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When are British students considered to have international status?

(27 Posts)
BritabroadinAsia Wed 18-Oct-17 10:31:52

We currently live abroad and are thinking about our situation as expats regarding UK university places for DD1 (who is currently in year 10).

Does anyone know the rules about how long before applying she (or we) would need to be resident in UK to not be considered an international student?

I’ve heard conflicting information about at what point she or we would need to be resident - if she were to be boarding in UK at 6th form, for example, or whether the whole family should relocate back 3 years ahead of university entry?

Does anyone have experience of this? I’ll also post in Living Overseas but thought I’d try here first to see if anyone had any advice.

steppemum Wed 18-Oct-17 10:42:18

I deal with families returning to the UK having worked abroad.

The simple answer is that it is complicated.
The most obvious answer is that you need to be resident in UK for 3 years to be a UK student.

The less obvious answer is what it means to be resident.
If you are on a temporary overseas contract, and have always intended to return to the UK and consider yourselves to be UK residents, then it is possible for your kids to have UK status, even if they come back aged 18.
You need a fair few things to prove this. It is easier if the company you work for is a UK one, they can provide you with a letter stating that you overseas asignment was a temporary one for x number of years (and that can be a long time, eg 10 years)
It is easier if you have a house back in the UK, as that proves you intended to return.

It is similar to the tax status where you have a difference between resident and domiciled, the second being where you are based, the first being where you are living right now. You need to prove that as a family you are domiciled in UK (but they use the word resident for student applications)

It is NOT uniform across all universities. Each one can make their own choice about their decision to allow you to be considered resident or not. The only guranteed way is to return to UK.

I have a query over education, an over seas student who is in school in UK does not accumulate residency if they are here for 3 years, as they are only here for educational purposes.
However with regard to a UK student who returns for sixth form (and for example their parents are still overseas) I am not sure if those years would be counted or not.

It is certainly easier to prove residency if the whole family return, even if that is at the point of university entrance.

It is a bit of a lottery, some universities are very generous and some very tight on the criteria.

LIZS Wed 18-Oct-17 10:50:22

Studying in UK for 6th form while you lived overseas wouldn't normally count as residency for uni finance purposes.

OhSoTotallyLost Wed 18-Oct-17 10:59:20

Have a look on the UKCISA website. It advises the criteria you need to meet to be eligible for home fees. You can also contact them if you want further advise. It will depend on things like your contracts, links to uk etc...

VodkaPenne Wed 18-Oct-17 11:01:38

Utterly normal among all my expat friends for universities to differ. Some of their kids got three offers for example, and two institutions decided they were not UK, but one did. Sometimes it means their child can’t go to their first choice place and has to settle for second best.

So if your child absolutely has to go to a specific university, you need the full three years in the UK to be sure.

If you (and they) are willing to try for offers and then go through the process and see, then it’s a little easier (if you have ties/house/plans to move back etc.)

For me, it absolutely was not worth the risk as DD wants to do a specific course that is highly competitive. What if she only gets one offer and that university decide we are non resident? It would be a disaster.

So I am doing the years in the UK.

steppemum Wed 18-Oct-17 11:02:00

but each university interprets the criteria on the UKCISA themselves. They don't always agree.

It is not unusual for a student with 3 offers to find that one will not classify them as Uk and the other two will

scaryteacher Wed 18-Oct-17 11:04:17

Ds was back in UK for sixth form and counted as a Home Student, but we were abroad with HM Forces, so he was counted as a UK student because of that anyway.

steppemum Wed 18-Oct-17 11:05:51

yes forces have a completely different category I think

residentdomicile Wed 18-Oct-17 11:37:15

We have been through this a couple of times and as other said the results can be inconsistent.

If you have lived outside the UK but in the EU it is irrelevant for England and Wales as you currently have to treat the EU as if it were England and Wales. So EU resident students pay the same as English and Welsh students in England and Wales.
But EU students are exempt from fees in Scotland as Scottish students do not have to pay . Same principle of non discrimination. Will be interesting to see what happens post Brexit.

If you live outside the EU you usually have to pay international fees unless you are posted abroad by the UK government or the EU. The family have to be back for three years before the course starts to qualify for home fees. Boarding school does not count as the child is considered only to be here for educational purposes.But as others have said different universities apply the regulations differently according

We had a nightmare trying to establish DDs status in Scotland as DH is French and I am British and we commuted weekends for years with him working in Scotland and England and me in another EU country. We had homes in England, Scotland and three other EU countries at various times. In the end St Andrews decided DD was an EU student but Edinburgh thought she RUK. Edinburgh has a form with drop down options which does not cover unusual circumstances so it is a bit difficult to fill in. In the end she went to Uni in England so it did not matter.

I think the principle should be is this a family which has/will in the future pay UK taxes and contribute to funding the system.

steppemum Wed 18-Oct-17 13:03:01

If you live outside the EU you usually have to pay international fees unless you are posted abroad by the UK government or the EU.

Not in the experience of the families I have worked with.
They have had to jump through a lot of hoops, but many have managed to prove they are resident in UK through intent to return to UK after temporary contracts overseas. (as I said above the 'temporary' contracts can be for a long time, but the longer the time, the harder to prove)

BritabroadinAsia Wed 18-Oct-17 14:23:29

Have just popped back to read responses and will answer more fully tomorrow, but thank you all very much for the hugely helpful replies!

residentdomicile Wed 18-Oct-17 14:33:14

Just dug this out - long but gives you chapter and verse

www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Fees-and-Money/Home-or-Overseas-fees-the-basics

insert1usernamehere Wed 18-Oct-17 19:04:57

Great advice from steppemum

It's also worth noting that even if University X deems you to be a Home student, Student Finance England might take a different view on it, meaning that while you'd still only be paying the £9250 Home fees (not £15k++ international fees) you might not get a tuition fee loan or maintenance loan, so you'd have to pay the whole lot upfront.

Must your DD go to university in the UK? Are there any suitable options in your current country? Brexit notwithstanding, there are some good options in the EU with lower fees e.g. Germany doesn't charge any fees to any student (a few English medium courses are available) and Maastricht is an increasingly well trodden path for those hoping to dodge UK tuition fees.

BritabroadinAsia Thu 19-Oct-17 07:45:18

Thank you very much for the really useful advice and links. Looking at the case law precedence for ordinary residence status on the Ukcisa link, (thank you, residentdomicile) I think that we will probably not be considered home residents at this stage, but I will investigate further.

@steppemum - if you don't mind, I'll send you a pm as if there are possibilities of success (despite hoops to jump through) it might be worth a try! In your line of work, do you recommend educational placements from secondary up, or just focus on university applications?

insert - that's a good point about where she could attend university. We are outside EU, and DD has had a British education in an international school, with a view to returning and completing higher education in the UK. There are limited options here for her to study, but most people in our situation are looking at UK, Canada or the US (which is very expensive and - selfishly - absolutely not what I would want!) for university places.

Vodkapenne - I am now thinking that on balance, the risks of not having a choice of places is too great and I can entirely understand your relocation plans. Unless we have a strong case for arguing ordinary residence status, I think we'll have to do the same.

Thanks again to everyone for the advice, it's much appreciated.

ShanghaiDiva Thu 19-Oct-17 07:54:24

I am going through this process now. Ime universities will ask for further information to determine your fee status e.g
House in UK
Evidence of trips back to UK - tickets and also dentist or gp appointments
Nationality and place of birth of parents
Reason for being overseas and copy of contract, especially if parent has a temporary contract and is still classed as a UK employee. My dh has been on a temporary assignment for over 22 years.
Intention to return to UK.

steppemum Thu 19-Oct-17 08:37:24

Shanghai has it spot on, those are exactly the things they will look at.

IsThisTheRealYou Thu 19-Oct-17 08:43:24

Some Universities were really helpful in giving us an idea of our DCs status before he applied while others were not. Some would give a decision before DS applied which was really useful.
It's ridiculous that the students status isn't decided by a central body. It seems like such a waste of time and energy for each Uni to do it separately.

steppemum Thu 19-Oct-17 08:43:29

Brit - I help families who are overseas with NGOs, so many are on local level salaries. So, yes I do advise on secondary education etc, but I have no experience of boarding schools/independent schools as very few of my families can afford it.

I do have a good overview of education options while on overseas assignment.

To be honest, yes there is a good chance you would get a place somewhere as a UK student, but it might restrict your options. As pp said if it is a highly competitive course etc the only sure way is for at least one parent to come home.

My mum actually did this when I was at school. We were overseas, and at boarding school in UK, Mum came home for last 2 years to guarantee us university entrance (rules have changed since then) It took my Dad a year to get a job in UK and return, and then he was working at the other end of the country Mon-Fri.

Not easy decisions

VodkaPenne Thu 19-Oct-17 08:48:37

Can I please just add that nobody who is not resident in the UK should be using the NHS for free unless it’s an emergency!

By all means, see your usual Dentist etc when you’re back (we did!), but pay privately.

Or use your company health plan.

steppemum Thu 19-Oct-17 08:56:25

Vodka - in principle, yes, but there are a whole category of people who ARE allowed to use NHS if resident overseas. Includes some people sent overseas as part of government programmse, which can include aid workers etc.

insert1usernamehere Thu 19-Oct-17 09:03:07

As she's at an international school - who's paying?

If it's you - as you'll no longer have to pay school fees, could you divert those funds into university (and possibly have to top up a bit?)

If it's the company - I'd be asking them to contribute / pay for your DD's university expenses on the basis that if you'd stayed in the UK she'd be at a state school, but she's not so they're paying. Same principle - if you'd stayed in the UK the state would be providing her with cheaper fees and a full tuition fee loan (NB very low repayments - over 30 years) and maintenance loan, but as you moved abroad to work for them DD's higher education has gone up in price and government financial support has disappeared.

You could scour the lists of leavers from the last couple of years and see if anyone has gone outside the US / UK / Canada. If they have, the school may be willing to put you in touch with their parents so you can talk about the process and how it worked for them and their DC.

Needmoresleep Thu 19-Oct-17 09:46:24

A relative who had been abroad (Asia) since the children were six, asked in advance. Some Universities were willing to consider the DD as a home student. That is where she applied and went.

VodkaPenne Thu 19-Oct-17 10:03:57

@steppemum of course, but government workers, military etc should have no problem with uni status anyway.

I keep seeing expats who (a)buse the nhs and IMO it’s really abhorrent.

IsThisTheRealYou Thu 19-Oct-17 17:03:41

Vodka. I know it doesn't apply to everyone but we were still paying a shit load of incometax when we were expats. (Depends on where and how you are employed) When I was at home I happily used local services.

IsThisTheRealYou Thu 19-Oct-17 17:06:07

We were extra keen to get home fee status as DC were applying to do medicine and there are only a limited number of places available for international students. It's not just the fees that are a problem in some cases.

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