EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals
Following the UK Government’s decision to leave the European Union, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members will no longer be eligible for ‘home’ fee charges or financial support from Student Finance NI for courses starting from academic year 2021/22. Please refer to the statement on the NI Direct website.
The government has stated that these arrangements will not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK and Ireland whose right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals under the Common Travel Area arrangement. However, we are waiting to receive full details of this arrangement when the regulations are published.
EU/EEA/Swiss nationals with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
The UK Government has stated that it will not affect those EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are waiting to receive full details of the eligibility criteria when the regulations are published.
We will update the information provided below as soon as it is available and encourage you to check the UKCISA website for further information.
In Northern Ireland, the same definitions are applied for the fee status of students undertaking postgraduate study as for undergraduate programmes, ie. fee status must be determined in accordance with The Student Fees (Qualifying Courses and Persons) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007, as amended. Guidance on the regulations determining tuition fee status for the purposes of higher education in Northern Ireland can be found on the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) website.
The University’s Admissions team will assess your fee status and determine whether you are considered to be a Home student or an International student for tuition fee purposes. A decision will be taken on the basis of the details which you have provided with your application. If your fee status is unclear, we may ask you to complete a Fee Assessment Questionnaire, and to provide copies of supporting documentation such as passports and official letters, employment contracts etc.
Do I qualify for Home Fee Status?
To qualify for ‘Home’ fee status, under the main category, a student must fulfil all of the following three criteria prior to the start of the course:
1 You must be ‘settled’ in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course. To be ‘settled’ you must either have the Right of Abode or Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain in the UK; or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law, or be a British citizen. Other EU nationals or the relevant family members of a non-UK EU national who are in the UK; or the relevant family member of a UK national may also qualify, depending on the individual’s circumstances; and
2 You must have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK/EU for the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of the course. For courses starting between 1 August and 31 December, the first day of the academic year is defined as 1 September; and
3 You must not have been resident in the UK/EU, during any part of that three-year period, wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education.
Students in the following categories may also qualify to pay fees at the 'Home' rate:
- Refugees (recognised by the UK government) and their spouses/civil partners and children; and
- Persons who applied for asylum and as a result have been granted leave to enter or remain (Exceptional Leave, Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave), and their families.
EEA and Swiss migrant workers, and their families;
- Children of former migrant workers;
- Children of Swiss nationals;
- Children of Turkish workers.
For more detailed information about the eligible categories for ‘Home’ fees please refer to the UKCISA guide 'Home or Overseas fees: the basics', and in particular, the guidance in respect of studying in Northern Ireland.
Students who meet the 'settled status' requirement but who have not been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK/EU for the required period only because they, their spouse/civil partner or parents were temporarily employed outside the UK/EU may also qualify to pay fees at the Home rate. Documentary evidence acceptable to the University must be provided to substantiate the temporary nature of the absence, and evidence must be provided to show that a relevant connection has been maintained with the UK/EU throughout the period of absence. Such supporting documentation would normally include:
1 Evidence of the fixed-term or temporary nature of the employment overseas. This should cover the full period of the absence and clearly state the temporary nature. A copy of employment contract(s) which demonstrate fixed-term appointments or secondments would be most appropriate; and
2 Evidence of continued links with the UK/EU throughout the period of absence, in the form of utility bills for a current property, and copies of bank statements or evidence of income tax/NI payments in the permanent country of residence. Evidence of return journeys made to the UK/EU during the period of temporary absence should also be provided, eg. flight tickets/boarding passes.
Postgraduate Students - Home
Students who can demonstrate that they fully meet the requirements to qualify to pay fees at the Home rate will be charged a tuition fee according to the level of postgraduate study (taught or research), and the specific programme of study. Further details of the tuition fee rates are available on the Student Finance section of the website.
Students who do not qualify for Home Fee Status will be charged tuition fees at the overseas/international rate. Details of the tuition fee rates and payment arrangements are available on the International Tuition Fees section of the website.
UKCISA -The UK Council for International Student Affairs has a range of information on their website on all aspects of the International student experience including fees, funding and student support.
Changes to your Fee Status during your Programme
In most cases fee status cannot be changed after you have registered at the University, however it may be possible in very limited circumstances. Please note that if you are classified as international for fee purposes, and you obtain 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' after the first day of the first academic year of your programme (1 September in the year that your programme started), or if you subsequently acquire three years’ residence in the UK, your fee status will not change.
If you already met the relevant three-year residence requirement on the first day of the first academic year of your course, you may become eligible to pay fees at the Home/EU rate from the start of the next academic year, if you become an EU national (or the relevant family member of an EU national), or your country joins the EU.
Further details of the exceptional circumstances under which fee status may change are listed on the UKCISA website.
Further Guidance about Fee Status
- Please consult the UKCISA website for a full explanation of the relevant categories detailing eligibility for Home fee status at Higher Education Institutions in Northern Ireland. Definitions of the key terms referred to are also available on the website.
- UKCISA operates a telephone advice line where you can get free advice and guidance about your eligibility for Home fees, based on your own circumstances.
How do I appeal my assigned Fee Status?
If you think the University has incorrectly applied the regulations in assessing your status for tuition fee purposes, it is possible to appeal this decision.
The Student Finance Framework has been developed by the University to provide a consolidated guide on all matters which have an impact on tuition fees and associated charges. The Framework also includes a Fee Appeals Process. The Student Finance Framework and full details of the Fee Appeals Process (contained within Section 10 of the Framework document) including information on the Grounds for an Appeal are available here.
Appeals should be submitted to the office of the Director of Finance in the first instance (firstname.lastname@example.org)