EU Student Funding Entitlement

Eligibility criteria for Tuition Fee and Maintenance loans through Student Finance England

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The eligibility rules for Student Finance have changed for students starting a course from the 2021/22 academic year onwards because of the UK leaving the EU from the 30th December 2020.

 

The UK government has confirmed that EU/EEA students starting their Higher Education course up to and including starting in the academic year 2020/21 will be able to access UK government funding on the same basis as they can currently, for the duration of their course.

You can make an application for funding through Student Finance England.

Most EU nationals are eligible to apply for the Tuition Fee Loan only. If you are not an EU national but there is an EU national in your family, you might still qualify for a Tuition Fee Loan.

However, some EU nationals can also apply for the living costs elements of UK Student Finance. There are two main categories of eligibility as explained below.

1. Non-UK European nationals living in the UK and Islands
To be eligible for Student Finance under this category, you must be:

  • an EU (but non UK) national on 1st September of the year in which you start your course; and
  • ordinarily resident in England on 1st September of the year in which you start your course; and
  • have been ordinarily resident in the UK, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man for the five years immediately before 1st September of the year in which you start your course (you can ignore any short absences, such as holidays); and
  • if during any part of the five-year period your residence was for the main purpose of receiving full time education, you must have been ordinarily resident in the UK or elsewhere in the EEA and/or Switzerland immediately before the three-year period.

2. Non UK EEA and Swiss Migrant workers and family
(The EEA is all the EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).

To be eligible for Student Finance under this category, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • you must be a non-UK EEA national or a Swiss national and resident in the UK as a worker (this includes employment or self-employment), or the relevant family member (spouse/civil partner/child/other relevant family member) of such a worker; and
  • you must be ordinarily resident in England on 1st September of the year in which you start your course, (unless you are an EEA or Swiss frontier worker or their relevant family member); and
  • you must be ordinarily resident in the UK or elsewhere in the EEA and/or Switzerland for the three years immediately before the 1st September of the year in which you start your course (you can ignore any short absences, such as holidays).

If this is the first time you’ve applied for student finance as a migrant worker, you should apply on a PN1 form.

Along with your application, you’ll need to send Student Finance England your original passport or National Identity Card. You’ll also need to send evidence to show that you’re working in the UK.

Further information about funding with Migrant Worker status can be found through UCAS – Migrant Workers

The eligibility criteria for Student Finance and for the Home rate of the tuition fee for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting a course from September 2021 have changed due to the UK no longer being a member of the EU. There are different rules for Irish citizens.

You can make an application for funding through Student Finance England.

Below are three of the main categories of European nationals who might qualify for government Student Finance in England. In some categories this would just mean qualifying for a Tuition Fee Loan, and in others it also means qualifying for a Maintenance Loan. For each category you need to be undertaking the course in England.

Pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

You should be eligible for a Tuition Fee loan if you are:

  • An EU national on the first day of the first academic year of the course (you may also be eligible if you are the relevant family member of someone who is an EU national in the UK); and
  • You have Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or you are awaiting a decision on an application you made to the EUSS by the deadline, or appealing a decision; and
  • You have been ordinarily resident in the UK/EEA/Switzerland/Gibraltar for the full three year period before the first day of the first academic year of the course (1 September for course starting between September and December); and
  • That residence was not wholly or mainly for the purpose of education; and
  • You are undertaking the course in England

Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme

If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss national who has been granted Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme you may be eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan if you meet all of the following criteria on the first day of the first academic year of the course (1 September if your course starts between September and December):

  • Ordinarily resident in England
  • Have been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom and Islands throughout the three-year period preceding the first day of the first academic year of the course
  • If the three-year residence period referred to above was wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education, you must have been ordinarily resident in the territory comprising the UK, Gibraltar, EEA and Switzerland immediately prior to the start of that period of residence

Migrant workers

If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss national and you meet the eligibility criteria for the Pre-Settled Status category above and in addition if you are ordinarily resident in England on the first day of the first academic year of your course (this is 1 September for course starting between September and December), you could qualify for a Maintenance Loan in addition to the Tuition Fee Loan if you or a relevant family member are a worker in the UK. The necessary requirements for being deemed a worker are detailed and are explained on page 39 onwards of the SFE Assessing Eligibility guidance.

If this is the first time you’ve applied for student finance as a migrant worker, you should apply on a PN1 form.

Along with your application, you’ll need to send Student Finance England your original passport or National Identity Card. You’ll also need to send evidence to show that you’re working in the UK.

Further information about funding under Migrant Worker status can also be found through UCAS – Migrant Workers

Irish citizens are free from any restriction on the period for which they may remain in the UK. They are deemed to have ‘settled status’ and do not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Please check the information below to see if you are eligible for Student Finance.

Please note that where a category refers to ‘the first day of the first academic year of the course’, this will be 1 September for courses that start between September and December and 1 January for courses that start between January and August.

If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements for full support, please read the section below that to check if you are eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan only. For all categories you must be studying the course in England.

You can make an application for funding through Student Finance England.

Full support (Maintenance Loan and Tuition Fee Loan)

There are two main categories of eligibility. You only need to meet one of these:

  • Three years of ordinary residence in the UK or Islands immediately prior to the first day of the first academic year of the course and to be ordinarily resident in England on this date. In order to be eligible for support, your residence in the UK and Islands during the relevant three-year period must not have been wholly or mainly for the purposes of receiving full-time education.; or
  • To have been resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 and be a worker or self-employed person, or the relevant family member of such a person; and be ordinarily resident in England on the first day of the first academic year of the course; and have been ordinarily resident in the territory comprising the UK, Gibraltar, the EEA and Switzerland throughout the three-year period preceding the first day of the first academic year of the course. Migrant worker status must be maintained throughout the course; where worker status is lost, someone would no longer be eligible for support under this category.

Tuition Fee Loan only

There are two main categories of eligibility. You only need to meet one of these:

  • To have been ordinarily resident in the Common Travel Area (the UK, Islands and Ireland) for the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of the course. You don’t need to be resident in England on that date but you need to be studying the course in England so you would normally be expected to be resident in England by the start of term; or
  • You must be an Irish Citizen on the first day of the first academic year of the course; and have been resident in the EEA or Switzerland on 31 December 2020 (or have moved to the UK before this date immediately after living in the EEA or Switzerland); and have lived continuously in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar between 31 December 2020 and the start of the course; and have lived in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar for the full three year period before the first day of the first academic year of the course; and your residence in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar during the relevant three-year period must not have been wholly or mainly for the purposes of receiving full-time education.

If you are employed or self-employed, you can be eligible as a worker. Please see the UKCISA website for more information on who is a worker and what counts as work and self-employment.

You should be working at least 10 hours per week for SFE to consider you/your family member as an EEA/Swiss Migrant worker. However, if you/they are working less hours you might still be eligible depending on the reasons for the lower working hours, for instance temporary illness.

Further information can be found on the UKCISA website.

Yes, you can become eligible for Student Finance during your course if you start working (you do not need to be working at the start of the academic year). However, if you start work part way through an academic year, you might not get full Student Finance for the whole of that year. You would get the Maintenance Loan from the term after you started employment, not from the date employment began. To be eligible for term 1 you must be working on 1 September, to be eligible for term 2, you must be working on 1 January and to be eligible for term 3 you must be working on 1 April.

In all circumstances you must have been ordinarily resident in England on 1st September of the year in which you start your course. You will not become eligible, even if you start working, unless you meet this requirement.

If you are the worker, you must continue working throughout your course. If you stop working (or stop working sufficient hours per week) you will lose your eligibility and your funding will be pro-rated to the time you were working/working sufficient hours.

If you stop working voluntarily, you will no longer be eligible as an EEA Migrant Worker. However, if you have to stop work temporarily due to illness or accident and can provide medical evidence, or if you are made redundant, you may be able to retain your worker status and continue to receive student finance as an EEA worker.

You may still qualify as a Migrant Worker if you become involuntarily unemployed or are self-employed with no work, and you register with the relevant unemployment office (which is usually the Jobcentre/DWP) under the retention of work status rule. As above, if you have to stop work temporarily due to illness or accident and can provide medical evidence, or if you are made redundant, you may be able to retain your worker status and continue to receive student finance as an EEA worker.

If you are actively looking for work, and have previously worked in the UK, you might also be considered a worker.

Please see the SLC guidance Migrant worker evidence for Student Finance England

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