Managing your money

Having to repeat next year? Confused about the difference between being registered internally or externally?

Tania from our Advice and Money team tells us more about what to consider and do if you are having to repeat a year…


You may be reading this because you have failed a portion of your assessments, and have been given the opportunity to repeat your modules during 2017-2018. Or perhaps you are concerned about what would happen if you fail your August resit assessments, and are required to repeat the year to progress.

Repeating as an internal student or repeating as an external student. There are different academic requirements for these two options, and also important financial and immigration implications.  In this blog post I have outlined the key things for you to be aware of and consider; if after reading this you’d like to discuss your specific situation please do not hesitate to contact us.

Before we have a look any further, it may be useful to know what we mean by some of the terms we use here. For funding purposes, we refer to ‘Home’ students as those ordinarily living within the UK, or have ‘settled status’, and have been living within the UK for 3 years prior to starting your course. For further details of personal eligibility, see Student Finance England , Student Finance Wales , The Student Awards Agency for Scotland, or Student Finance Northern Ireland eligibility pages.

‘EU’ students are those who normally live in the European Union.

Students from outside the UK, and outside of the EU, are defined as ‘International’ students.

The funding rules for “Home” and “EU” students

In terms of years being able to apply for student funding (if eligible), most students are entitled to apply for each year of their course, plus an extra year. This is sometimes called a ‘gift year’. Under normal circumstances, this allows students the opportunity to repeat a year of their course and still get their usual funding. If you have previous repeat year(s) of study, or any previous study before Cardiff University, these years are usually subtracted from this calculation.

The student finance regulations use a formula, simplified here:


You can apply for funding for each year of your course


One additional year, or ‘gift year’


Number of year(s) of previous study*


The number of years of funding entitlement  


*There are circumstances where previous years of study are not counted e.g. for ill health or exceptional personal reasons.

Obviously, your Funding body (Student Finance England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Student Awards Agency for Scotland) will do all the calculations for your funding entitlement, but this at least gives you an idea.


Internal registration

Most students following a normal pathway of study are registered internally. This means they are in attendance at lectures and seminars, participate in all classes and practicals, submit assessments and have access to University buildings and so on. If you repeat your modules/year as an internal student there are a few things you need to consider:

Tuition fees: you will be charged as normal for these, but only on a pro-rata basis if you are doing less than the usual 120 credits. So for example, if your usual tuition fee is £9000 for 120 credits, but you are doing 60 credits, you would be charged £4500. Depending on your previous study, home and EU students may be eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan/Welsh Tuition Fee Grant to cover these fees.

Maintenance funding for Home students (Loans and/or Grants): These are also usually available to internally repeating students, but it does depend on your previous study history. If you are eligible, you can apply for maintenance funding to cover the time you are in attendance – good news if you have signed a housing contract for next year, as this could help towards your living costs.

Immigration status for “International” students: If repeating as an internal student, you will still be eligible for Tier 4 leave. Since the additional year will result in a delayed end date for your course, you will need to apply to extend your Tier 4 visa to accommodate this. It is currently possible to do so from within the UK in most cases.

Information on how to do so, and how we can help, can be found on the ‘Visas and Immigration’ section of the Intranet. It is important to note that there is a time limit on the time a student can spend in the UK with Tier 4 leave, which is currently 5 years for those studying at or above degree level (with some exceptions).


External registration

If you study as an external student, things are a little different. This may be advised by your School or offered as an option if you need to re-sit your exam(s) or re-submit assessment(s) but you or your School don’t feel that you need to attend lectures, seminars, or any kind of teaching.

You won’t usually have a student card during your external repeat study year as attendance is not required. There are circumstances where you can ask to have access to the libraries or other learning resources, in order to prepare for your assessments.

Tuition fees: As you are not receiving tuition or support from the university, you do not pay any tuition fees when you are studying externally. You will, however, need to pay an external exam fee of £125 for 2017/18 regardless of how many assessments you sit. You will not be able to get tuition fee support for this.

Maintenance funding for Home students (Loans and/or Grants): As an externally repeating student, you are not eligible to apply for maintenance funding. You will need to consider carefully how you will support yourself financially during your external year, perhaps through employment, especially if you have signed a housing contract already. If you have signed a tenancy agreement, it is a legally binding contract, and you will be responsible for the rent payments. You may need to look in to finding a replacement tenant if you can no longer afford to live in the house.

Immigration status for International students: If repeating as an external student, there will be a significant impact on your Tier 4 visa. As you will no longer be required to attend classes, you will not be eligible for a Tier 4 visa. The University is obliged to report your changed status to the Home Office and your current visa will be curtailed (cancelled) to 60 days. You will need to depart the UK and apply for a new visa at the appropriate time to return for exams. Time as an external student will not count towards the time cap on study after your visa is cancelled until you are issued with your next Tier 4 visa.


A couple of other things to consider…

The time as an external student does not count towards your years of funding entitlement if you are a home or EU student. So in funding calculations, like the one above, it would not count as one of your previous study years.

If you are registered as external, you can ask to become internal, but not the other way round. The decision to be external or internal is ultimately an Exam Board decision. If you are unhappy with this, we would advise you speak to your School as soon as possible.

You must enrol as an external student. If you do not enrol, the University will assume you have withdrawn.

If you are internally repeating, you will remain exempt from Council Tax, even if you are not studying full-time (120 credits).

If you are in your final year when you are repeating externally, you will be liable for Council Tax and no longer exempt. If you are the only tenant in a house of students, the household Council Tax bill will be reduced by 25%, but you will be liable for the remainder. If you are repeating externally in any other year, you will remain exempt.

We would advise you to check the information on the intranet or contact the Advice and Money Team if you require further clarification.


Get in touch

Both the Advice & Money Team (for home and EU students) and International Student Support (for international students) will be available throughout the whole of the summer period, so please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about your results.

Advice and Money:

Tel: 02920 87 4844


International Student Support:

Tel: 02920 87 6009



Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful?  Please help us by commenting in the comments bar below, and if there is anything further you’d like to know ask your questions there too.

We’d also be grateful if you can share this information by re-tweeting or sharing with your fellow students who may find this useful – you can do this by using the share buttons or via twitter and facebook.


Best wishes,
Tania, Advice & Money Team

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice and MoneyCareers and EmployabilityCounselling, Health and Wellbeing, Disability and Dyslexia and International Student Support. The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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