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What is the Difference Between Mitigation and Deferring?

Mitigation and Deferring will always have people confused. Even if you use a University Terms Glossary, you’re likely to struggle to know what it means, purely because so many people use each word in the wrong context. Deferring and Mitigation can always differ for university-to-university and so many universities have so many different rules for each process, that it’s almost impossible to do a “one size fits all” approach to an article, such as this.

Luckily, we’ve created a bumper guide to both processes and how they impact affect you. As we said above, each university is unique in its approach and it will have its own ways to change things, so with that in mind you should

What is Mitigation?

Mitigation is a process. The process of Mitigation is any circumstances that are beyond a student’s control that will cause them to have to leave their course at the midway point. Mitigation can mean a number of different things and universities always have a different way of defining them, too, so it really is best for you to make yourself aware of what the university defines as “Mitigating circumstances”.

What are mitigating circumstances?

This is dependent on the university, mitigating circumstances vary for university-to-university and their codes of conduct. However, most universities consider mitigating circumstances as being sudden illnesses, serious events that affect your ability to concentrate on your university work and anything else that may affect you when you are at university.

What is Deferring?

Deferring is a different process entirely to Mitigation. Deferring is where you decide to put off your beginning of study at a university for a set period of time. Maybe you want to retake your exams during a gap year, maybe you want to take a gap year in general (Obviously, be aware of any of the common gap year mistakes that people make when they go (And if you’re going to Europe, make sure that your European Health Insurance is sorted, too)) or go into the world of work, there are literally hundreds of reasons that a person may decide to defer their university start.

What is the difference between Mitigation and Deferring?

Well, deferring is done before the university term begins. Nearly 35% of students defer their course before they begin, however, nearly 75% of people go through Mitigation, which is done midway through the university year. Mitigation is basically what you will do in your course and deferring is what you will do before.

Do I lose my place if I defer my first year?

Not necessarily, no. It all depends on the university that you’re studying at. Many universities will, of course, allow you to defer, whereas others may be more strict on immediate attendance. The best way to find out if you’ll lose your university place is to ask your university and find out what their policy is regarding deferring.

Am I charged any money for deferring?

Nope! It’s a completely free thing for you to do. However, the cost of deferring could be far greater than any monetary expenses. If your university does reallocate your place to another applicant, then you can risk losing your place. Although, as stated above, this is not a likely occurrence.

Does deferring affect my student finance at all?

Luckily, no it does not. Basically, the student finance is your paying back the amount of money for your time at university, not the years that you were not there. Essentially, your decision to defer a year at university will have little-to-no impact at all on your university fees or the amount that you will have to payback overall.

Can all courses be deferred?

Not all courses are able to be deferred. Some universities will exercise the right to move your place on for certain courses, especially if that course is very popular. For example, if a Business Studies course is proving very popular that year and you decide to defer your year at the university, the university would obviously reserve the right to move you on from said course, as the demand is exceeding the acceptance rate. As we said before, it is best to speak to you university and see what their stance is regarding deferring and see if it is okay for you to do so.

If I defer a place at university, do I have to apply all over again?

This depends on the university offer that you have from your university.  Your university offer may be different than other student’s offers. Some universities have been known to hold places for students even after they defer them, but this can very much depend on the university and the course itself. It’s best to speak to your university before deciding on deferring.

What is deferred entry?

It’s exactly what you think it is. This is where you apply for a course a year in advance, so as to allow for whatever it is that you’ll be doing. If you are deferring, this is most likely what you will be doing in order to get there. Not all universities will run a deferred entry application round because as we said above, not all universities are a fan of people deferring their place, you will most likely need to mention your plan for deferred entry in your UCAS application, too. 

What if I’ve deferred my course, but I’ve decided that I don’t want to go to university, anymore?

A great question, with a simple answer! Just let your university know. They will be happy that you’ve let them know so that they can offer the place to someone else. You’ll need to tell them and they know from there. If you decided to leave university altogether, then you will need to let them know and make sure that you have something lined up for yourself. It’s not uncommon for such a thing to happen.

What if I’ve deferred my course, but I’ve decided to change universities?

Happens all the time, so don’t worry. The method that we recommend is that you actually get accepted at the other university, before cancelling your application to your other university, and then ask them to transfer your credits onto your new course, the universities will then sort out the finer details themselves. Don’t worry about it too much, the universities will most likely have this covered.

What if I decide to move universities during a course year?

Same principle as above applies. This is known as mitigation, where you move for one university to another, during the term at university, not before. The same methodology as above still applies, though.

So there you have it! Mitigation and Deferring have been defined very easily for you to look at. Remember that plenty of people go through either process, some even go through both! Just remember that you need to think about things if you’re going to do this, don’t just jump at the decision without first thinking it through. Take your student finance into account and think about how you’ll write your personal statement if you are planning on deferring your start to university. Good luck!