Student Engagement

Important Announcement - Mitigation Deadline

Please be aware the Mitigation Deadline was 12noon Saturday 5th June 2021.

All applications for assessments being considered at the June exam boards need to be sent to mitigation@beds.ac.uk before this deadline in order to be considered. If you are unsure if this includes your application please contact your unit coordinator.

Applications made after this deadline will be considered RETROSPECTIVE and will not be considered.


Important Announcement - Carers Week 7-13 June 2021

National Carers Week is on the 7th -13th June 2021. We have a range of information and events on offer this year which we are encouraging both staff and students to participate in. If you want to get involved or learn more click the accordion below or alternatively download the information poster as a PDF


  • Join our Online Photography Competition – this year’s theme is WELLBEING, email your photography to Lucy Felton at lucy.felton@beds.ac.uk and entries will be uploaded here. Photographs must be original and taken by the student or staff member entering the competition. Open to University of Bedfordshire staff and students only. Competition closes 5pm, 13th June 2021. Student and Staff winner will be emailed by Monday 21st June 2021. Prize: (student only) £25 Amazon Voucher.

  • Student Support Drop In – 3:30pm – 4:30pm Wednesday 9th June - for students who have caring responsibilities or are unpaid carers of family members, to find out more about financial, practical and emotional support available to you during your studies. Click here to join via Zoom (Meeting ID: 862 0788 0372)

  • Free Mindfulness Session – Thursday 10th June, 1-1:35pm, email mindfulnessbedford@beds.ac.uk for more details and a link to the online session.

  • Useful Resources – free links and resources via Carers in Bedfordshire, including Carers grants

  • Carers Support Network – sign up to join a student peer support group for those in unpaid carers roles whilst studying at university. Take part in events, socials and presentations from guest speakers. Email Lucy Felton at lucy.felton@beds.ac.uk to register your interest.

Our Team

The Student Engagement team provides general advice and support to students on a wide range of issues that might be impacting on their attendance, ability to submit work and progression on their course. Our focus is on retention and we liaise with other support teams, academic staff and external partners.

What We Offer

Click on the banners below to learn more about the services the Student Engagement Team can offer you.


Overview

A Student Engagement Appointment is a 30 minute session where you can book in to speak with a Student Engagement Advisor. In these appointments we can discuss a range of topics, answer your questions and help resolve any concerns you have.

We encourage you to book an appointment with us as soon as you feel like you need some support. It may be that by talking through your concern early we can help you avoid becoming disengaged and keep you on track towards completing your chosen course.

When to Book

Some of the common reasons students Book an Engagement Appointment include:

  • Feeling homesick
  • Discussing Mitigating Circumstances
  • Feeling like they've chosen the wrong course
  • Struggling to balance working and studying
  • Struggling to make friends
  • Unforeseen problems e.g. ill health or family problems
  • Wanting to discuss an Interruption of Studies or a potential Withdrawal
  • Signposting to other Support Services like Counselling, Student Money Advice, Disability Support or the Mental Health team.

This is not a complete list and we will regularly discuss other topics that students bring to us so please do get in touch with other queries at student.engagement@beds.ac.uk and we can discuss if a Student Engagement Appointment is right for you.

How to Book

There are two ways for you to book an appointment:

  • Via the Student Information Desk (SID) - If you would like to speak to someone to discuss the specifics times you are available or if you do not have access to a computer you can speak to a member of the SID team who will be able to directly book you into the next suitable appointment slot.
  • Directly with Student Engagement- If for any reason you would like to keep the details of your appointment to only our team you can always email our team directly and an advisor can book you into the next slot available. This option is also the best to use if you have a single question as we may be able to answer it faster via email.

Contact us

SID - sid@beds.ac.uk or 0300 300 0042

Student Engagement Team - student.engagement@beds.ac.uk


You may consider taking a break from your studies for a range of reasons. This can include; To explore a placement opportunity, Personal reasons, to take a gap year or a range of other reasons. In the event you decide this is something you choose to do you would need to formalise this with the University by completing an Interruption of Studies.

What is an Interruption of Studies?

This is the formal process for taking extended leave from the University and your studies, usually for 12 months. We recommend that before you complete the process to interrupt your studies that you book an appointment to discuss this with a Student Engagement Advisor.

Before you complete the Interruption of Studies Form you must consider both the Academic and Financial Implications.

Academic Implications

This is where you need to check that the time you are taking off works with your courses pattern of study. The main area you need to check with your faculty is your Return to Studies date. This is the date the University will be expecting you to re-join your course and in most cases will have put together a return to studies plan in place should you interrupt midway through the academic year.

You can contact either your course coordinator or Course admin to discuss this information. If you need these details you can either speak to your lecturer, email student.engagement@beds.ac.uk or call SID on 0300 300 0042 and a member of staff will be able to provide this information for you.

Financial Implications

It is very important that you are aware of any potential financial impacts that may arise as a result of taking a year out from your studies.

As the Student Engagement team cannot advise or support with any student finance or general finance enquiries, we strongly recommend that you discuss your intent to interrupt with the Student Finance Officer (SFO) for your faculty. They will then be able to discuss if any fees will be owed and when this would be due.

You can contact the right SFO by choosing the email address that is linked to your Faculty:

If your query is more general you can contact our central Finance Team at sortmyfinance@beds.ac.uk or by calling 01582 743993.

Interruption of Studies Form

Download the Interruption of Studies Form [DOC]

Please send a completed copy of the form to student.engagement@beds.ac.uk where a member of our team will check the form and send this on to your course administrator who will then formally update your record.

We offer a 5 day holding period as standard to allow for students to change their mind within this time after they have sent in their form. If you would like your form processing as soon as possible please indicate this in your email and confirm you have contacted the finance team.

Important Reminders

  • Your department may set conditions for you to meet before you can re-join
  • You cannot sit exams, attend classes or hand in work to be marked when you are interrupted
  • You will not be allowed to attempt completed assessments again when you return to your studies
  • You will not be classed as a student so you will not be entitled to a student loan or other student benefits (eg council tax exemption).

Taking a Second Break?

In the event that either your circumstances change or do not improve and you are still unable to return to your studies after your 1st interruption you may be eligible to apply for a 2nd year Interruption.

This follows the same process as a standard interruption but in order to authorise the second year we will require evidence that shows that your situation still prevents you from attending University.

Evidence that can be considered can be discussed in a student engagement appointment (see "Booking an appointment" tab). Evidence should be sent to student.engagement@beds.ac.uk along with your completed form.

International students

If you are an international student and you are thinking about interrupting you must contact the International Office (IO) to discuss your options. The International Office is the only team that can approve your interruption, however an Engagement Advisor will be happy to meet with you to discuss support options.

The IO can be contacted at intstudent.experience@beds.ac.uk


Thinking about Withdrawing?

It's not unusual to think about leaving University. Many students struggle with the change of learning style or living away from home for the first time. This can leave you feeling lonely or out of your depth, whatever your age or background!

Sometimes leaving may feel like the only option available to you, but there are always alternatives to withdrawing from university.

Whatever your reasons, it is a good idea to consider your options and seek advice from the University's Student Engagement Advisors, your Personal Academic Tutor and the Careers Service

Financial Implications

It is very important that you are aware of any potential financial impacts that may arise as a result of Withdrawing from your studies.

As the Student Engagement team cannot advise or support with any student finance or general finance enquiries, we strongly recommend that you discuss your intent to withdraw with the Student Finance Officer (SFO) for your faculty. They will then be able to discuss if any fees will be owed and when this would be due.

You can contact the right SFO by choosing the email address that is linked to your faculty:

If your query is more general you can contact our central Finance Team at sortmyfinance@beds.ac.uk or by calling 01582 743993.

How to Withdraw

If you have made certain you understand all of the impacts your withdrawal will have and are still confident that you wish to leave you are ready to complete a Withdrawal form.

Please download the Withdrawal Form [DOC]

Please send a completed copy of the form to student.engagement@beds.ac.uk where a member of our team will check the form and send this on to your course administrator who will then formally close your record.

We offer a 5 day holding period as standard to allow for students to change their mind within this time after they have sent in their form. If you would like your form processing as soon as possible please indicate this in your email and confirm you have contacted the finance team.

It is important to note that non-attendance on your course is not a formal indication to the University that you wish to withdraw from your studies. It also will not alter any fee implications.

Note that there is a statutory ‘cooling off’ period of 14 days following your receipt of the University’s emailed Offer Letter during which you may withdraw without incurring liability for a Tuition Fee.


Overview

If you require a suspension of studies or an extension to a specific deadline, you must make a request to the Research Degrees Committee (RDC). Applications should be made via the Student Engagement and Mitigation Team (SEAM).

Extensions to deadlines will only be granted by the RDC when clear evidence is provided showing that the delays you have faced were beyond your control. Research degrees have a built in pre-approved extension period, to allow for any general delays to be taken into consideration in your planned thesis submission date.

The RDC will only consider requests for Extensions and Suspensions once a student has contacted Student Engagement and Mitigation (SEAM) and SEAM have provided the RDC with a recommendation on the request. Due to this requirement and RDC deadlines, we strongly recommend that you begin the process of applying for Extensions at least two months prior to the specific deadline the request relates to.

Asking for a SEAM Recommendation

In order for SEAM to make a recommendation for you we require you to fill out the SEAM Support for Research Students Form [DOCX] and send back to us at student.engagement@beds.ac.uk and we can look at making a recommendation for you, to be considered at the next opportunity of the Research Degrees Committee (RDC).

If you would like to speak to an advisor about what option would be best for you please look at our booking an appointment tab for more details on how to speak to a student engagement advisor.

If you haven't already you will also need to fill out the extension paperwork which goes to the RGS which you can find on BREO.

If you have a visa or are funded we advise you check any implications directly with your sponsor.

What we do

Once the team has read through your case an advisor will complete one of the below recommendation forms. In there the team will either support or not support your request. This recommendation is then sent to the RGS team to be presented alongside other evidence discussed with your supervisory team at the next sitting of the RDC.

  • PGR Extension Recommendation
  • PGR Interruption Recommendation

Possible outcomes

The recommendation provided by SEAM does not constitute a final decision. This power sits with the RDC who will look at the recommendation and will ultimately decide to make one of the following decisions:

  • Accept as stated: Fully accept your request and grant the Extension/Interruption)
  • Accept with amendments: Accept the request but with slight changes to the award, this could be an increase or decrease in the time awarded based upon evidence and fitting in with deadlines etc. (This will be fully explained in the RDC's contact with you).
  • Reject: Reject the claim and provide a reasonable justification for this decision.

If you need to retake units due to mitigating circumstances, you may be able to apply for a Discretionary Grant.

For advice on your eligibility and to discuss the application process, you will need to make an appointment with a Student Engagement Advisor.

You can make an appointment through SID or by emailing student.engagement@beds.ac.uk

You will need to complete a Discretionary Grant Application form (on BREO login needed), with any additional information and evidence attached, and submit your form by emailing student.engagement@beds.ac.uk

Your application will be considered by the Student Engagement team in the first instance. It will then be forwarded to the Faculty who will make a decision on your application and notify you of the outcome in writing.

Additional Support

This section provides some additional information on topics that you may wish to discuss with an advisor. We have outlined the processes, and where possible created links to other pages that offer additional support.

Working through your problems

Problems on your course? Not sure it's the right subject for you? Facing difficulties?

Here are some actions to consider:

  • Talk to your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) or Unit Leader about your concerns. You can find out who your PAT is by logging into your E-vision account
  • Visit the Study Hub if you require academic writing, numeracy or literacy help
  • Post a comment at Student Voice
  • Book a Student Engagement Appointment
  • Speak to the Students' Union BedsSU have a range of services you can access as a student.
  • Visit Community and Faith for additional support
  • Talk to your Academic Representative for your course (You can find your Academic Rep by using the "Find my Rep" tool).

Changing course?

If you feel that your current course is not right for you, taking action and making a change can be a really positive step. We want you to be aware of all your options and any issues that might arise so that you can make an informed choice.

Applying for a Course Transfer

If you feel that you are on the wrong course please contact your personal tutor. We know that making changes to what and where you study is a big decision, that's why support is available to you at every stage from a variety of sources.

Remember that non-attendance does not count as notice that you intend to leave your course. Keep attending your current course, even if you think you don't want to do it anymore. Your attendance can affect your student finance, references and your qualifications.

Before you Transfer

  • Speak to your Course Coordinator, They may be able to suggest alternative ways to engage with the course or even point out upcoming units that you might not be aware of.
  • Speak to a Student Engagement Advisor to discuss your options
  • Get careers advice, find out about the skills you need for the industry you want to enter what career options your course could provide you with and much more by contacting the Careers Service
  • If you are set on changing course you need to gather important information about the new course, you can get most of this information from our website and by contacting the course coordinator for the course you want to change to.
  • If you are an international student with a Tier 4 or Student visa you must speak to the International Office.

If you are certain that you want to transfer and you have all of the information you need and have considered all your options you are ready to fill in a Course Transfer Form [DOC]

How to apply

In order to transfer courses you will need to fully complete the course transfer form including getting the necessary signatures from academics which is outlined in the form.

The completed form should be returned to sid@beds.ac.uk

If you need any assistance completing the form please contact SID on 0300 300 0042.

Studying part-time

Due to a variety of personal, family, financial or academic reasons, you may decide you need to reduce your study time

The University's unit framework normally allows you to attend your programme of study on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Things you need to know

Before you change from full-time to part-time attendance, you should be aware that:

  • You will have to formally agree a change of circumstances with your faculty office as not all courses allow a change to your mode of studies
  • Stopping attending classes without formal agreement does not indicate you intend to change your mode of study
  • By spreading one year of study over 2 academic years, you are likely to extend the number of years it will take to complete your course.
  • You should always talk to your relevant funding body or sponsor about this decision to check if there are any financial implications
  • The Student Money Advice Team can offer additional information regarding financial support

International students

If you are an international student, making any change to your course may have implications for your immigration status and the completion of your studies. Please contact the International Office for advice and guidance on this.

Contact Details

Studying elsewhere?

What should I do if I am thinking about changing University?

Keep attending your current course as non-attendance does not count as notice that you intend to leave. This will keep your options open if you cannot secure a place at a different university. You should also speak to your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) and raise your concerns to see if they can help.

You must speak to a Student Engagement Advisor. They may be able to provide additional support to help you stay on your current course and advise you of other support services. They will also be able to advise you of any academic and financial implications if you decide to leave the University. If you decide to leave, they will be able to sign off your withdrawal of studies form.

To transfer to another university you must first complete a withdrawal of studies from your current course. Details for this and the instructions on how to do this can be found under the "Withdrawing from your Studies" section.

Other things you should consider:

  • If you are in rented accommodation, You should speak to your accommodation provider- You may be liable for the rent even if you leave your studies
  • If you are an international student you must speak to the International Office.

How do I find out about other courses at another University?

If you want to find out about undergraduate courses available at other universities, start with UCAS
If you have an institution in mind or if you are a postgraduate student, you can check the institution's website.

Things to consider

  • Find out about the course.
  • Speak to the course leader and/or the admissions team at the new university.

Contact Details

If you have any further questions or would like to ask a specific question not covered here please see below a list of the support services available to you.


Remember, the support teams are still here for you and you can contact us via the email addresses below. We’re here to help so please get in touch if you support


Terence Higgins Trust

HIV and sexual health

Alcoholics Anonymous

Luton All Women’s Centre (LAWC)

Support and advice on a variety of issues.

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)

Caraline

Helping those affected directly or indirectly by an eating disorder.

Luton Citizens’ Advice Bureau

Cruse Bereavement Care

National Domestic Violence Helpline

  • 0808 2000 247

Emerald Centre

Free support and practical help to anyone in Bedfordshire and Luton who has experienced sexual violence and/or sexual abuse.

FRANK

Information on drugs.

Hope Programme (Bedfordshire)

Emotional support and counselling to women and girls, men and boys, over 10 years old who have suffered rape and sexual violence.

LGBT Foundation

Advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities.

ManKind Initiative

Support for Male Victims of Domestic Abuse and Domestic Violence.

Mind

Mental Health Support.

MIND BLMK

Supporting mental health across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

NHS 111 and NHS 111 online

24-hour health advice and referral.

Papyrus

Support for under 35s with suicidal thoughts.

Path to Recovery P2R Bedford Borough

Drug and alcohol advice, treatment and support to adults whose lives are affected; support can include the whole family.

Rape Crisis

Relate

Help with relationship issues.

ResoLUTiONs (Luton)

Free, friendly support for young people aged 25 and under, about drugs and alcohol.

Rethink

National advice service for people with severe mental illness.

Samaritans

24-hour Listening Service.

Shout

24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.

Student Minds

Student mental health.

Students Against Depression

Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service

Free, confidential talking therapies and specialist support for common mental health problems.

Total Wellbeing

Supporting your physical and mental health.

Women’s Aid

For women suffering domestic violence.

Women's Self Injury Helpline

  • 0808 800 8088

address

Luton campus & other campuses
Level 2, Campus Centre
Luton campus
LU1 3JU

24/7 SiD Online (student login)

email

Student Information Desk
sid@beds.ac.uk

telephone

Student Information Desk (SiD)

0300 300 0042

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday - Thursday
    9:00 – 17:00
  • Friday
    9:00 – 16.30

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