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22 April 2021

Need to take a break from study? How to intermit or discontinue your course

While we hope that things are going well with your study, we know that sometimes personal, financial and health issues, or other factors outside your control, can make it impossible to continue with uni – either in the short term or permanently.

If you find yourself in this position, it’s important to know that you have options. These include intermitting (pausing) or discontinuing your study.

We can help you to make the right decision, so read on to learn what steps you should take.

Seek advice first

The most crucial thing to do is to ask for help as soon as you realise things aren’t going to plan. The earlier you do this, the more options you’ll have.

One of our friendly and knowledgeable Student Advisers can talk through your situation and explain what you can do next. Just contact Student Central to make a phone, Zoom or in-person appointment.

If you want to intermit

An intermission is an approved break from study. Intermission can be taken for three ‘active’ trimesters or two active semesters (an ‘active’ study period is one in which you’re required to be enrolled as part of your course study plan). These don’t have to be consecutive.

Find out more about intermission, including how to apply and how it will affect your study.

If you want to discontinue

Discontinuing from a course of study means that you are withdrawing. Depending on your circumstances, there may be alternative study or career options.

If you’re thinking about discontinuing for financial or personal reasons, we recommend that you explore counselling and financial assistance. You may be eligible for financial support or special consideration that will allow you to keep studying.

Instead of discontinuing altogether, you could consider intermitting until your circumstances improve or perhaps you could transfer to another course. However, it’s better to discontinue your course than to just stop studying and allowing your enrolment to lapse.

Find out more about discontinuing, including how to apply and how it will affect your fees.

If you’re an international student

As an international student, you’ll need to consider how intermitting or discontinuing will affect your visa. It’s important to know that you can only apply for intermission on the grounds of compassionate or compelling circumstances. 

If your application for intermission is approved, your current Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be cancelled and you will be issued a new CoE for the trimester in which you re-commence your studies.

An alternative is to apply for a short-term leave of absence. This is an approved break from study for up to 10 working days that allows you to leave Australia for a short period during the trimester or return late for the start of the trimester.

Find out more about taking a break from study as an international student, including required documentation.

Don’t forget about census date

If you’re considering intermitting or discontinuing, it’s crucial that you factor in census date. This is the last day you can drop a unit, intermit or discontinue your course for the current study period without a reference on your academic record or being liable for the full amount of your fees.

You can find census dates for all study periods on the important dates and census webpage.

Remember: whatever your situation, it’s best to get expert advice before you make any firm decisions. As soon as you can, contact Student Central for personalised help.

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