Do you have British expatriate teenage children planning to go to a UK university? Are you maintaining your eligibility for Home fees?
Overseas students planning to study for a degree at Imperial College this year will pay annual fees of £27,600 for a Maths degree, £26,000 for an Engineering degree and £36,400 for Medicine (Non-clinical and Clinical). This is quite a hike from the annual fee of £9,250 for Home students. Coupled with the fact that if you are designated an overseas fee payer you will not get a student loan. All this adds up to a significant outlay particularly over a four year degree or longer.
Many British expatriates assume that their children will automatically be designated a Home Fee payer and are shocked to find on submitting the UCAS form, the universities send them a Fee Status Questionnaire to ascertain the student’s fee status before making an offer. What follows is a protracted system of communication whist the universities fee teams gather all the information and evidence to support the claim for Home fees. Many students do not know if they are going to be Home or overseas for many months which adds to the stress before their final exams at school.
UK rules and regulations on fee status are complicated, politically driven and vary between UK countries and nationalities. They are related to government funding and student loans. England and Wales charge around £9,000 per year for Home students for all degrees; science, humanities and arts. Scotland’s fees are £1,820 per year for Scottish nationals (paid for by the government) but are £9,250 for English, Welsh and N Irish students (RUK). The frustrating thing is that the universities can interpret the rules and regulations as they see fit according to the information that they receive from the student. The onus is usually on the student to make a case for Home fees rather than pay the Overseas rate.
So, how can you ensure that you are a) eligible and b) maintain your eligibility for your children to remain Home Fee status rather than fall into the Overseas fee category?
There are several crucial elements to being classified as Home fees as opposed to overseas. You need to be a UK or Islands citizen, ordinarily resident in the UK (not for the purpose of education) and to be resident for three years prior to the first day of the first year of the university or college course. In England and Wales, the first day is designated as the 1st September – in Scotland the 1st August.
You can be ordinary resident in two places at the same time so, if you are based overseas, this is the way to go. You will however need to visit the UK regularly as a family to maintain your ‘ordinary and habitual mode of living’. It is really about establishing a routine of family life and gathering the evidence to support your case. The other element you may be asked about is the circumstances of you temporary absence. They are trying to establish the fact, that if you were not based overseas you would be back in the UK at your main ordinary residence.
Every family’s circumstances are different and it is important to find out if you are eligible and how to maintain your eligibility. Find out now by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.