Much of the following information is taken from the excellent UK Council for International Student Affairs website – under ‘info and advice’, choose ‘fees and money’.
Publicly funded educational institutions normally charge two levels of fee: a lower ‘home’ fee and a higher ‘overseas’ fee. Whether you pay a ‘home’ or ‘overseas’ fee depends on whether you meet certain criteria.
Visit UKCISA – Home or Overseas fees: the basics. Different rules apply depending on whether you are studying a course at higher education (HE) or further education (FE) and which country you are studying in. If you have been assessed as an overseas student, please get in touch with us.Back to top
Settled status: You have indefinite leave, British Citizenship, settled status under the EUSS or are a non-British Citizen serving in the British Armed Forces. You (or your partner/parent) must have had settled status before the first day of the first academic year of the course.
Three years residence: You must have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for the full three-year period before the first day of the first academic year of the course. For the definition of the first day of the academic year see UKCISA – Definitions: for fee status assessment
Ordinary Residence: You are ordinarily resident if you have habitually, normally and lawfully resided in the UK. This definition is what prevents many spouses and children from accessing student finance. Even if you have since been granted settled status, any period of overstaying in the three years prior to the start of the course will prevent you from accessing student support.Back to top
Further education courses include GCSEs, AS and A levels (and their equivalents), NVQs, GNVQs, BTECs and Access courses.
All information can be found at UKCISA – England: FE fee status. There are different provisions if you are doing an apprenticeship course, see UKCISA – Further Education: Apprenticeship courses
If you are aged 16-18, you will qualify for ‘home’ fees if you are the child of someone who has a valid visa to remain in the UK or who is British. There is no residency requirement.
If you are aged over 19 and over, you will qualify for ‘home’ fees if you:
If you reside in a devolved authority area there may be a different set of funding rules. See UKCISA – Further Education for 19 and older for more information.Back to top
Higher education courses include HNC and HND courses, undergraduate degrees (for example, BA, BSc, BEd) and postgraduate degrees (for example, MA, MSc or PhD).
You should qualify for ‘home’ fees at university if you fall into one of the following categories. There are more categories in this guide: UKCISA: Who pays ‘home’ fees for higher education in England and on the UKCISA website, but these are the main ones for spouses and children of soldiers:
*You don’t need to be settled to meet this requirement, however you still need to meet the requirement to have been ordinarily resident for a period of 3 years prior to the start of the course. So if you have been an overstayer for during that 3 year period you will not qualify.
Student support is the name given to financial support provided by the Government to eligible students in the UK*. It is composed of a loan for tuition fees and a loan for living costs. It is not considered a ‘public fund,’ therefore a student with ‘no recourse to public funds’ would not be in breach of that condition by applying for and receiving student support. See UKCISA – UK student finance, scholarships, and other funding
If you have been assessed as being eligible to pay fees at the ‘home’ rate you should be entitled to student support. You should apply within nine months of the start of the academic year. See GOV.UK: Student finance
If you are refused student support you should contact the AFF F&C team.
*The type and level of financial support available varies between the 4 countries within the UK. If you are posted in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland you should contact the AFF F&C team for further information.
Following more than two years of campaigning by AFF, Student Finance England has now changed their guidance to reflect the fact that soldiers are considered to be settled during Service. Soldiers in England are therefore able to access student support. Work is apparently ongoing to remove the disadvantage for soldiers serving in the Devolved Administrations.Back to top
If you have been accompanying your parent/spouse on an overseas assignment, then para 1(5) of Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011 allow for your time to be considered as residence in the UK. See page 21 of Higher Education Student Finance in England Assessing Eligibility – AY 23/24. If you have been refused student finance due to an overseas assignment please get in touch with the AFF F&C team.
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