Wednesday, April 03, 2019

New fee regulations in England will impact on access to uni for people with humanitarian protection

The Department for Education (England) has amended regulations about the fees status of people with Humanitarian Protection (HP). From 1 August 2019, new students who have been granted humanitarian protection status will no longer automatically be considered “home” students for fee purposes.
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The Department for Education (England) has amended regulations about the fees status of people with Humanitarian Protection (HP). From 1 August 2019, new students who have been granted humanitarian protection status will no longer automatically be considered “home” students for fee purposes.

Instead, students will have to complete an ordinary residence test to show they have lived in the UK for at least three years. They will be considered “international” students if they start a course before they meet that test.

Before this change, as soon as someone was granted humanitarian protection status they were considered “home” students for fee purposes, although they had to have been resident in the UK for three years before the start of their course in order to access Student Finance.

STAR is appalled that the Department for Education has made a decision that will effectively prevent many people from going to university. People with humanitarian protection have not travelled for study purposes but to seek safety and have been granted protection by the Home Office. With “international” fees reaching up to £18,000 a year, STAR believes it is wrong to subject people seeking refuge from persecution to pay international fees to study or otherwise have to wait for three years to continue their education.

“This change will add another barrier for students with humanitarian protection status accessing higher education, and significantly affect their chances of joining university. There is a big difference between students who voluntarily apply to study in the UK and those who are vulnerable and seeking education here while being protected from persecution, therefore the fee status should also reflect this difference in their financial abilities and circumstances.”

Maryam, York STAR leader & Equal Access scholarship recipient.
You can read more about Maryam’s activism here.

The Department for Education says it is very unlikely any university will use the regulations to change the fees for a student who has already started their course before 1 August 2019 from the “home” to the “international” rate.

This will not affect those studying in other UK nations as regulations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are different.

What to do if you think you may be affected by the change

Students are advised to follow UKCISA’s advice:

If you have applied to start a course on or after 1 August 2019:
If you have applied to start an undergraduate course on or after 1 August 2019, and have previously been told you will pay ‘home’ fees because of Humanitarian Protection, you should contact the university now, to ask how you are affected by the change.

If you have already started your course:
If you are already on a course for which you pay ‘home’ fees because of Humanitarian Protection, but you will be moving into another year of the course on or after 1 August 2019, then you should check with your university that they do not plan to charge you ‘overseas’ fees for those later years. We do not expect they will do that, but it is worth confirming that with them now. If you started your course before 1 August 2019 and are told that your fees for that course will change from ‘home’ to ‘overseas’ in the middle of the course, telephone the UKCISA Advice Line for advice.

If you start a new course on or after 1 August 2019, you will not be protected from the new requirement, it will apply to you.

The regulations are different in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, so this story has no relevance to you if you study there.

STAR is gathering evidence of how universities respond to these changes and how many people they affect, if you are affected by these changes please do get in touch with us and let us know, confidentially, about your experience at [email]equalaccess@star-network.org.uk[/email].

Posted by STAR team on 03/04/2019 at 03:57 PM