Tuition Fee Refund Policy 2020-21

This Tuition Fee Refund Policy applies to students who are in Full-time or Part-time attendance (including Distance Learners).

If you are considering, or have decided to take leave of absence, withdraw entirely or transfer to another University, you will need to know how this will affect your tuition fees. This policy provides essential information on tuition fee refunds. You should also ensure you complete the Change of Status form, sign and submit to your department, promptly.

1. Grounds for Refunds

a) Tuition fees will be refunded in the following instances:

  • Student withdrawal from the course (either by the student or initiated by the University).
  • Leave of absence, except in cases where your period of leave of absence ends in the same academic year; if you are a postgraduate research student and you take leave of absence for a period of less than 6 months within the same academic session (for PGR students, the registration start date marks the start of a 12 month academic session).
    For more information on the leave of absence process, please refer to:
    Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students: www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/leave-of-absence
    Postgraduate Research students: www.sheffield.ac.uk/rs/code/loa
  • Transfer or downgrade from a Masters qualification to a Diploma or Certificate qualification, except where:
    I. the transfer or downgrade is the result of a failure to progress on the higher qualification;
    II. academic services (teaching/supervision) for the higher award have been received. Please contact your department for advice.

Exceptions to the refund tables, below:

  • Early submission of a thesis by a postgraduate research student: calculated on a pro-rata monthly basis.
  • English Language Teaching Centre: where students start later or leave earlier than expected; take a leave of absence or withdraw: calculated on a pro-rata weekly basis on receipt of a completed Change of Status form.

b) Tuition fees will not be refunded in the following instances:

  • The withdrawal of a unit or module does not of itself constitute grounds for a refund. Tuition fees typically cover the annual provision of teaching, academic support and other services in respect of 120 credits for undergraduate students (total number of credits taken by undergraduate students each academic year) and 180 credits for postgraduate taught students (total number of credits taken by postgraduate taught students each academic session). Whilst there may be occasions when students may not be able to access some modules, the total number of credits will remain unaffected and therefore no refund will apply. If you think you may be entitled to a tuition fee refund, please contact the Fees and Funding Team (studentadmin@sheffield.ac.uk).
  • Leave of absence - where your period of leave of absence ends in the same academic year; if you are a postgraduate research student and you take leave of absence for a period of less than 6 months within the same academic session (for PGR students, the registration start date marks the start of a 12 month academic session).
  • Transfer or downgrade from a Masters qualification to a Diploma or Certificate qualification where:
    I. the transfer or downgrade is the result of a failure to progress on the higher qualification;
    II. academic services (teaching/supervision) for the higher award have been received. Please contact your department for advice.

2. How Refunds are Calculated

The following tables set out how the University calculates refunds.
Please note that:

  • the cut-off dates for SLC funded Undergraduate students mirror Student Loans Company payment dates;
  • SLC-funded Undergraduate students, SLC Postgraduate Loan students and other sponsored students should be aware that the University will notify instances of leave of absence and course withdrawal, alongside with changes in fees to Student Finance England or the equivalent funding body;
  • SLC-funded Undergraduate students who change their course part-way through an academic year should contact the Fees and Funding Team (studentadmin@sheffield.ac.uk) for advice on how this will affect their fees.

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students 

Week of withdrawal or start of Leave of Absence

Corresponding Dates in 2020-20211

Percentage of Annual Tuition Fees Due (SLC-funded Undergraduate) Percentage of Annual Tuition Fees Due2 (Self-Funded, SLC Postgraduate Loan, Sponsored)
Intro Week - Week 5 Term 1* 21 Sept 2020 – 1 Nov 2020 0% 0%3,4 (after the retention of any deposits)
Week 6 to Week 12 (and through the Christmas Vacation) 2 Nov 2020 – 17 Jan 2021 25% 33%
Term 2 18 Jan 2021 – 18 April 2021 50% 67%
Term 3 19 April 2021 onwards 100% 100%

*For Postgraduate Taught students with a start date of 26th October 2020, the Term 1 policy will be adjusted as follows:
-19th October 2020 – 29th November 2020 = 0%
-30th November 2020 – 17th January 2021 = 33%
-Term 2 and Term 3 as above

1 These dates relate to students whose registration start date is 28 September 2020, attending a full academic year. The dates should be adjusted for cross-sessional students according to the ‘start of registration’ date. If your full registration period is for one semester only, or you are on a Continued Professional Development Programme, please email studentadmin@sheffield.ac.uk
The above dates will be adjusted accordingly, for students with a Registration Start Date earlier than 28 September 2020 e.g.
• PGDE "Self funded" students with a Registration Start Date of 14 September 2020 (exception of SLC funded students - table above applies).
• Legal Practice students with a Registration Start Date of 2 September 2020.


2 Fee deposits are non-refundable.


3 Distance Learning courses: 10% of the annual tuition fee is retained for Residential Weekends.
(unless charged separately by the department e.g. Orthoptics)


4 Languages for All: Students withdrawing from Languages for All modules should seek guidance about refunds here: www.sheffield.ac.uk/mltc/application

Postgraduate Research Students (Self-funded and Sponsored)

Week of withdrawal or start date of Leave of Absence Corresponding Dates in 2020-20211 Percentage of Annual Tuition Fees Due
Intro Week - Week 4 21 Sept 2020 - 25 Oct 2020 0%2,3
Week 5 - Week 12 26 Oct 2020 - 20 Dec 2020 25%
Week 13 - Week 25 21 Dec 2020 - 21 Mar 2021 50%
Week 26 - Week 38 22 Mar 2021 - 20 Jun 2021 75%
Week 39 onwards 21 June 2021 100%

1 These dates relate to students whose registration start date is 28 September 2020. The dates should be adjusted for cross-sessional students according to the ‘start of registration’ date. If your full registration period is for one semester only, please email studentadmin@sheffield.ac.uk

2 Distance Learning courses: 10% of the annual tuition fee is retained for Residential Weekends.

3 Languages for All: Students withdrawing from Languages for All modules should seek guidance about refunds here: www.sheffield.ac.uk/mltc/application

3. How Refunds are Applied

If fees were paid by Debit or Credit Card or a Direct Bank Transfer, the refund will be made to the same account.

The method of refund will be determined by the amount of tuition fees paid and owed up to the point of application. Therefore, subject to individual circumstances, a refund can be:

  • a direct refund of tuition fees already paid
  • a reduction in the tuition fees due
  • a tuition fee debt reduction.

If you change your degree course, you submit your thesis earlier than anticipated or if there is any other kind of interruption to your studies, and you need to know how this Policy will affect you, please email the Fees and Funding Team in Student Administration Service at: studentadmin@sheffield.ac.uk