England: fee status

Last modified: 02 December 2015

Publicly funded educational institutions normally charge two levels of fee: a lower 'home' fee and a higher 'overseas' fee. Private sector institutions often have only one level of tuition fee, which all students must pay.

Whether you pay a 'home' or 'overseas' fee depends on whether you meet certain criteria.

Please read the information on Home or Overseas fees? before looking at our explanation of the fees regulations/guidance for your relevant area of the UK.

Remember that, in the context of the fees regulations/guidance, certain terms mean what is explained for them in the 'definitions' and not what you might interpret from an ‘everyday’ understanding of the words.

Higher Education

Last modified: 20 January 2016

This information explains the conditions you need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the 'home' rate for study on a higher education (HE) course in England.

If you fit into one of these categories, an institution must charge you 'home' fees. In order to be eligible in a category, you must meet all the criteria required by that category, including any residence requirement.

Further Education for 16-18s

Last modified: 27 November 2015

In England, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and Skills Funding Agency (SFA) fund FE courses. They publish fee assessment guidance on who they will allow to be charged a 'home' fee:

  • EFA funds eligible students who are aged 16-18 years (excluding those who are on Apprenticeship courses) on 31 August in the funding year in which they start their course; and
  • SFA funds students who are aged 19 years or over (and those who are on Apprenticeship courses, aged 16-18 years) on 31 August in the funding year in which they start their course; and
  • a 'funding year' runs from 1 August in one year to 31 July in the calendar year which immediately follows. If you are 18 years old on 1 August prior to when you start the course (eg your lectures begin on 1 October) but you become 19 years old before 31 August then you will be funded by SFA not EFA.

If you are aged 16-18 years and studying a FE course (which is not an Apprenticeship course) at a FE college in England, then under the EFA rules you are eligible as a home student if you come within one, or more, of the categories outlined below.


1: EEA citizens (including British Citizens)

You are a citizen of a country that is in the EEA.

Note: This includes UK nationals. There is no requirement that you have been residing in the UK or EEA prior to the start of your course.

2: People with Right of Abode in the UK

You have Right of Abode in the UK, eg:

  • you possess a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode; or
  • you are a British Citizen.

3: People with no restrictions on working in the UK (eg people with Indefinite Leave)

You have no restrictions on working in the UK; this means you must be someone who has no condition in your UK immigration permission which restricts or prohibits the number of hours you may work. For example, if you have Indefinite Leave in the UK you will have no restriction on working.

4: People accompanying/joining specified family members in the UK

You are in the UK with a parent or spouse / civil partner, or you are joining such a person in the UK, and that person has:

  • the Right of Abode in the UK; or
  • any other kind of immigration permission (limited/indefinite leave to enter or leave to remain) in the UK; or
  • EEA nationality.

5: Children of diplomats

You are in the UK as the child of someone who is working as a diplomat.

6: Asylum seekers or those under the care of a local authority

There is eligibility for you if you are:

  • an asylum seeker; or
  • in receipt of ‘section 4’ financial support; or
  • in the care of a local authority’s social services department.

7: People with Refugee status, and specified family members

You have, or your parent or your spouse / civil partner has, Refugee status in the UK.

8: People with Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary/Exceptional Leave in the UK, and specified family members

You have, or your parent or your spouse / civil partner has, Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave or Exceptional Leave in the UK. It is not a requirement that you, or your family member (as above), acquired this leave as a result of a failed asylum application

9: Recently settled

You have been granted settled status in the UK some time in the three years immediately before your course starts, eg you were granted Indefinite Leave to Remain or British Citizenship during that period.

10: Children of Turkish Workers

You are the child of a Turkish worker and you have been resident in the EEA and/or Turkey for the three years immediately before your course starts.

11: Apprenticeship students

If you are aged 16-18 years and doing an Apprenticeship course, the EFA will not fund you but the SFA will. See the provision under the SFA 19+ rules.

12: Exceptional circumstances

Talk to your institution if you do not meet any of the above categories but think your case is 'exceptional'. The EFA will consider students in exceptional circumstances.

Further Education for 19 and older

Last modified: 19 May 2016

In England, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and Skills Funding Agency (SFA) fund FE courses. They publish fee assessment guidance on who they will allow to be charged a 'home' fee:

  • EFA funds eligible students who are aged 16-18 years (excluding those who are on Apprenticeship courses) on 31 August in the funding year in which they start their course; and
  • SFA funds students who are aged 19 years or over (and those who are on Apprenticeship courses, aged 16-18 years) on 31 August in the funding year in which they start their course; and
  • a 'funding year' runs from 1 August in one year to 31 July in the calendar year which immediately follows. If you are 18 years old on 1 August prior to when your course starts (eg your lectures begin on 1 October) but you become 19 years old before 31 August then you will be funded by SFA not EFA.

If you are aged 19 years or over, and studying a FE course (or aged 16-18 years and studying on an Apprenticeship course) at a FE college in England in the 2015/16 academic year, then under the SFA rules you are eligible as a home student if you come within one, or more, of the categories outlined below.


SPECIAL NOTE regarding your 2016/17 fee status:

The SFA has changed the eligibility criteria for 2016/17 onwards, by publishing a new set of Funding Rules. Currently, this means that fewer categories will exist from 1 August 2016:

  • However, we have not yet amended the information below to take account of these changes. Do not rely on the categories below if you want to determine your likely fee status for the 2016/17 academic year.
  • A slightly revised set of the new Rules (Version 2) has now also been published by SFA. The provisions of categories 5, 7, 8, and 9 [below], were not included in Version 1. However, in Version 2 the provisions of category 9 (for asylum seekers) were reinstated and, we understand, will now be retained for 2016/17.
  • Additionally, the provisions of categories 2, 3, and 6 [below], are now also likely to remain in place but with slightly stricter requirements added to them.

However, as in previous years, it is very important to keep an eye out for further changes in the run-up to the beginning of the new academic year. We will update our category information (below) for 2016/17 as soon as possible, so please keep checking this page.

Definitions: for fee status assessment

Last modified: 23 February 2016
This section has explanations about words and terms which occur in our information on Home or Overseas fees? and Student support. These explanations should not be read in isolation but, instead, combined with the appropriate fee status, or Student Support, category.

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