Home or Overseas fees: the basics

Last modified: 19 September 2016

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. UKCISA does not create the criteria for fee status. The fee status criteria is provided in regulations, and guidance, published by the governments of the four countries of the UK - England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Different criteria will be applied depending on which country you are studying in, and whether you are studying a course at higher education (HE) or further education (FE) level.

Please read the information immediately below 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 (HE) or further education (FE)?

Last modified: 26 January 2016

Higher education (HE) courses include HNC and HND courses, undergraduate degrees (for example, BA, BSc, BEd) and postgraduate degrees (for example, MA, MSc or PhD).

Further education (FE) courses include GCSEs, AS and 'A' levels (and their equivalents), NVQs, GNVQs, BTECs and Access courses.

If you are not sure whether your course is HE or FE, ask your place of study. If your course is a HE course, the institution will usually decide your fee status on the basis of the relevant fees regulations. If your course is a FE course, the institution might consider charging you 'home' fees even if you do not come within the categories in the fees regulations; this will depend on your circumstances.

How much are ‘overseas’ fees?

Last modified: 08 October 2015

'Overseas' fees can range from £3,500 to about £18,000 per year depending on the institution, the level of course and the type of course. The fee will probably increase each year by the level of inflation. You should contact the institutions you have applied to in order to find out what the fees are for your course and whether they can tell you what the fees will be for future years.

Your institution will probably ask you to give them some information about yourself and your family to help it assess your fee status. It will use the information you give to check if you fit into one of the categories for 'home' fees. You may be asked to provide documents (for example, a passport or official letters) to support the information you give.

Appealing a fee status decision

Last modified: 22 January 2016

If you think a mistake has been made, do not sign any document or contract agreeing to pay the 'overseas' rate of fee. Contact the institution immediately and ask it to explain the decision. If you still think the decision is wrong, give the reasons why you think there has been a mistake. It is important to communicate in writing and to keep copies of all correspondence. If you are still not satisfied with the decision, contact an adviser at your institution, your Students' Union or telephone our Advice Line.

Becoming ‘home’ after the course has started

Last modified: 09 May 2016

In some circumstances, it is possible to become a  'home' fee payer after the start of your course. 

Gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain part-way through a course, or acquiring three years' residence in the UK, do not change your fee status.

This list is just a brief headline summary of changes that can trigger eligibility for ‘home’ fees.  In all cases, check that you meet the full eligibility in the country where you are studying, including any rules about residence or about your family member’s situation.

  • You or a family member becomes a refugee.
  • You, your spouse or your parent are refused asylum but granted Humanitarian Protection or another specified form of leave.
  • You already met the relevant three-year residence requirement on the first day of the first academic year of your course, and on the first day of a subsequent academic year you are now: 
    • an EU national, or the family member of an EU national
    • an EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or the family member of such a person
    • the child of a Swiss national

Am I insured for fees?

Last modified: 02 September 2015

Endsleigh provides proportionate reimbursement of your prepaid course fees if you have to cancel your course, cut it short or repeat it due to accident or sickness of yourself or a close relative.

‘No recourse to public funds’

Last modified: 19 October 2015

If you have ‘no recourse to public funds’ included in your passport stamp, you will not be in breach of your immigration conditions if you have access to education in the UK. ‘Public funds’ are defined in the Immigration Rules as a specific list of welfare benefits, not including education or any education funding.