Northern Ireland: fee status

Last modified: 12 June 2018

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 (HE) courses at HE institutions

Last modified: 03 May 2018

This information explains the conditions you must meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the 'home' rate for study at a HE institution in Northern Ireland. Information is based on The Student Fees (Qualifying Courses and Persons) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 (as amended).

Private sector institutions often have just one level of tuition fee, which all students must pay. However, we understand from the Northern Ireland Government that publicly funded educational institutions in Northern Ireland will charge one of three levels of fee:

  • a ‘home’ fee (£3,575); or
  • a middle rate capped fee which certain, specified students who are not eligible for the 'home' fee may qualify for. New fee regulations came into force in September 2012 which mean that students who started a course on/after that date are assessed differently, in a small number of ways, to those who began their course before that date. Institutions have agreed with the Northern Ireland Government to cap this middle rate fee at £9000; or
  • a top-rate, uncapped ‘overseas’ fee for all other students.

1. 'Settled' in the UK

2. 'Settled' in the UK and have exercised a 'right of residence'

3. EU nationals and family

4. ‘EU Nationals in the UK’

5. Those with the ‘right of permanent residence’ in the UK

6. EEA/Swiss workers and family

7. Child of a Swiss National

8. Child of a Turkish worker

9. Refugees and family

10. ‘Person with leave to remain’ and family

Courses at further education (FE) institutions

Last modified: 13 February 2018

This information explains the conditions you need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the 'home' rate if you are studying any course at a FE institution in Northern Ireland. This includes courses of higher education (HE) as well as courses of further education (FE). This information is based on circulars published by Northern Ireland's Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI), which are, in turn, underpinned by regulations. Combining the circulars with the legislation results in a number of categories of student who are eligible for 'home' fees.

1. Those who are 'settled' in the UK and meet the main residence requirements

2. EU nationals, and family

3. EEA/Swiss workers, and family

4. Child of a Swiss National

5. Child of a Turkish worker

6. Refugees, and family

7. ‘Person with leave to enter or remain’, and their family

8. Asylum seekers and Syrian (VPRS) refugees, and family

Definitions: for fee status assessment

Last modified: 12 June 2018

This section has explanations about words and terms which occur in our information, above. These explanations should not be read in isolation but, instead, combined with the appropriate fee status category.


European Economic Area (EEA)

European Union (EU)

First day of the academic year

Ordinary residence

Overseas Territories


UK and Islands

Relevant family members – Northern Ireland - HE courses at HE institutions