University Eligibility

If you aren't a UK national, but have lived in England or Wales for a substantial period of your life, you may or may not be eligible for student finance and home fees under the ‘long residence’ category. You need to check! Here’s how to work out if you are eligible under this category.

Am I eligible for student finance?

To be eligible for student finance aged 18 and over under the ‘long residence’ category, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have lived in the UK throughout either: half your life or a period of twenty-years

AND

  • You must be lawfully and ordinarily resident in the UK for three years before the first day of the first academic year of the course

You need to meet these two criteria by the first day of the first academic year of your course. For most courses (that start in September or October), the first day of your course is taken as 1st September. For example, if your course starts on 5th October, the start date for student finance purposes will be 1st September. The rules are being applied rigidly and there is currently no allowance for discretion for borderline cases.

 

Read more:

DO I MEET THE HALF OF LIFE CRITERIA?

  • You need to work out your precise age on the day you arrived in the UK, and the precise length of time that you have lived in the UK on the date that you are due to start your course. The second number needs to be bigger than the first to meet this criteria;

  • To do this, you can use this website. Enter your date of birth in the first set of boxes (‘Start date’) and the exact date that you arrived in the UK in the second set of boxes (‘End date’). This will tell you how old you were, in days, when you arrived in the UK;

  • Clear that calculation and then enter the date that you arrived in the UK in the first set of boxes (‘Start date’), and in the second set of boxes (‘End date’) enter the start date of your course (for most this will be 1st September). This will tell you how long you have lived in the UK, in days, when you started or are due to start your course;

  • The second number must be bigger than the first to meet the half of life criteria

HALF OF LIFE ‘CASE STUDY’ – OLU

This is not a real case but may have similarities with yours or other people’s cases.

  • Olu was born in Nigeria on 17th June 1998.

  • She was brought to the UK when she was 7 years old, on 24th December 2005.

  • She would like to start her degree course in September 2016.

  • Olu’s age in days when she arrived in the UK = 2747

  • Number of days Olu had lived in the UK on the date that she wants to start her studies = 3904

  • Olu does meet the half of life criteria in time to start university in 2016 because she has lived in the UK for a longer period of time on the start date of her course (3904 days) than her age when she entered the UK (2747 days).

     

DO I MEET THE THREE YEAR ORDINARY RESIDENCE CRITERIA?

  • You will need to have 3 years of ‘continuous ordinary lawful residence’ in England prior to the start of your course. This applies separate of any other criteria, for example the half of life criteria;

  • The UKCISA website has this definition of ordinary residence:

“You are ordinarily resident in the relevant residence area if you have habitually, normally and lawfully resided in that area from choice.

  • If someone came to England when they were a child but did not have any status in England, they would not yet be ordinarily resident, no matter how young they were when they arrived. They would only become ordinarily resident when they are granted their first ‘lawful’ status in England, such as discretionary or limited leave to remain. In some cases people have had dependent status first because their parents had a work or study visa;

  • This can be complicated if, for example, you were initially dependent on a parent/guardian visa and then were later granted leave to remain. You may need to access qualified immigration advice to work this out if this is the case;

  • A lot of Let Us Learn students have lived in the UK for most of their lives, but were not granted their first ‘lawful’ status until they were in their late teens or sometimes even older. For these students, their ordinary residence starts on the date that their first leave to remain was granted (this is not necessarily the date shown on your Biometric Residence Permit and may be a few weeks before the date on your BRP);

 

ORDINARY RESIDENCE ‘CASE STUDY’ - FRANCIS

This is not a real case but may have similarities with yours or other people’s cases.

  • Francis is 19 years old;

  • Francis arrived in England when he was 3 years old;

  • He entered the UK on a visitors’ visa which expired after 6 months;

  • After this visa had expired, Francis lived in England without any ‘lawful’ status;

  • Francis applied for leave to remain in the UK when he was 15 years old, but the process took a long time and the Home Office granted Francis limited leave to remain in the UK when he was 18 years old;

  • This was the first time Francis had been granted leave to remain in the UK. This was in June 2014.

Francis will have met the three year ordinary residence criteria in England in June 2017, three years after he was first granted leave to remain in the UK. Francis will be 21 years old when he meets the ordinary residence criteria.

If you have read these case studies and still do not understand if you are eligible for home fees and student finance, please email info@webelong.org.uk with your query and relevant information.

19 Oct 2021