Publicly funded educational institutions charge two levels of fee:
the lower 'home' fee and the higher 'overseas' fee. Private sector
institutions often have only one level of tuition fee, which all
students must pay.
Whether you pay the 'home' or 'overseas' fee depends on whether you
meet certain criteria. Different criteria can be applied depending on
which country you are studying in (England, Scotland, Wales or Northern
Ireland), and whether you are studying a course at higher education or
further education level.
Please read the definitions below, and those on our Definitions page, before you read the rest of our information, and remember that in the context of the fee status regulations these terms always mean what is explained in the definitions, and not what you might interpret from an ‘everyday’ understanding of the words.
Last modified: 17 October 2013
'No recourse to public funds'
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.
Higher or Further education?
Higher education courses include HNC and HND courses, undergraduate degrees (for example, BA, BSc, BEd) and postgraduate degrees (for example, MA, MSc or PhD).
Further education 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 higher education or further education, ask your place of study.
If your course is higher education, the institution will usually decide your fee status on the basis of the relevant fees regulations.
If your course is a further education course, the institution might consider charging you 'home' fees even if you do not come within the categories in the regulations. This will depend on your circumstances.
How much are 'overseas' fees?
'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, passport, official letters) to support the information you give.
Appealing a fee status decision
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
UKCISA's Students' Advice Line.
Becoming 'home' after the course has started
There are two possible ways to become a 'home' fee payer after the start of your course:
- You become a refugee, or your asylum application is refused but
you are granted another specified form of leave, or this happens to a
relevant member of your family and you met the relevant 'family
condition' on the date of their asylum application.
- You already met the relevant three-year residence requirement on the first day of the first academic year of your course, and you become one of the following:
- 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
- the child of a Turkish worker in the UK
Other changes during your course, such as gaining Indefinite Leave to
Remain, or other changes to your immigration status, or acquiring three
years' residence in the UK, do not necessarily affect your fee status.
Am I insured for fees?
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