How to get home fees status
September 13, 2012 2:53 PM   Subscribe

How can I qualify for home fee status in the UK for medical school?

I'm thinking about attending medical school in the UK as a graduate-entry student.

It's much easier to get admission/funding if I am a home fee status student. I'm trying to figure out if this is possible, or if it might be possible if I wait a couple of years.


- I am a dual US/EU citizen. (NOT UK)
- I have been in the UK for the past 3 years on a student visa through my US passport. However, I've had the right to remain under my EU passport. I didn't have a passport for my EU citizenship when I first started and I've been on the same (US citizen-living-in-the-UK) visa since. I have another couple of years on this visa, but I could re-enter on my EU passport easily.
- My boyfriend is a dual US/UK citizen. He doesn't live in the UK. If we got married someday, would I get home fees status right away?

- Home fees seem to come into effect when you live in the country as a resident, but not for educational purposes. I'm not sure if being in the country, and studying means that I am ONLY there for educational purposes.

- Would re-entering the country on the EU passport help?
- Working part-time in the UK while I complete my degree?
- Something else?

- Other EU countries (like Ireland) appear to use similar rules. For example: "An applicant’s principal residence for the purpose of taxation must have been in a European Union Member State for a minimum of 3 of the 5 years prior to entry to university. Prior residence as a full-time student alone does not qualify a student for EU fee rates."

Does this "alone" part mean that I need something else to qualify? Or that being a student disqualifies me?
posted by carolinaherrera to Education (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That sounds quite tricky. I assume that your current degree is being paid for as an overseas student. To me, together with your currently having a student visa, that says "resident for educational purposes".

So the question is how to start the clock ticking now for residential purposes. I assume you're looking at September 2014 entry at the earliest (it's too late for this year, except maybe if you take a UKCAT test very soon), but you'll have needed the 3 year clock ticking since September last year. If you're resident on the UK from this September, then you'll be eligible. As an EU citizen, I'd call Student Finance Services European Team and see if they can help have you considered an EU student. This will also make you eligible for UK tuition fee loans for your current course.

I don't know about how to make your entry into the country related to your EU passport - there's no official record of residence in the UK, so the only thing you could do would be to expire your US student visa somehow.

Short answer: you're going to need someone else to help.

But go for it with the graduate entry medicine. It looks awesome. I've applied for it, but unfortunately my interview skills weren't up to it.
posted by ambrosen at 3:16 PM on September 13, 2012

I have US and UK citizenship and am living in the US. When I looked into this, I understood the rules to mean I needed to be in the UK for three years prior to the start of the course for purposes other than education (which I took to mean not as a full-time student).

This question from an FAQ seems particularly relevant. Here is a much longer explanation of the rules. It seems like this hinges on the definition of "ordinarily resident". From the second link:
Where a category includes a condition that the main purpose of your residence must not have been to receive full-time education, a useful question to ask is: "if you had not been in full-time education, where would you have been ordinarily resident?". If the answer is "outside the relevant residence area" this would indicate that the main purpose for your residence was full-time education. If the answer is that you would have been resident in the relevant residence area even if you had not been in full-time education, this would indicate that full-time education was not the main purpose for your residence in the relevant area. It sounds like you'd have a hard time demonstrating you'd have been in the UK/EU/EEA for three years if you weren't on your course.
posted by hoyland at 3:18 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know about how to make your entry into the country related to your EU passport - there's no official record of residence in the UK, so the only thing you could do would be to expire your US student visa somehow.

I was reading about this just last night, but can't find the right references now. In theory, without leaving Britain, you can have it acknowledged that you have the right to be there as an EU national, despite having entered on a US passport with a student visa. This might be the right bit of the UKBA website.
posted by hoyland at 3:25 PM on September 13, 2012

If you're looking at the NHS Bursary (which I assume you are, but the rules are likely the same), then the rules are fairly clear. You need to be "ordinarily resident" within the UK for three years before. You don't qualify under that rule as you are (still) here as a student. EU citizens get a waiver if their three years in the UK were as a student, but only if their regular place of residence before then was within the EU (or EEA). As you weren't an EU citizen when you entered the UK as a student, I assume this doesn't apply.

The only thing that isn't clear is whether you would need to actually live in the UK for three years doing something other than studying to qualify, as you don't have earlier EU residency. That is, whatever passport you're living in the UK on, what matters is that you're a student. To become a home student in the UK, you need to rack up three years' of normal, non-studying (at least not full-time), residency here.
My boyfriend is a dual US/UK citizen. He doesn't live in the UK. If we got married someday, would I get home fees status right away?
No, as it is based on residency he wouldn't qualify either. I've seen a few UK citizens refused help with student costs because they were normally resident elsewhere.

You don't qualify as a home student for the simple fact that you aren't a home student. As always though, speak to the actual university you wish to attend or the right government department to confirm this.
posted by Jehan at 5:19 PM on September 13, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you so much, everyone!

Jehan, I was an EU citizen when I entered the UK, but I didn't have a second passport. I studied through a scholarship, so I wasn't paying fees (regular or EU) and didn't get a passport until later. My residence before then is a tricky matter, as I was traveling for a while. Might it be possible to qualify under that rule then?
posted by carolinaherrera at 5:34 PM on September 13, 2012

I think the key issue is that you have no non-student residency in either the UK or the EU (assuming that is the situation).
posted by Jehan at 5:44 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

My son (a dual Italian/UK citizen, born in UK but raised and resident in Italy) had a very similar problem when he applied to study as an undergraduate in the UK, not having lived there since he was 1 year old. We, too, found the rules totally confusing, and slanted to the favour of people who had been living and paying taxes in the UK for the years prior to enrolment (which is what I understand, reasonably enough, to be the motive behind these restrictions).
His situation was so different from yours, and this was also six or seven years ago, so I can't provide a simple, straight route to cut through the process. But we found the UCAS helpdesk tremendously helpful. I invested in a phonecall to lay it all out, and a very sympathetic official with a positive, can-do attitude talked me through all the options. And she eventually came across some small print about "... or otherwise having strong connections to the UK" (or words to that effect) which worked the magic. I was born a Brit, was living abroad because working for the UK Foreign Service, and intended (at that time) to retire to the UK, all of which counted as "strong connections", and my son successfully qualified as a "home student".
Obviously not all of this will necessarily apply to you, but my point is that the UCAS people really tried (and succeeded) to help.
Another source of useful input was the British Council, which - a least, in their offices outside the UK - is tasked with helping students apply to universities in the UK.
I hope some of this might give you some helpful inspiration, and good luck with your application.
posted by aqsakal at 2:41 AM on September 14, 2012

I'm in a similar situation in that I'm studying medicine as a grad (but on a 5-year course) in the UK. I have dual French/Canadian nationalities and I was studying in the EU for 3 years before starting my course.

You'll probably be able to qualify for EU fee status (which is the same as home status in terms of cost) if you're willing to forego getting loans for SFE. In my case, I didn't mention my Canadian citizenship anywhere on the med school application form and slightly twisted the truth by listing my grand-parents' address in France as my "permanent residence". Otherwise, I gave an accurate list of all my previous residences. They didn't ask any questions and just gave me EU status.

Student Finance England is the body which really looks into your circumstances. The universities themselves aren't going to dig into your visa status etc. as long as you're allowed to be in the country (which you are because of your EU citizenship).

Of course, all of the above is useless if you really need to get loans for SFE. But you might be able to get a loan from the US to make up for that... just don't tell anyone in the UK about it and say that you're self-financed!
posted by snoogles at 5:14 AM on September 14, 2012

snoogles, the important thing here is that the courses are only open to home fees students, so no matter how you fudge funding, you're not getting on the course unless you have full home fee status.

I don't think the admissions secretaries at the institutions you're thinking of applying to will be particularly helpful with this, because, friendly as they are, there's no shortage of applicants. I'd go for advice from UCAS or student funding England.

And a good place to ask this question might be New Media Medicine, which is the best place for advice about this.
posted by ambrosen at 9:39 AM on September 14, 2012

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