody else here been in this situation who can advise me?
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Klix88
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Firstly, if you drop out then your Student Finance will stop at that point and you'll be asked to pay some of it back immediately (see below). You only get Student Finance while you're a student. If you rely on it to support yourself, then you need to carry on going through the motions where you are.

If you're sure that you want to leave your course, then as I see it, your main considerations are how you might be able to support yourself when you leave and whether you can afford/deal with the financial consequences. The longer you stay on your current course, the more debt you rack up.

However, do bear in mind that if you leave part way through a year, you will be expected to return things like grants, bursaries and scholarships which would otherwise have been non-repayable. It may be worth considering hanging on until the end of the academic year and doing the bare minimum to get through. It won't work for everyone, but depending on your financial situation and feelings, it may be more pragmatic.

If you're in student accommdation, then you won't ge permitted to continue living there if you drop out officially. Also, you'll probably find that you're tied to your accommodation until the end of the academic year anyway. Most unis won't let you out of the contract and you'll be expected to pay up to the end of the academic year whether you live there or not. It's another argument for maybe staying on, going through the motions, and officially dropping out at the end of the academic year.

Looking ahead, you would have enough Student Finance entitlement to start another degree from scratch if you want to (as long as you haven't done any uni-level study before your current course). You'll be fine with the finance for a transfer to the second year elsewhere if you can swing it, but if you can't, you can still try another degree if you want to.

If you want to transfer to the start of a second year elsewhere, you will have to pass your first year where you are now.

Summing all of that up, given what you've told us I'd either 1) commit to passing the first year where you are and start preparing to transfer to the second year elsewhere, or 2) decide to start a new degree from scratch next year, get through the next few months as a student where you are and then drop out at the end of the academic year.

If money was no object then I'd advise leaving now and starting fresh next September, but it seems like that isn't financially possible from what you've said.
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