Student Absence

Exceptional Leave of Absence

It is not expected that students on undergraduate or postgraduate taught courses should request absence from their studies during term time. However, there may be exceptional and/or unforeseen circumstances that may require a student to be absent from studies.

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students

Requests for exceptional leave of absence should be made in writing to the Associate Registrar (Student Administration) using the online Request for Authorisation of Absence form.

Students must obtain and upload documentation to support their absence (i.e. death certificates, medical notes, letters from sponsors/employers) and provide written evidence of support from their course leader and/or module leader(s).
Students should expect to receive a response to their request within 7-10 working days.

The Associate Registrar (Student Administration) will only authorise an absence in exceptional circumstances, taking into account (in consultation with the faculty/campus), the reason given for the absence and the potential impact on the student’s studies and ability to continue to complete the course within the designated length of the course. Please note that the maximum amount of exceptional leave permitted in an academic year is 20 working days.

Examples of what the University may consider to be exceptional could include:

• Bereavement
• Illness
• Vital medical treatment
• Employer obligations (i.e. students who are being sponsored by their government or international organisation)

*Please note that this list is not exhaustive but is provided for guidance purposes only.

Leave of absence of more than 20 working days will not be granted. For absences of more than 20 working days the student must interrupt or withdraw from the course and should seek advice from their Campus Advice Zone.

International students studying on Tier 4 visas who interrupt or withdraw from studies must return home and Tier 4 sponsorship will be withdrawn.

Where a student considers that the reason for a request for absence falls into the University definition of extenuating circumstances the student should refer to the University’s regulations on Extenuating Circumstances and speak to their Campus Advice Zone. Further information regarding the regulations and procedures regarding Attendance Expectations and Temporary Absence can also be found in the University’s regulations.

Tier 4 Students

If you are enrolled onto a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate taught course, and you are studying on a Tier 4 visa, you are expected to remain in the UK, specifically within South Wales, adhering to compulsory University Tier 4 attendance monitoring procedures until your course completion date. For further information regarding our absence and attendance monitoring requirements for international non-EU students, please visit our International – Tier 4 pages. Further information about your responsibilities as a Tier 4 sponsored student can be found by visiting the following link:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/immigration/pointbasedsystem/.

You are obligated to be on campus, attending and engaging with your course and scanning your fingerprint every 7 days, until the end of each term. If you have made a determination for yourself that your taught classes have ended for the term and you wish to leave the UK, you will be doing so at your own discretion and will be doing so without the endorsement of the University.

*Please note that self-directed study also forms part of your academic obligations and therefore even if your taught classes have finished, your study has not.

Where an exceptional leave of absence is approved, your information will be updated on the University’s attendance monitoring system (SEAtS) and the University’s student management information system (Quercus). In addition, if you are travelling overseas, you should receive a letter confirming the purpose of your trip in case you are asked for evidence by UKVI personnel when you re-enter the UK. Leave of absence of more than 20 working days will not be granted. For absences of more than 20 working days the student must interrupt or withdraw from the course and should seek advice from their Campus Advice Zone. Students studying on Tier 4 visas who interrupt or withdraw from studies must return home and Tier 4 sponsorship will be withdrawn.

Religion and Belief

The University of South Wales is committed to promoting an environment which enables students to practice their religion or belief whilst studying at the University. The University is aware that certain religious festivals may coincide with the Academic Timetable. However, given the diversity of religious observance, the University is unable to arrange its timetable or coursework deadlines around the religious festivals of all faith traditions. The University of South Wales will endeavour to be flexible as is practically possible in order to observe the religion, belief and non-belief of staff and students. However, students who wish to apply for absence in order to participate in and observe their religion should note the following:

• It is your responsibility to make arrangements to catch up on work missed whilst participating in prayer and religious observance. If you wish to take an extended period of leave from your studies due to religious observance, you should first discuss this with your course leader and make every effort to proactively ensure that you are up to date with study, course materials and assignments.

• As some faiths exempt students from religious observance at the time of study and examinations, you should make every effort to take these exemptions wherever possible.

• Attendance at religious festivals will not be normally accepted as extenuating circumstances.

Requests should be made in writing to the Deputy Academic Registrar using the online Request for Authorisation of Absence form at least 21 days prior to the event. Students will be expected to obtain and upload documentation to support their absence and provide written evidence of support from their course leader and/or module leader(s). Students should expect to receive a response within 7-10 working days.

For more information/guidance, please visit the following link:http://chaplaincy.southwales.ac.uk/faith/

Postgraduate Taught Students

If you are studying a postgraduate level programme at the University of South Wales, it is important that you understand that the entire programme, with the exception of official vacation periods, is considered to be full time study, including any time spent writing your dissertation or final project.

You may, in limited circumstances, be granted permission to undertake the later stages of your programme from your home country, but this is entirely at the discretion of your academic supervisor and will not be granted unless your supervisor is confident that you have progressed sufficiently and can be adequately supported while away.

Additionally, permission to undertake periods of study away must be academically necessary (i.e. you are collecting data from a company in your home country) and not for personal reasons such as the expiry of a tenancy. There is an expectation that students are aware and have planned for the total duration of the course, including writing up periods and as such have planned to remain in the UK for the total course duration.

Study Away from USW

Field Trips/Placements/Study Abroad

A student may be permitted to study away from University of South Wales on academic grounds as part of the standard delivery of their course or module, for example, when undertaking a placement, fieldwork, or a year of Study Abroad as part of the course.

Students must inform their Campus Advice Zone and send an email to Academic Registry with your full name and student ID number and details of your intended study away. Students should expect to receive a response within 7-10 working days.

If you are an international student studying on a Tier 4 visa, the information will be updated on the University’s attendance monitoring system (SEAtS) and the University’s student management information system (Quercus).

Data Collection/Conduct Research

Students who wish to undertake data collection or conduct research away from the University must gain support from their academic supervisor or course leader and must inform their Campus Advice Zone of their intentions. They must then submit a request in writing to Academic Registry using the online Request for Authorisation of Absence form.

Students must provide details such as the location of study, the reasons why they wish to study away from USW and the period of time they intend to be away. This should be in the form of a dissertation/project proposal signed by their academic supervisor or course leader.

A request will be considered, subject to the student meeting the following requirements:

• The student has demonstrated satisfactory attendance and academic progress;
• There is no outstanding debt to the University of South Wales;
• The Study Away period is not within the first five months of the course;
• The Study Away period is not longer than three calendar months (per academic year).

Students are expected to be in regular contact with their academic supervisor and their Campus Advice Zone whilst they are away from USW and should submit a Study Away Record of Attendance proforma every 7 days. After 28 days, you must ask your academic supervisor/course leader to sign the form confirm that you are engaging with your supervision arrangements.

If you are an international student studying on a Tier 4 visa, you will still be expected to adhere to USW Tier 4 attendance monitoring procedures. Your information will be updated on the University’s attendance monitoring system (SEAtS) and student management information system (Quercus).

Submitting a Study Away Record of Attendance proforma every 7 days for the duration of your study time away, will act as your attendance scan. If you are travelling overseas, you should receive a letter confirming the purpose of your trip in case you are asked for evidence by Border Force personnel when you re-enter the UK. You must return once your period of study away is complete. Your campus administrators will update your record on the University’s attendance monitoring system (SEAtS) upon receipt of your completed proforma. You will be expected to provide evidence of your outbound and return flights. You must return to the UK by the date agreed by Academic Registry.

Failure to adhere to these requirements could result in withdrawal from your course and the University will cease Tier 4 sponsorship. Consequently, your visa will be subject to curtailment procedures and you will be expected to leave the UK immediately. Further information about your responsibilities as a Tier 4 sponsored student can be found by visiting the following link:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/immigration/pointbasedsystem/

Completion of Study Away from USW

Postgraduate taught students who are or writing up may be permitted to complete and submit their dissertation away from USW.

Students must gain support from their academic supervisor or course leader and must inform their Campus Advice Zone of their intentions, and submit a request to complete and/or submit their dissertation away from USW in writing to Academic Registry using the online Request for Authorisation of Absence form. Students must provide details such as the location of study, the reasons why they wish to study away from USW and the period of time they intend to be away. This should be in the form of a dissertation/project proposal signed by their academic supervisor or course leader.

Students are expected to be in regular contact with their academic supervisor and their Campus Advice Zone whilst they are away from USW. It is not essential but considered good practice for students to submit a Study Away Record of Attendance proforma to their academic supervisor on a regular basis to evidence their continued engagement and progress.

If you are an international student studying on a Tier 4 visa, USW will withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship, the UKVI will be informed and your visa will be subject to curtailment procedures. You will not be permitted to return to the UK using your Tier 4 visa, so if you wish to return to the UK to attend graduation, you must apply for entry clearance as a general visitor. You will be expected to provide evidence of your outbound flight and your entry stamp once you have left the UK. Further information and guidance can be found by visiting the following link:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/visitor/

Postgraduate Research Students

If you are a postgraduate research student, please see here for more information regarding applying for Annual Leave, Exceptional Leave of Absence, Study Away from USW, Completion of Study Away from USW and Interruption of Studies.

International Students travelling to Europe

If your travel plans include travelling to Europe, you may require a Schengen visa. For further information, please visit the following link:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/immigration/schengen/. Normally, you would be expected to write/provide a letter in support of your Schengen visa application. The University can usually provide a letter. For more information about how to request a letter, please contact your Campus Advice Zone.

Immigration and International Student Advice also provide guidance in relation to travelling to other countries as well as information regarding tourism and excursions. Please click here:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/

Lack of engagement

If your engagement with the University is considered to be unsatisfactory, you will be contacted by the University. The first contact will be made by Academic staff then followed up by the Progression Team.

If the engagement issues are not resolved, you may be withdrawn from your course by Academic Registry. If you are withdrawn, you have the right to appeal within 10 working days from the date that the withdrawal notification is sent to you via email. For international students studying on a Tier 4 visa, the University will withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship and inform the UKVI who will take steps to curtail (shorten) your visa.

Students’ Right of Appeal

1. Students have the right of appeal against their Withdrawal for lack of engagement

2. Appeals should be made to the Associate Registrar – Student Administration

3. The grounds under which appeals may be made are:

• That you were unable to engage in the University’s procedures at the time for good reason.
• That the procedures were not conducted fairly and/or in accordance with the published regulations.

Evidence must be provided by the student that supports their ground(s) for appeal.

4. Notice of appeal must be made in writing to the Associate Registrar (Student Administration) and must be received not later than 10 working days after the formal notification of withdrawal dated on this letter.

5. The decision of the Associate Registrar (Student Administration) will be final and will be notified to the student within a period of 5 working days following receipt of the appeal. The decision will be communicated by e-mail and/or first class post to the last known address of the student. Such despatch shall be deemed to be sufficient and complete discharge of the duty to inform the student.

Useful and related links and information

Advice Zones:http://unilife.southwales.ac.uk/pages/3024-advice-zones/
Attendance and Absence:http://unilife.southwales.ac.uk/pages/3106-attendance-and-absence/
Chaplaincy:http://chaplaincy.southwales.ac.uk/faith/
Immigration & International Student Advice:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/