Reapplying to university after dropping out

Reapplying to University after dropping out

For those who drop out of university, it can initially feel like the end of the world. After working so hard to earn those grades to get in to university, only to then discover that the course, or even the university itself, isn’t right for you can be very distressing.

Many students in this situation decide to take some time out and reapply the following year. However, this reapplying process raises many questions about whether dropping out has any impact on future applications. We want to clarify some of the myths around this rarely discussed but very common situation – in 2012/13 over 32,000 students dropped out, with almost 7,500 of those subsequently transferring to another university.

What you need to know about reapplying

The process of reapplying after dropping out can be confusing because it is difficult to find firm answers on many of the simplest questions students need to know the answers to. Common questions being asked by student who take this route include:

Will dropping out count against my future application?

No. There is nothing in UCAS guidelines to indicate that dropping out of a university course has any negative impact on future applications. You should have no concerns about reapplying.

Do I need to tell UCAS that I have been to university before?

As part of your UCAS application you will be required to disclose all previous education. This is information which should already be available to UCAS, but it is important that you do not withhold any information which may be important to your application.

What happens with my funding entitlements?

The impact of dropping out can be most confusing when it comes to funding and fees. The impact on this will largely depend on what funding you have accepted from organisations such as The Students Loan Company (SLC), your Local Education Authority (LEA), or Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). 

Any funding from SLC will be recouped once you are earning over £21,000 a year, the same as graduates. Repayment of maintenance funds from a LEA are more complex, and are calculated on a pro-rata basis from the date you officially left the course.

You will be entitled to keep an amount of the funds calculated from how many days of the course you have completed – and you will be obliged to repay any surplus payments you have already received for the remainder of the year.

For example:

  • Say you received a maintenance loan of £4000 from your LEA.
  • Your course begins on 28th September and you stop attending on the 4th December. That is 67 days of the course completed before dropping out.
  • £4000 divided by 365 indicates that your loan amounts to £10.96 per day.
  • £10.96 multiplied by the 67 days you have completed means you are entitled to retain £734.32 of the total maintenance loan.
  • Deduct that amount of £743.32 from the overall loan of £4000 to calculate how much you will be required to return to the LEA. In this example you would have to repay £3256.68.*

When it comes to reapplying for further funding you should be okay, as long as you have only dropped out once. Generally students are entitled to have their tuition fees paid for four years and then one additional year, the latter designed to cover situations such as this.

*These are estimated figures based on our own calculations. You should contact your LEA for information specific to your case.

Can I reapply for the same course or university?

There are no restrictions on reapplying to the same university or even the same course. In fact you may have a better chance of getting on to the same course again, as it demonstrates you are serious about the course and only dropped out due to unforeseen circumstances. 

Advice on reapplying after dropping out

Who can I speak to for more advice about reapplying?

Hopefully the information we’ve provided above will shed some light on reapplying after dropping out, but we understand that you may want some advice on your individual situation. We recommend reaching out to the following sources for more personalised advice:

UCAS: The most sensible place to turn for advice is UCAS themselves. They will be able to give you guidance on the best options for you. Find information on how to contact UCAS.

University: Try talking to your previous university or a new one you’re thinking of applying to; almost all universities have dedicated student support departments who can offer sound practical advice. These departments often include student volunteers who can empathise with your situation too.

Online: If you look in the right places, there is lots of advice to be found online from people who are currently or have previously been in the same situation as yourself. Student forums can provide a good sense of re-assurance that you are not the only one dealing with these issues.