Student Finance Eligibility – What has changed?


If you are not a UK national, but have lived in England for a substantial period of your life you may be eligible for student finance and home fees in England under the new ‘long residence’ category. This blog explains the story behind this new eligibility category.  

  • To check if you are eligible, go here;
  • For information on how to apply, go here;
  • To get advice about your situation, go here;
  • For information on scholarships, go here.  

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Before 2015/Tigere

  • Prior to 2015, many non-UK nationals needed ‘settled’ status – such as indefinite leave to remain – to be eligible for student finance and home fee status for universities in England. Many young people who had grown up in England faced a ten year wait before they would obtain ‘settled’ status and before they would be able to access student finance for university;

 

 

  • The Let Us Learn campaign was established by Chrisann Jarrett with other young people who were facing this barrier. They wanted to raise awareness of the situation and to change policy to help other young people who were ‘young, gifted and blocked’;

 

 

The Tigere Judgment and Interim Policy

  • The Tigere judgment was handed down by the Supreme Court on 29th July 2015. In response to this, on September 16th 2015, the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced the interim policy for handling relevant applications for student finance in 2015-16 only;
  • The Department of Health also announced an interim policy for handling relevant applications for NHS and social work bursary schemes;

 

Academic Year 2016-17 (and onwards)

  • On 2nd December 2015 BIS released a public consultation, Student support for non-UK nationals who have lived in the UK for a long time – consultation document. In this consultation BIS suggested several rules/criteria for a new policy that would take the place of the interim policy. These suggested rules were essentially the same as those in the interim policy but with some additional restrictions that could mean fewer young people would be eligible for student finance. This consultation closed on 8th January;
  • Let Us Learn and Just for Kids Law – as well as many of the young people who are impacted – responded to this consultation and asked for more favourable criteria that would enable more young people to take up their places at university. Let Us Learn also met with BIS to discuss how the suggested rules would exclude many young people;

 

Reg change

Screenshot from pg15 of New Eligibility Category for Higher Education Student Support – government response

  • As soon as the consultation response was released, students with live SFE applications for courses commencing in 2016 were told that the interim policy applies only to students starting before the 2016/17 academic year and that their application was on hold;

 

Dear Customer Thank you for your correspondence with Formal Appeals regarding the Interim Policy which has been set by BIS. The interim policy applies to students starting before the 16/17 academic year. The Regulations are in the process of being amended for the 16/17 academic year for those with Discretionary Leave to Remain and as such you can not be considered by the Interim Policy. As such, no appeal can progress at the moment until the legislation comes into force and all 16/17 applications have been assessed in accordance. If after assessment you believe we have not correctly applied the legislation, you may then make an appeal. Your application will remain on hold at this point in time until Student Finance England are able to make an assessment against the new legislation. You do not need to submit a new application or make a further appeal. All assessments will be made after 06/06/2016. I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Email received by those applying for SFE for courses starting in 2016-17 and who had appealed initial refusals

 

  • The process for applying for student finance for courses starting in academic year 2016-17 and beyond is different to the process for courses starting prior to 2016-17 under the interim policy. To read more about this process, see this blog here.

 

Please do get in touch if you have any information that updates, contradicts or supports the above that may be of assistance to other students.

 

 

 

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