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 the academic year 2021/22. Please refer to the statement on the NI Direct website.
These arrangements will not apply to Republic of Ireland nationals living in the UK and Ireland, Gibraltar, EEA or Switzerland 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.
EU/EEA/Swiss nationals with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
This 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. These students are required to hold ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Residency requirements must be met.
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.
It is only the university that is responsible for assessing an applicant’s tuition fee status in line with The Student Fees (Qualifying Courses and Persons) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 as amended.
Please note that any decisions made by third parties in relation to student support and other funding arrangements are outside of the university’s remit and will have no bearing on the fees status assessments we make which are governed by Northern Ireland’s student fees legislation.
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?
For 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 higher education courses 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, and in the Coursefinder entry for each programme.
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.
Person granted leave under one of the Ukraine Schemes
For academic years starting on or after 1 August 2022, Northern Ireland has introduced a new category of person who will be entitled to pay fees at the 'home' rate, and receive full Student Support: “Person granted leave under one of the Ukraine Schemes”. This category is open to new students in 2022/23 and, potentially, someone who has already started their course.
A “person granted leave under one of the Ukraine Schemes” means:
- a person granted leave under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme; or
- a person granted leave under the Ukraine Extension Scheme; or
- a person granted leave under the Ukraine Family Scheme.
The amending regulations provide further details about what each of those three types of person means. The regulations make reference to the relevant parts of the UK’s immigration rules. They also make clear that any such person:
- must have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands throughout the period since they were granted such leave; and
- must be ordinarily resident in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course.
Further details on the regulations can be found on the UKCISA website.
Evacuated or assisted British national from Afghanistan
For those starting new courses which begin on or after 1 August 2022, Northern Ireland has introduced a further new category of person who will be entitled to pay fees at the 'home' rate, and receive full Student Support: "Evacuated or assisted British national from Afghanistan".
The amending regulations say:
[an] “evacuated or assisted British national from Afghanistan” means a person—
(a) who is a British citizen, a British overseas territories citizen, a British National (Overseas), a British Overseas citizen, a British subject under the British Nationality Act 1981 or a British protected person within the meaning of that Act;
(b) who was either—
(i) evacuated from Afghanistan by or on behalf of the United Kingdom, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member state, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran or Qatar during the period of the operation known as Operation Pitting, which began on 14th August 2021 and ended on 28th August 2021; or
(ii) assisted by or on behalf of the United Kingdom, after 28th August 2021 and before 6th January 2022, to leave Afghanistan; and
(c) who has been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom and Islands since they were evacuated from or otherwise left Afghanistan.
Similarly to the 'Ukraine schemes' category, the amending regulations also make clear that such a person must be ordinarily resident in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course.
Further details on the regulations can be found on the UKCISA website.
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.
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)