AFF is contacted by families from around the world, with queries about their children who have completed their compulsory time in education but who want to carry on studying.

Issues often include things like flights and transport costs, access after admissions deadlines and converting overseas qualifications to the UK equivalent.

This page applies mainly to Service children aged 16+ rather than spouses. If you are a spouse, please visit the Employment and Training section for information on adult learning and funding.


01   UCAS form change

From May 2022 students applying for 2023 entry to Higher Education (HE) will be able to declare if they are from a UK Armed Forces family. The question has been included to help universities and colleges recognise and support these students as they embark on HE study. Full details and FAQs are available through the UCAS website.

Please note that it is not compulsory to enter this information and the aim is to better understand the experiences of the students as they apply for HE study. UCAS states that all data is held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and their privacy policy can be viewed online.

The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance has previously worked with UCAS to develop guides that offer support for both students when applying for HE study as well as information for their schools or colleges.

For clarification on how to apply to university when you are a young person currently living in an overseas location please see our Training page.

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02   Connected Forces

Students aged 16-19 years from a UK Armed Forces family are eligible to join an online community called ‘Connected Forces’. The website was designed to be a safe space for students to chat to others about their experiences as well as accessing advice on HE, career choices and resources.

Download the Connected Forces Participant Poster for more information.

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03   Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme

The Bereavement Scholarship Scheme is available to provide University and Further Education Scholarships for the children of Service personnel whose death has been attributed to Service since 1990.

If you have any questions about the scholarships, e.g. what you need to do to apply or how to fill out the application form, contact Veterans UK.

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04   AFF secures change to student funding for Forces families

AFF is delighted that, after much campaigning, Service families should now find it easier to enrol on distance learning courses while posted overseas.

Changes to student funding rules mean that Forces families are not excluded from accessing a student loan if they are not resident in the UK on the first day of their chosen course.

Overcoming an overseas posting

The rule will grant eligibility for student funding for a UK based distance-learning course even if you are posted overseas while the course is still ongoing.

Spouse training is a topic that AFF has placed a great deal of importance on for some time now, given that spouses are unable to work in some overseas locations.

Removing unfair disadvantage

Former AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade said: “AFF is delighted with the Government’s decision to change student funding rules in order to provide Armed Forces families who are posted abroad with the same opportunities as those living in the UK, when accessing Student Finance England loans. 

AFF is committed to ensuring our families are not disadvantaged due to the nature of their Service and this decision is an excellent conclusion to months of joint working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). These changes open up a raft of opportunities for the families of serving personnel who previously might have had to forgo training whilst posted abroad; we look forward to seeing the benefits over the months and years to come.

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05   Families assigned overseas - university applications

The MOD has confirmed that any dependent children accompanying their serving parent overseas should be treated as a UK resident when applying for a university place and student funding, not as an international student. This recognises the fact that dependants are ordinarily resident in the UK and should be treated as such, because they are only not in England as a result of their parent’s temporary overseas posting.

If you have any questions about university applications or funding whilst overseas, please contact

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06   Families overseas with children at university

School Children’s Visits (SCV) flights for children in tertiary education are three return journeys per academic year.

This means that students undertaking their first degree can return home to their families during each main holiday period – Christmas, Easter and Summer.

AFF highlighted in several reports that one return journey per year placed an unaffordable burden on parents, particularly as university accommodation is often only available during term times and we are delighted that this issue has been resolved.

Further information can be found in JSP 752 on the website, the Defence Intranet or from unit admin staff.

To speak to AFF about SCV flights, please contact the Money & Allowances Specialist at

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07   Where to go for student funding

Information about adult learning and funding can be found on our Training page.

See also:

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08   Converting overseas qualifications

UK ENIC is the national agency that is responsible for providing information and expert advice on overseas qualifications. Service children may have these qualifications if they have studied for exams at international schools overseas where there are no MOD Schools available.

If this applies to you, first contact UK Education Advisory Team (UK EAT) – formerly CEAS for advice.

If you think you will need a conversion certificate for your university application, visit Please note, there will be a charge for this service.

If you have found yourself in this situation, please email and let us know.

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