Previous study and Compelling Personal Reasons

This page provides information on previous study and the Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR) process for full-time undergraduates.

Your studies may not always progress how you had planned. Sometimes you may need to repeat a year of study, change university or change course. This can mean you need extra time and funding to complete your studies.

There can be many reasons for this. If it is due to personal reasons, you could be eligible for support. You may be able to apply for Compelling Personal Reasons extra funding.

The previous study rules

Your national student finance service provides Tuition Fee Loans to full-time undergraduates. There is one available for each year of study. It will also provide a further loan if you need to repeat a year. This extra year is sometimes referred to as a 'gift' year. The number of years' Tuition Fee Loan entitlement you have varies. It depends on the duration of your course.

For example, a three-year course plus one 'gift' year equals four years' Tuition Fee Loan.

This rule doesn’t affect your entitlement to a Maintenance Loan. You're eligible for a Maintenance Loan for each year of study until you finish your course.

If you're repeating for the first time

If you're repeating some or all of a year of study for the first time, you'll receive both a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan. You won't need to take any further action once you've applied for your student finance.

If you've studied on a previous course or at a different university

If you have previous study, your entitlement may be affected, even if you didn't achieve a qualification. If you're repeating studies or changing course, you may not have enough years of Tuition Fee Loan funding to cover all years of your current course.

If you've already used your extra 'gift' year

If you've already used your extra 'gift' year, you'll usually have to self-fund your repeat year of study. You should pick up funding again in a later academic year.

You may be able to secure a further year's Tuition Fee Loan. You'll have to show that:

  • a Compelling Personal Reason (CPR) affected a previous year, and
  • you didn't progress in that previous year.

What Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR) are

Compelling Personal Reasons include:

  • bereavement
  • mental health issues
  • physical health issues
  • family crises
  • caring responsibilities
  • pregnancy or birth of baby
  • issues related to COVID-19.

How to apply for an additional year's Tuition Fee Loan under the CPR process

Email us if you need an extra year's Tuition Fee Loan funding under the CPR rules. We can then add you to our tracking log. This ensures we're aware of your circumstances.

To help you make your CPR application, we've put together a four-step guide, which you can follow below. We've also put together a short presentation for you to watch.

Step 1: Identify if you have a valid Compelling Personal Reasons case

Compelling Personal Reasons can only be applied to an academic year where you didn't progress. You may have previously withdrawn from a course, taken a leave of absence, or not have passed all your exams.

Student Finance will need to see that you didn't progress as a direct result of your Compelling Personal Reasons. This means that they must have occurred during the academic year in question.

You must be able to evidence that the Compelling Personal Reasons:

  • affected your studies, or
  • prevented you from continuing.

Step 2: Gather your supporting evidence

You'll need evidence in support of your application. This must be from a professional person aware of your circumstances. Supporting evidence may include:

  • medical evidence from a GP
  • a supporting letter from Student Support Services
  • a supporting letter from a pastoral adviser at NTU or a previous university
  • a supporting letter from your course leader or tutor
  • a letter from Social Services
  • a letter from clergy or professional person
  • a death certificate
  • a photocopy of a birth certificate.

Your supporting evidence must clearly show that:

  • your Compelling Personal Reasons affected your studies, and
  • that they affected your studies during the year in question.

The evidence must be on headed paper. Electronic copies are fine. All evidence must be legible.

Step 3: Write your personal statement

Your personal statement will need to include:

  • your name
  • your address
  • your Student Finance customer reference number
  • a statement describes how your Compelling Personal Reasons affected your studies.

Your statement should be brief, a few sentences is usually enough. It must be in your own words.

Our CPR guide for undergraduates has a template letter for you to use.

Step 4: Upload or send your evidence to Student Finance

Upload your Compelling Personal Reasons request. Use the document upload facility in your Student Finance account. This short video explains how.

You can also send your evidence in by post, but it may take longer to process.

CPR for full-time undergraduates

Get support with your enrolment and Maintenance Loan

It can take some time for Student Finance to consider your CPR application. We can advise you on how to become fully enrolled while you wait. Please email us for more assistance.

Get support with your CPR application

Book an appointment to speak to one of our Student Finance Advisers if:

  • you'd like to discuss your individual circumstances
  • you're not sure whether you'll need to apply for Compelling Personal Reasons
  • you have further questions.

You can also download a copy of our CPR guide for undergraduates.

  • Last updated: 04/10/2023