Determining eligibility for home student fees in the UK can be complex, as it depends on various factors such as nationality, residency status, and the specific course being undertaken. Recent changes have expanded the eligibility criteria, providing more opportunities for certain categories of students to access home fees, including the ability to change status mid-course in certain circumstances. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you understand the eligibility criteria, along with case studies and scenarios: 

Eligibility Criteria for Home Student Fees: 

1. Nationality: 

  • British citizens who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the three years preceding the start of the course are eligible for home student fees. 
  • European Union (EU) nationals who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the three years preceding the start of the course are eligible for home student fees. 
  • Nationals of countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the three years preceding the start of the course are eligible for home student fees. 

 2. Residency Status: 

  • Individuals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the three years preceding the start of the course are eligible for home student fees. 
  • Refugees and their family members who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the three years preceding the start of the course are eligible for home student fees. 
  • Students holding Ukraine visas are now eligible for home fees and student support. 

3. Course Type: 

  • The course must be a qualifying course offered by a provider registered with the Office for Students (OfS) in the Approved (Fee Cap) part of the register. 
  • Qualifying courses include undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as certain further education courses. 

Recent Changes and Expansions: 

1. Mid-Course Status Changes: 

  • Starting from the 2024/25 academic year, students can become eligible for home student fees if their UK immigration status changes partway through their course, provided they meet the relevant residency requirements. 
  • If a student becomes a British citizen, an Irish citizen, or is granted any form of 'settled status' or Indefinite Leave to Remain, they will be eligible for home student fees starting in the next academic year if they also meet the residency requirements. 
  • Students granted refugee status, humanitarian protection, or leave under a Ukraine scheme will also become eligible for home student fees, regardless of their previous residency. 
  • Eligibility can also be obtained if a student's parent, guardian, spouse, or civil partner changes their status in a similar way. 

2. Indefinite Leave to Remain Holders: 

Students who currently pay overseas fees but have gained Indefinite Leave to Remain or British/Irish citizenship during their studies may become eligible for home fees from the 2024/25 academic year onwards, provided they meet the three-year ordinary residency requirement. 

3. EU Pre-Settled/Settled Status Holders: 

Further guarantees have been provided for students holding EU pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to continue being eligible for home fees and/or student support. 

Case Studies and Scenarios: 

1. EU National with Settled Status: 

  • Emma, a French national, has been living and working in the UK for the past five years. She has obtained settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. 
  • Emma is eligible for home student fees if she enrolls in a qualifying course at a UK university, as she meets the nationality and residency requirements. 

2. British Citizen Returning from Overseas: 

  • John, a British citizen, has been living and working in Australia for the past four years. He plans to return to the UK and enroll in a master's program. 
  • John will be eligible for home student fees if he has been ordinarily resident in the UK for the three years preceding the start of his course. 

3. Refugee Family: 

  • The Ahmadi family fled their home country and sought asylum in the UK two years ago. They have been granted refugee status. 
  • If the Ahmadi family members enroll in a qualifying course at a UK university or college, they will be eligible for home student fees after being ordinarily resident in the UK for three years. 

 4. International Student Gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain: 

  • Samantha, a Canadian citizen, has been studying in the UK for the past two years on a student visa. During her studies, she gained Indefinite Leave to Remain. 
  • Samantha may become eligible for home student fees from the 2024/25 academic year onwards if she meets the three-year ordinary residency requirement before the start of her course. 

 5. Student Gaining British Citizenship Mid-Course: 

  • Ahmed, an international student from Pakistan, has been studying in the UK for two years. During his third year, he obtains British citizenship. 
  • Ahmed will become eligible for home student fees starting from the next academic year, provided he meets the residency requirements. 

 It's crucial to note that the eligibility criteria for home student fees are subject to change, and it's always advisable to check the latest updates and guidance from the relevant authorities, such as the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) or the Student Loans Company (SLC). 


If you're considering pursuing higher education in the UK, it's recommended to seek guidance from Lurnable's advisory services and assessment tools. Lurnable offers subscription plans that provide access to premium articles, eBooks, and expert guidance tailored to help you make informed decisions about your education and career path.  

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