How fee assessments for HE in England are changing on 1 August 2021

11 May 2021

The rules about who pays ‘home’ fees for higher education courses in England are set by the Government’s Department for Education (they are not set by UKCISA). They are set out in the following sets of regulations:

The regulations identify all the different ‘categories’ of student who can insist on paying at the ‘home’ rate. They set out all the requirements a student needs to meet, to fit one of those categories. You only need to find one category that you fit into (if you fit more than one, that is not a problem).

The regulations are changing on 1 August 2021.

Categories that are closing

Some categories will no longer be available for use by new students from 1 August 2021. They will continue to be available to students who are already on their courses, until they finish their courses. This applies to the following categories:

If your course starts before 1 August 2021 and you are assessed as qualifying for one of these categories, then if at any point your eligibility for ‘home’ fees is reassessed during that course, you will have the option of using not only that category, but any of the others listed above instead. You will need to meet all the requirements for the particular category you want to use. You will also have the option of using a category that is not on this list, if you qualify for it.

Students starting courses on or after 1 August 2021 will not be able to use them.

There will be new categories to replace these categories that look similar to them, but are restricted to those people who have the right to be protected from the effects of Brexit.

Categories that are changing

Two categories will end on 31 July 2021 and be replaced by three new ones. These are the categories for:

If you qualify under the first of these categories (the one for those who are ‘settled’ in the UK) for a course that you start before 1 August 2021 then this will have no impact on you whatsoever, because your fee status will not need to be looked at again for the rest of that course.

However, if you qualify under the second of these categories (the one for those with the ‘right of permanent residence’) for a course that you start before 1 August 2021, then it is crucial you take action now. You must apply for the EU Settlement Scheme before the deadline for the scheme on 30 June 2021. Your fee assessor will be entitled to check for any academic year that starts on or after 1 August 2021 whether or not you applied in time for the EU Settlement Scheme. If you did not, they will not be obliged to charge you ‘home’ fees for that year. The only exception is if you are Irish.

This is because the category that replaces the one for those with the ‘right of permanent residence’ (it is the third category in the list below) includes that new requirement about the EU Settlement Scheme.

The three categories that replace the two categories above are as follows:

  • 3 years in UK and Islands, settled in UK (see page 10 of this pdf)
  • 3 years in Republic of Ireland / UK / Islands, settled in UK (see page 13 of the pdf)
  • 3 years in UK and Islands, EUSS settled status connection (see page 16 of the pdf)


Categories that are staying

The following ‘special status’ categories will remain. For any academic year from 1 August 2021 onwards, none of them will have a three-year residence test. If you are someone who failed to qualify for one of these categories in the past because you did not meet a three-year residence test, you might now qualify for future years – even if you are already on your course. Test yourself against the category now, and see if because the three-year residence test is disappearing, you will meet the requirements for the category for academic years that start from 1 August 2021 onwards. Talk to your fee assessor straightaway if that is the case:

They will be joined by one more ‘special status’ category, which will also not have a 3-year residence test:

  • Person granted indefinite leave as a bereaved partner

Also staying (and with no changes) is the category for those with:


Important change for students from Channel Islands and Isle of Man

Currently there is a provision in the regulations that means British citizens (and people with indefinite leave) who live in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man (‘the Islands’) are regarded as not being ordinarily resident in the UK, if they come to the UK for a course. They are treated as though they remain ordinarily resident in ‘the Islands’. The effect of this is that they don’t qualify for the category for ‘Those who are ‘settled’ in the UK’.

That provision is disappearing from the regulations on 1 August 2021.

If you are from the Islands and are not currently paying ‘home’ fees, talk to your fee assessor about how this change will affect you. If you arrived in time for the relevant date at the start of your course (1 September in the case of autumn starters), then you might be entitled to pay ‘home’ fees, because of this change (even if you are part-way through your course). You will need to meet all the requirements of the new ‘3 years in UK and Islands, settled in UK’ category, which are explained on page 10 of this pdf. If you meet those requirements, you will pay ‘home’ fees for all the years of your course that start from 1 August 2021 onwards.

It means there will be no need for institutions to have an ‘Islands’ rate of fee. 

If you are starting your course on or after 1 August 2021

If you are starting your course on or after 1 August 2021 then none of the information above matters to you. Instead, you should read the UKCISA guide, ‘Who pays ‘home’ fees for higher education in England?’.

Further reading

If you want to read the regulations that made these changes, they are the Education (Student Fees, Awards and Support) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (S.I.2021 No.127).

For information about all the categories that are available to students starting courses on or after 1 August 2021, start with UKCISA’s guide ‘Who pays home fees for higher education in England?’.

For information about all the categories that are available to students starting courses before 1 August 2021, start by looking at the UKCISA website.


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