Fee Status Appeals

What Determines My Fee Status?

According to the Education (Fees and Awards) (England) Regulations 2007, your tuition fee status is established based on your nationality and your usual place of residence.

Determining a student’s tuition fee status in the UK can be a complicated process that adheres to guidelines set by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). Typically, in order to qualify as a “Home” student for tuition fee purposes, the applicant must meet BOTH of the following criteria:

  1. The applicant, or in some cases their parent, must have “settled status” according to UK Immigration regulations on the first day of the academic year. This means they must have the right to remain in the UK without any time limit. Most European Union nationals meet this requirement, but not all categories of British citizens. For those beginning their course in the Autumn term of the academic year, the first day is considered to be September 1st.
  2. The applicant must also have been a resident of the UK and Islands (which includes the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) or the EU, for purposes other than education, for the entire three-year period leading up to the first day of the academic year. For instance, if a course starts in October 2023, the applicant must have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands or the EU from September 1st, 2020 to August 31st, 2023.

Proving Ordinary Residence

To qualify as ordinarily resident in a residence area for your category, you must have lawfully and consistently lived there out of choice. Short-term absences from the area are disregarded and do not affect your status as ordinarily resident. In the UK, it’s also acknowledged that an individual can be ordinarily resident in multiple places simultaneously, provided that they maintain a lawful, normal, and habitual residence in each location.

If you or a family member were temporarily employed outside the relevant residence area, and this prevented you from being ordinarily resident there, you can demonstrate this to be considered ordinarily resident.

Regarding the EU Settlement Scheme, there is a special exception for those who apply late, after the application deadline. The period of residence between the deadline and the application date is deemed lawful residence.

The Case Of Shah

In the case of Shah v Barnet London Borough Council [1983], five applicants who had been residing in the UK for at least three years while attending school or college challenged the refusal to grant them education grants. All five were subject to immigration control, and four had limited leave to remain as students, while the fifth had indefinite leave to remain. The House of Lords interpreted the expression ‘ordinarily resident’ in the 1962 and 1980 Acts, and concluded that ordinary residence did not include a person whose residence in a particular place or country was unlawful. Lord Scarman explained that ‘ordinary residence’ referred to a person’s abode in a particular place or country that they had voluntarily adopted for settled purposes as part of the regular order of their life.

The court allowed one exception that a person could not rely on their unlawful residence to secure an advantage which could have been obtained if they had acted lawfully. The court held that local education authorities must ask themselves if the applicant has habitually and normally resided in the UK from choice and for a settled purpose throughout the prescribed period, apart from temporary or occasional absences, and that the question of fact on whether the student established the prescribed residence is for the authority, not the court, to decide.

establishing lawful residence

In the House of Lords case of Shah, Lord Scarman asserted that the term “ordinarily resident” refers to a person’s voluntary adoption of a particular place or country as their abode for settled purposes as part of the regular order of their life, whether for a short or long period, unless the statutory framework or context in which the words are used necessitates a different meaning. However, if a person’s presence in a specific location is illegal, for instance, if they are in violation of immigration laws, their unlawful residency cannot constitute ordinary residence. Lord Scarman further noted that it is not appropriate for a person to rely on their own unlawful act to gain an advantage that could have been obtained lawfully, as explicitly provided for in the Immigration Act 1971 s.33(2).

Despite unsuccessful challenges in more recent cases, particularly concerning individuals who resided in the UK without immigration permission before being granted leave, the requirement for lawful residence is still applicable to all categories that necessitate ordinary residence.

ordinary residence in more than one place

Lord Scarman, in the case of Shah, emphasized the importance of two factors in determining ordinary residence: that the residence is voluntarily adopted and for a settled purpose, as illustrated by previous cases. The Department of Health’s guidance on ordinary residence and overseas visitor charging regulations also clarifies that British citizenship, passports, registration with a GP, possession of an NHS number, ownership of property, and payment of National Insurance and taxes do not necessarily establish ordinary residence in the UK.

Additionally, the guidance specifies that visits for holiday, recreation, short business trips, or temporary stays with family or friends are unlikely to meet the ordinary residence test. Furthermore, some cases have established that an individual can be ordinarily resident in more than one country or area at the same time, meaning that ordinary residence is not necessarily lost even if they have acquired ordinary residence elsewhere and their absence is not temporary.

short-term absence

When determining whether an individual has been ordinarily resident in a specific area for a duration of time, typically three years for the purpose of fees and Student Support regulations, temporary absences from the area can be disregarded. Nonetheless, there is no fixed definition for the term ‘temporary,’ so the duration of time considered as temporary cannot be established.

However, the longer an individual is away from their residence area, the more challenging it becomes for them to argue that their absence was only temporary. An individual’s intentions are also important. For example, if they relocate out of their residence area, they may lose their ordinary residence in that area immediately. It is not expected of decision-makers to assess intentions without supporting evidence.

Student Finance England’s guidance suggests that gap years constitute a temporary absence. If an individual’s absence is deemed to be more than temporary, they must demonstrate a settled purpose in both areas to persuade decision-makers that they have been ordinarily resident in more than one area simultaneously.

Appealing Fee Status: The Process

In order to appeal a fee status decision, you must submit your appeal within 15 working days of being notified of the outcome of the fee status review by your Admitting Body. This deadline may only be extended in the event of exceptional circumstances, such as illness.

There are several grounds for a Fee Status Appeal. Firstly, you may consider the fee status decision to be incorrect based on evidence previously submitted. Secondly, you may appeal if procedural irregularities have occurred which were material or potentially material to the decision reached. Thirdly, your Admitting Body or the Student Registry may advise you to submit a formal appeal to the University.

To submit an appeal, you must complete the Fee Status Assessment Appeal submission form and submit all supporting evidence. The form and supporting evidence will then be submitted to the University Appeal Panel, which will arrange a meeting to take place within 15-20 working days of receipt of the form and supporting evidence.

Once the form has been submitted, you cannot submit further supporting evidence unless the Appeal Panel requests further information to reach its decision. The Panel will only accept a submission from the student/applicant themselves and will only reply to correspondence from the student directly, unless express written consent is given for a third party to represent the student, such as a parent or legal representative.

The Panel’s decision will be made within the legal framework of the Education (Fees and Awards) (England) 2007 Regulations, as amended, and the Higher Education (Fee Limit Condition) (England) Regulations 2017, as amended. The Panel should reach a decision within 20 working days of the request (form and supporting evidence) being received. However, in some instances, this may not be possible due to reasons such as the need to seek further legal advice or the unavailability of Panel members.

The Panel will make one of two decisions: either the fee status will be classified as Home or as Overseas. There is no other option available to the Panel, and their decision is final. There is no further recourse to appeal within the University.

If the Panel decides that your fee status is Home, you should be aware that the Student Loans Company may not make the same decision.

Importance Of Seeking Advice and Support

Appealing a fee status is not a guaranteed process, and it can be time-consuming and stressful. Students who are considering appealing their fee status should carefully consider their options and seek advice from their university’s student support services.

In some cases, students may also be able to apply for financial support to help cover the cost of their tuition fees. This support may be in the form of grants, scholarships, or loans. Students should check with their university to see what support is available to them.

Furthermore, it is important for students to be aware of the deadlines for submitting their appeal application. Missing a deadline could result in the application not being considered, which could lead to the student being charged the higher fee rate.

In addition to appealing their fee status, students can also take other steps to manage the cost of their education. For example, they can look into part-time work or apply for student loans to help cover the cost of tuition fees and living expenses. There are also a variety of scholarships and bursaries available for students in financial need.


Q: What does your fee status mean?

A: Fee status refers to the classification of a student’s eligibility for tuition fee rates at a particular university or college. The fee status of a student is determined by a range of factors, including their nationality, residency status, and course type.

In the UK, students are generally classified into one of three fee status categories: Home, EU, or International. Home students are those who are considered “ordinarily resident” in the UK, meaning that they have been living in the country for a certain period of time. EU students are those who are citizens of a European Union member state or Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland. International students are those who do not fall into either the Home or EU category.

Tuition fees for each category vary significantly, with Home students generally paying the lowest fees, followed by EU students, and then International students paying the highest fees. It is important for students to understand their fee status, as it can have a significant impact on the cost of their education.

Q: What is the fee status questionnaire?

A: The fee status questionnaire is a tool used by universities and colleges in the UK to determine a student’s fee status. The questionnaire is typically provided to students during the application process and is used to gather information about the student’s nationality, residency status, and other relevant factors that may impact their fee status.

The fee status questionnaire typically asks for information such as the student’s country of origin, their immigration status, their previous education and employment history, and any other relevant information that could help to determine their eligibility for different fee rates.

The information gathered through the fee status questionnaire is used to assess a student’s eligibility for Home, EU, or International fee rates. In some cases, the university may request additional documentation or evidence to support a student’s fee status classification, such as proof of residency or citizenship.

It is important for students to complete the fee status questionnaire accurately and to provide all requested information in a timely manner, as this can have a significant impact on the cost of their education. If a student believes that their fee status has been incorrectly assessed, they may be able to appeal the decision using the university’s appeals process.

Q: Can my fee status change?

A: Yes, your fee status can change depending on your circumstances. In the UK, your fee status is determined based on a range of factors, including your nationality, residency status, and course type. If any of these factors change, it is possible that your fee status could change as well.

For example, if you are an international student studying in the UK and you become a permanent resident, you may be eligible for Home fee status. Similarly, if you are a Home student studying in the UK and you move abroad, you may no longer be eligible for Home fee status and may instead be classified as an International student.

If your circumstances change and you believe that your fee status should be re-assessed, you may be able to submit an appeal to your university’s student support services. The appeals process typically requires you to provide evidence to support your case, such as proof of residency or citizenship.

It is important to note that changing your fee status may have a significant impact on the cost of your education, as different fee rates apply to different categories of students. It is recommended that you speak to your university’s student support services for guidance on how to apply for a change in fee status and to understand the potential impact on your education costs.

Q: Who qualifies as a home student in UK?

A: In the UK, a student qualifies as a home student if they meet certain residency requirements. Specifically, a home student is typically defined as a student who meets all of the following criteria:

  1. The student has been ordinarily resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man for the three years preceding the start of their course.
  2. The student has settled status in the UK, meaning they are a UK national, or they have indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence in the UK.
  3. The student has not been living in the UK or another EU/EEA country solely for the purpose of education.
  4. The student has not been residing in the UK as an EU national or the family member of an EU national for the sole purpose of education for less than three years.


In conclusion, appealing a fee status can be a daunting task for students, but it is an option worth considering for those who believe that they have been classified incorrectly or have experienced a significant change in their circumstances. Students should seek advice and support from their university’s student support services, provide as much evidence as possible to support their application, and be aware of deadlines. In addition, there are other resources available to help students manage the cost of their education, and it is important for students to explore all of their options.

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