Regulations on fee status for Northern Ireland from August 2021

01 April 2021

Regulations on fee status for European students starting courses in Northern Ireland from August 2021

The Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland has now issued the fees and student finance regulations that will determine who is entitled to be treated as a ‘home’ student for higher education courses in Northern Ireland that start from 1 August 2021 onwards. They dictate how European students starting new courses will be treated. The regulations are long and complex.

UKCISA is currently busy analysing the regulations. As you are probably aware, these are the biggest changes made in many years and we appreciate your patience while we do this. When our analysis is ready, we will publicise it on the UKCISA newswall. We will not be able to publish information about the eligibility criteria for each of the categories until we complete that analysis. If you wish to read the regulations yourself in the meantime, they are the Education (Student Fees and Support) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 (S.R. 2021 No.85).

If you work in an institution, you might like to know that UKCISA will be delivering training on these regulations and their impact on fees assessments. You can register to receive an email when the dates for that training are announced.


New categories for groups with special status in UK

The Department for the Economy has also issued a separate set of regulations, which provides for  some new categories of student to be eligible for ‘home’ fees and student finance for courses starting from 1 August 2021 onwards:

  • persons granted Calais leave, and their dependent children
  • persons granted indefinite leave to remain as a bereaved partner
  • persons granted indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence and domestic abuse

Those regulations also remove the ‘persons with leave to enter or remain and family’ category for academic years from 1 August 2021 onwards, and replace it with individual categories for:

  • persons granted humanitarian protection, and family
  • persons with discretionary leave, and family
  • persons granted stateless leave, and family
  • persons with long residence

None of the seven categories mentioned above will have a requirement for three years’ ordinary residence. The requirement for three years’ ordinary residence that currently exists in the ‘persons with section 67 leave, and dependent children’ category will also be dropped.

You can see the requirements for all these new categories in the Education (Student Support, etc) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 (S.R. 2021 No.50). We will be incorporating information about the new categories into UKCISA web information over the next few months. If you have queries about any of these seven special status categories in Northern Ireland (not the new European categories) in the meantime then please phone the UKCISA advice line.