Being eligible for Home or EU fees isn’t quite as straightforward as many expats think. Families assume that having British and/or EU citizenship and owning property in the UK or EU is enough to get an offer as a Home or EU fee payer. It’s not …but read on….!
Here are some points to help you understand what the universities are looking for when the UCAS applications go in each year:
- The universities have to undertake due diligence to identify students who are eligible for a Home OR an EU offer.
- Most students who are at school overseas will receive a Fee Status Questionnaire in order to gather the information necessary to assess the student’s eligibility. This document may be extensive to include other categories of students such as asylum seekers or immigrants who may also be eligible as well as expats.
- You need to prove that your permanent residence is in one country: the UK OR EU and that you maintain your status by travelling back as a family for extensive periods of time each year to one particular place. (One parent and siblings should be enough).
- You will need a permanent home address – only one! You can’t make a case for having a permanent home in say an EU country AND England. Each of the four UK countries has a different fee structure and loan company. Depending upon your offer you may then apply to the relevant loans company. International students are not eligible for student loans.
- Initially, the universities look back at the student’s whereabouts for three years prior to the first day of the first academic term. A student applying for 2018 entry will have to show where they lived between 2015 and 2018. If the information is not clear the universities will request information about the student’s whereabouts since birth.
- The rules and regulations governing fee status allow for a student to be temporarily based overseas if they maintain strong links to their home by returning for perhaps a month or so each year to one address.
- There is provision for the parents being temporarily based overseas due to their work and therefore the student having to be based with the parents.
- Each university may ask for a variety of documents as proof of your ‘ordinary residence’ in the UK or EU such as e-tickets in and out, utility bills, property deeds or rental agreements etc even shopping transactions in one place!
Problems arise when students and parents are not clear about their ‘ordinary residence’. Many expat families that we deal with have multi-national families and could ostensibly make a case for being either UK (Scotland, England, N Ireland or Wales) with regards to their ‘ordinary residence’ as well as perhaps an EU address. I have a number of families that have several properties and/or addresses they could use in the UK and perhaps an alternative property in the EU where they may spend several weeks each year. In this case students are at risk of losing their eligibility by not maintaining links to one particular place – their ‘ordinary residence’!
Problems also arise as the rules and regulations are open to interpretation and there is no blanket policy across the universities as to information they need from the student. If a university or course is competitive they are likely to have a large team dealing with Fee Status Questionnaires. The outcome from each institution as well as the evidence they ask for varies a great deal.
Be Prepared! Contact us for your personal fee status assessment