Many British expats are shocked to find that they may be expected to pay overseas fees when their son or daughter is applying to university in the UK.
Overseas fees can range from around £12,000 a year to up to £27,000 for a lab based degree (including Maths) at Imperial and £35,000 plus for medicine or veterinary.
Many expats are still eligible for Home Fees: being settled in the UK and meet the main residence requirements – having a British or EU passport is just one aspect of eligibility, there are many others. The universities will also look at where the student has been residing in the three years prior to the first day of their university degree, if this is overseas, they will ask for details of your ‘ordinary residence’ in the UK and want to know why the student and family are based overseas, which may include information about the parent’s work contract, as well as seeking general background information. They may also ask for evidence to support a case for Home Fees and can go back to the students birth date if necessary.
Most people don’t realise until after the university applications are submitted to UCAS that they are going to have to make a case for Home Fees and send in evidence to show that they have active connections to the UK. The rules and regulations governing Home and EU fee status are vague, based on case law dating to the early 1980s and are open to interpretation by the university admissions staff. This year (2016 entry) many students have been given a deadline of three weeks by their university choices to provide relevant evidence to support their case – not meeting the deadline may mean the universities will cancel their application. To complicate matters the UK has four governments, four countries that approach establishing a student’s fee status in a different manner and if a student is successful in obtaining Home/EU fee status at the university they have to go through a second process when they apply for student tuition fee loans.
With the real cost of an undergraduate degree estimated to be around £16,000 per head per annum, the universities are looking for students who have cut ties to their UK or EU base and have lost the right to being subsidised by the UK taxpayers. Recruiting overseas fee payers is an important income stream for universities. The Scottish Referendum in 2014 and the General Election in 2015 highlighted the issue of student fees and funding which is politically and economically driven.
Don’t be one of the families that have let their eligibility slide – make sure you know what to do to maintain your eligibility and what evidence you need to have to support your case.
I advise over a hundred families each year on their eligibility for UK/EU Fee Status – many of them are confused as to what constitutes eligibility and what evidence they need to send in to support their case. Don’t be caught out – contact www.ukstudyoptions.com for a Fee Status appraisal now.