The regulations that determine who pays ‘home’ fees for higher education courses in Wales are set by the Welsh Government (they are not set by UKCISA). The Welsh Government made a number of changes to those regulations on 31 December 2021, through the Education (Student Fees, Awards and Support) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2021 (Statutory Instrument 2021 No.1365).
UKCISA’s pdf guide, ‘Who pays ‘home’ fees for higher education in Wales?’ has been updated to reflect the changes. These are:
1. A change that means anyone using the ‘3 years in Republic of Ireland/UK/Islands, settled in UK’ category does not need to be ‘settled’ and ordinarily resident in the UK on the ‘first day of the first academic year of the course’. Instead, they need to be ‘settled’ and ordinarily resident in the UK on the day on which the first term of the first academic year actually begins.
See page 27 of the pdf guide for this, and all the other criteria for the category. There is a special note on page 29 of the pdf guide for you, if your fees were due on or after 1 August 2021 but before 31 December 2021.
2. An entirely new category for some Irish citizens, on page 46 of the pdf guide, which UKCISA has titled ‘Brexit temporary offer for courses starting before 2028: Irish citizens with residence in Europe or overseas territories’. This might help some Irish citizens who have been living outside Ireland.
This category is available for any academic year that starts on or after 1 August 2021, if the fees are being charged on or after 31 December 2021.
3. Certain family members who come to join an EU/Norway/Iceland/Liechtenstein/Switzerland citizen in the UK after the end of the Brexit transition period (11pm on 31 December 2020) will now count as ‘persons with protected rights’ even before they have made an application under the EU Settlement Scheme (see D and E on pages 15 and 16 of the pdf guide for the detail about who this covers).
They can therefore see if they meet the requirements for any of the following categories of ‘home’ student, where being a ‘person with protected rights’ is a requirement:
- ‘Brexit protected rights: EU national/EU family/Family of relevant person of Northern Ireland’ on page 54 of the pdf guide
- Brexit protected rights: EU national, 3 years in UK & Islands’ on page 57 of the pdf guide
- ‘Brexit protected rights: Worker and family’ on page 59 of the pdf guide
- ‘Brexit protected rights: Child of worker’ on page 67 of the pdf guide
- ‘Brexit protected rights: Child of a Swiss national' on page 69 of the pdf guide
The benefit is limited though, because:
- it only helps in the first year (they will be re-assessed for Year 2), and
- it must not be more than 3 months since the student arrived in the UK, when they reach the first day of the academic year they are paying fees for, and
- there are lots of other requirements that also need to be met, for any of the categories; being a ‘person with protected rights’ is just one of many requirements (the pdf guide pages listed above explain them all)
There is also new provision for people who are adopted by certain EU/Norway/Iceland/Liechtenstein/Switzerland citizens after the end of the Brexit transition period (11pm on 31 December 2020). This is explained at F and G on pages 17 and 18 of the pdf guide.
These changes benefit anyone whose fees are due on or after 31 December 2021, for academic years that begin on or after 1 August 2021.
4. A change to when a late applicant to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) counts as a ‘person with protected rights’. The change means that anyone who is waiting for a decision on an EUSS application should now be considered to meet the definition of a ‘person with protected rights’ for the purpose of the fees and Student Support regulations, if they have a Certificate of Application for their EUSS application. This is the case even if the EUSS application was made late (beyond the usual deadline, which for many people was 30 June 2021).
This change covers any academic year that starts on or after 1 August 2021, if the fees are being charged on or after 31 December 2021 (though there is no problem for an institution that implemented it earlier than that).
5. Connected to point 4, a person who makes a late application to the EUSS should have any period of residence in the UK and Islands between missing the deadline for the EUSS and making their EUSS application treated as lawful residence, even if it was unlawful. This means the residence can count as ‘ordinary residence’.
This appears in guidance rather than the regulations. It was announced by the UK Government in an England Department for Education policy paper titled ‘Access to student finance in England: late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme’ on 6 October 2021:
“Those who fail to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme within the applicable deadline… but do so at a later date, any period of unlawful residence in the UK and Islands beyond the expiry of the deadline up to the date a valid late application is made is to be treated as lawful residence for the purpose of considering the 3-year ordinary residence requirement.”
It is confirmed in paragraph 2.14.2 of the Student Finance Wales Assessing Eligibility Guidance, which states:
“SLC will effectively treat this period as lawful residence.”
If you think you benefit from one of the five changes, show this news story to your fee assessor.
Downloading the pdf guide
Please only use Version 3 of the pdf guide from now on. It is dated 14 January 2022.
Students can download Version 3 of the pdf guide (‘Who pays ‘home’ fees for HE in Wales?’) from the UKCISA website. UKCISA members will probably prefer to use the member copy of Version 3 - it can be downloaded by UKCISA members from section 2.5 of the fees section of the UKCISA online manual (look in the Resources box at the bottom of the page). It includes useful additional footnotes.
As explained at the beginning of the pdf, it is a ‘living’ document and readers should expect to see it develop over time. Please always use only the most recent version.