Home or Overseas Fee Status
In common with other UK universities, the University of Sheffield charges different fees dependent on whether students are classed as Home or Overseas for tuition fee purposes. The decision to class a student as a Home or an Overseas student is determined by government legislation as set out in the Education (Fees and Awards) Regulations 2007. The regulations governing the fee status of students can be found on the government legislation website.
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What you should know about fee status
- You should have a clear understanding the definition of Ordinary Residence and the concept of being 'settled' in the UK. Clear definitions are provided by UKCISA at: www.ukcisa.org.uk
- Students are required to provide full and accurate information at the time of applying and before they register
- By signing the Registration Declaration, you are confirming that the information you have provided at the time of registering is full and accurate. Changes to this information are unlikely to be considered by the University in a request for a change to fee status
- Fee status is determined at the start of your studies, not during the course
- Once you have registered with an agreed fee status, your fee status is unlikely to change
- Each university will determine the fee status of its students. A decision by one university will not have a bearing on the decision of another university.
The rules regarding fee status are clear for most prospective students. However, there are occasions when students' fee status will need confirming by the university or universities they are applying to.
Who can be classed a Home student for fee purposes?
The Education (Fees and Awards) Regulations 2007 define who is eligible for Home fee status, setting out the categories of students who are eligible to pay the Home rate of tuition fees. You should consult the regulations for the full, up-to-date definitions of eligibility. An indication of the categories identified in the regulations is provided below:
- UK nationals and certain other people who have 'settled' status in the UK, meaning they have indefinite leave to remain and no restrictions on their stay in the UK. They must also have lived in the UK for at least the 3-year period immediately before (and including) the 1st September before the course starts
- EU nationals who have lived in the UK for at least the 3-year period immediately before (and including) the 1st September before the course starts
- EU nationals, and certain family members of non-UK EU nationals and that non-UK EU national is in the UK as a self sufficient person or student, who have lived in the European Economic Area for at least the 3-year period immediately before (and including) the 1st September before the course starts.
- People who have been granted formal Refugee Status in the UK, and certain family members of people with Refugee Status
- People who have applied for asylum in the UK who have been refused Refugee Status but been granted Humanitarian Protection (and certain family members)
- People who have previously been 'settled' in the UK (settled has a specific meaning), who have later moved to live elsewhere in the European Economic Area, for example to work, and are now returning to the UK
- People who have acquired a 'right of permanent residence' in the UK; this normally applies to certain EU nationals and their family members, who have been living in the UK for the required period
- European Economic Area and Swiss nationals (and family members) who are working in the UK
- Children of a Swiss national
- Children of Turkish nationals working in the UK.
- Long Residence, new category introduced for students who have been resident in the UK for a set period of time.
Channel Islands and Isle of Man: Undergraduates meeting the criteria for classification as Home students will be charged the same fee as mainland UK students. Postgraduates will be subject to a Fee Status Assessment to determine the level of fee.
More detailed information about the rules you need to meet to qualify for Home fee status is given on the UKCISA website
What if you are not sure which will be your fee status?
It is your responsibility to clarify your fee status during the application process. If you think your fee status could be in question, you should:
- Read the guidance provided by the UK Council for International Students (UKCISA).
- Request a formal Fee Status Assessment from the University’s Admissions Service by contacting our Applicant Information Desk.
Assessing your fee status
- The Admissions Service will normally only undertake a Fee Status Assessment once you have been offered a place at the University of Sheffield. The ruling on your fee status is independent of the academic decision to offer you a place
- When assessing your fee status, the University will not take into consideration any decision which may have been made by another institution
- If you do not request a Fee Status Assessment, and your fee status is not clear from the information you have provided in your application, the Admissions Service may write to you to ask for more information and you may be asked to complete a Fee Status Assessment form
- If your fee status is clear from the information you have provided in your application, we will assume the information is full and accurate and we will not write to you. However, you should know that even if we do not contact you before you arrive at the University, your fee status may still be in question, and you may be asked to provide further information during the registration period
- Once your fee status has been formally established, your University student record will reflect this. It is your responsibility to bring to the University's attention any error in your student record.
Can I gain Home fee status after I have started my programme of study?
UKCISA set out the limited circumstances in which a student's fee status can change part-way through their course; information is available on the UKCISA website.
Some students misunderstand the rules on fee status and believe that they might gain Home fee status part-way through their course, for example after they have lived in the UK for 3 years.
As you will see from the UKCISA guidance on tuition fee status, most of the ten categories of eligibility relate to your circumstances before you start your programme of study. For example, if you needed to have 3 years' residence before you started your studies to qualify for Home fee status, this is not going to change after you have started your course. Similarly, if you acquire 'settled' status (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the UK after the start of your course, you will not be entitled to a change of fee status unless you have been granted this as a refugee.
If you think that your fee status could change at some point after you are due to begin your course, you should defer the start of your course until the new fee status has been determined. Unless you clearly meet the criteria set out by UKCISA, there are no guarantees that your fee status will change. You should read the UKCISA guidance on fee status carefully to make sure you have understood the rules correctly, or contact the Student Advice Centre in the Students' Union (0114 2228660, email@example.com).
What if I am not eligible for Home fee status but I start my studies anyway, and cannot afford to pay the Overseas rate of fee for the whole programme?
Once you start your programme of study, your fee status is very unlikely to change. It is never advisable to begin a course unless you have a guaranteed way of paying both your tuition fees and living costs for the entire length of the course. If you cannot pay your fees at the required time, your registration may be cancelled and you will still owe the amount of tuition fees that are due – even if you have not completed the academic year or the full duration of your course.
Remember, the assessment of fee status is normally based on your situation immediately before you start a course. So, if you start your course and later find that you cannot continue to pay the Overseas rate of fee, you cannot simply take a break from your studies and then be 're-assessed' as a Home fee payer. This is because students returning from such a break are considered 'continuing students' and your fee status will remain as assessed when you originally started your course.
If you cannot pay the Overseas tuition fees, you may need to apply for a leave of absence (this means that you take some time out of your studies and your place on the course is held open for you to return to) while you secure the funds you need to pay the Overseas fees. For information about Leave of Absence, visit the SSiD website.
Where can I get more advice about my fee status?
- For a detailed explanation of each of the categories of people who are eligible for Home fee status, the UK Council for International Students (UKCISA) is the best place to start.
- If you want advice about your own situation, UKCISA operates a telephone advice line where you can get free and specialist advice about your eligibility for Home fees. Alternatively you can contact the Student Advice Centre in the Students' Union (0114 2228660 firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you think you may need a review of your fee status
We are not normally able to advise on which fee status we would allocate you until we have received a formal application. If you are an applicant and would like to discuss your fee status, please email the Applicant Information Desk (email@example.com). If you are a registered student and think your fee status may need to be reviewed, please email the Student Fees Team (firstname.lastname@example.org).