University

AFF is contacted by families from around the world, with queries about university and accessing higher education.

Issues often include things like flights and transport costs, applying for university places, including funding, and access after admissions deadlines.

If you are looking for information about training, other than university, please visit the Employment and Training section.

Contents

01   UCAS advice for students from an Armed Forces background

Service children and spouses or partners of UK Armed Forces personnel looking to apply to university or college can find an information and advice page on the UCAS website.

Students applying for entry to Higher Education (HE) can declare if they are from a UK Armed Forces family. The question is in the ‘more about you’ section of the UCAS form, and has been included to help universities and colleges recognise and support students from a Forces family as they embark on HE study.

The SCiP Alliance has 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.

Read this blog on the UCAS website: Are you from a UK Armed Forces family? Let your university or college know. Further FAQs are available through the UCAS website.

There is also some additional information on higher education for Service children on the gov.uk website.

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02   Funding for university

In the first instance, visit the UCAS website as they have information about student finance that you may be eligible for. They also have guidance for parents on student funding.

Information about student finance is also available via the following links:

The UK has four funding sources for student finance, and it is important that families understand that the financial offer is very different in each when deciding where to look for university provision.

When applying for student finance, it depends on where your ‘permanent ordinary residence’ is as to which source you are able to apply to.

As SFA is not considered as a permanent ordinary residence, a reciprocal agreement (between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) has been put in place to enable military families to apply for the student funding which they are entitled to.

If you are applying for student finance and live in SFA, you should apply to the nation where the soldier was living immediately before they joined the Army (i.e. wherever their registered home address was). This applies for a spouse or dependant child, regardless of where they want to study in the UK, and whether they are currently living in the UK or abroad.

If you live in your own home or a private rental, then you apply to the nation where you live, as per civilian rules.

If you are a non-UK family, please see the F&C Further education, higher education and student support page for further information on accessing higher education and student finance.

If you have any questions relating to student finance, please email educationsupport@aff.org.uk

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03   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.

AFF has clarified with UCAS how UK students living overseas should apply to university in the UK. They gave the following advice when filling out the UCAS application:

  • In the ‘Contact & Residency Details’ section, there are a few fields to be aware of:
    • Postal address – give your BFPO address as this automatically indicates UK residency within the UCAS system.
    • Residency category – select that you are a ‘UK citizen’ and choose the home nation where your soldier was living immediately before they joined the Army (i.e. wherever their registered home address was).
    • In the ‘Nationality details’ section, state that you are a UK national, or your nationality as it appears in your passport, if you are a non-UK family member.
    • In the ‘Supporting Information’ section, if you currently posted in an EU country, UCAS has advised that you select ‘yes’ in response to the question.

In addition, declare that you are a ‘UK Armed Forces family’ in the ‘More about you’ section of the UCAS form as this helps universities recognise and support applicants from Forces families.

It is also recommended that you state that you are from a military family in your personal statement and ask your chosen referee to state this in their reference too.

If the universities that you are applying to have any queries with this, then they will be able to contact you directly to confirm that you are overseas due to a military posting.

If you have any questions about university applications or funding whilst overseas, please contact educationsupport@aff.org.uk

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04   Service children born overseas – university applications

AFF has clarified with UCAS how students should complete their application details if they were born outside the UK during an overseas military posting. UCAS has advised that you state your actual place/country of birth but also select that you are a UK citizen. It also recommends that you use a UK postal address (or BFPO address) wherever possible, as this will ensure that you see the ‘more about you’ section of the application where UCAS asks about individual circumstances including being from a UK Armed Forces family.

If an individual university categorises you as an international student, then speak directly to the university to explain your situation.

If you are a non-UK family, please see the F&C Further education, higher education and student support page for further information on accessing higher education.

If you have any questions about university applications, please contact educationsupport@aff.org.uk

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05   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.

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

To speak to AFF about SCV flights, please contact the Money & Allowances team at moneysupport@aff.org.uk

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06   Grants and Scholarships

There are a number of grants and scholarships available to Service children at university:

  • Armed Forces Children’s Education Trust exists to assist in funding the education of dependants of Servicemen and women, both currently serving and retired. Grants are available to those up to the age of 25.
  • Forces Children Scotland offers financial support to college and university students from Scottish military families in the UK, and non-Scottish military families in Scotland, to help with living and transport costs, digital equipment or other specific needs.
  • The Lord Kitchener National Memorial Fund provides scholarships in the region of £1,500 to children of serving or retired UK Armed Forces personnel aged 17-21. Applicants should apply before they start their first degree at a UK university. The selection process is by competition and a maximum of 25 scholarships are awarded each year. The closing date is 31 May for scholarships to be awarded annually in October.
  • You may find that your situation meets the criteria for grants and scholarships from one of the institutions on this website: www.scholarship-search.org.uk

If you have any questions or issues regarding student funding, please email educationsupport@aff.org.uk

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

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07   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 the Education Advisory Team (EAT) (UK).

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

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08   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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