Like all universities, QMUL charges two different rates of tuition fees for each individual programme of study. The two different rates are know as 'home' and 'overseas'. Traditionally, these terms come from the fact that, broadly speaking, 'home' fees are charged to UK and EU nationals and 'overseas' fees are charged to international students.
However, the rules are more complex than this simple distinction, and it is important to check your eligibility carefully. This page will help you to understand which fees you are eligible to pay, and how to get advice and support if you feel you have been charged the incorrect rate of tuition fee.
Why are there two different rates of fees for the same programme?
Broadly speaking, UK universities are able to access teaching and research funding from the UK government to support the cost of delivering programmes to 'home' students, but this funding is not available for places on programmes that are filled by 'overseas' students.
How does QMUL decide which rate of tuition fee I pay?
The regulations that define which groups of students all UK universities must charge the 'home' rate of fee to, are set out in legislation made by the UK government. QMUL makes fee status decisions in line with this legislation and does not operate a discretionary policy outside this legislation. This means that if you do not meet one of the categories in the legislation that states you must be charged the 'home' rate of tuition fee, QMUL will normally charge you the 'overseas' rate. An exception to this is for asylum seekers - see below. This web pages summarises the UK fee regulations (see below), and also refers you to more detailed information where necessary.
How does QMUL assess my fee status?
When you apply to study at QMUL, the Admissions office will use information that you provide with your application to make an assessment of your fee status. If they require more information to inform their decision, they will ask you to provide this. You should be notified of your fee status before you begin your studies at QMUL.
What are the rules for 'home' fee status?
The UK legislation that defines who is eligible for 'home' fees sets out ten categories of people who qualify for 'home' fee status. Broadly speaking, eligibility for 'home' fee status depends on key things such as:
- your status in the UK (e.g. whether you are a UK national, EU national or what other type of permission you have to live in the UK)
- where you are living on the first day of the first academic year of your programme (this is not the actual 'first day' of the course. Usually it is the 1st September immediately before you begin your programme at QMUL)
- how long you have lived in the UK
- the type and purpose of your residence in the UK. There are special rules if you normally live in the UK but you have been living somewhere else temporarily e.g. because of your parent's temporary employment overseas
Many students think that length of residence in the UK is the only criterion, but there are other criteria that have to be met too.
The broad groups of students who meet the criteria for home fee status are listed below. Please note that the list below does not specify all of the strict requirements which apply to each of these categories, which you will need to check carefully using the detailed guidance on fee status which is available from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). The guidance details the requirements in the categories of eligibility for home fee status.
- UK nationals and certain other people who have no restrictions on their stay in the UK
- EU nationals and certain family members
- People with the right of permanent residence in the UK
- Non-UK EEA or Swiss nationals who are working in the UK, or certain family members of such a worker
- Children of a Swiss national - note that QMUL will require your parents to be exercising a right of residence in the UK (e.g. as a self-sufficient person, a worker, or a student) on the first day of an academic year of your course
- Children of a Turkish national who is, or was, working in the UK
- People who have been granted formal Refugee Status in the UK, and certain family members of people with Refugee Status
- People who have applied for asylum in the UK who have been refused Refugee Status but have been granted Humanitarian Protection (and certain family members)
- Some people with Limited Leave to Remain (including Discretionary Leave to Remain) with long residence in the UK - for this specific category there is useful guidance on the Just for kids law website which helps you check your eligibility
Students from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man
Students from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man are charged the Home/EU rate of tuition fees for all programmes except for the clinical years of the MBBS and BDS programmes, when a higher rate is charged.
Tuition Fee concession for asylum seekers, and children of asylum seekers.
QMUL operates a concession for Asylum seekers or children of asylum seekers. Student who qualify under this concession will receive an award from QMUL which reduces their tuition fees to the same level as the ‘home’ tuition fee rate and will charge them the 'home rate' of tuition fee while their asylum application is under consideration by the Home Office. For full details click here.
How does my fee status affect my eligibility for student loans and grants from the UK government?
In the same way that the fee status rules are defined in legislation, so are the rules relating to the UK government's system of Student Finance. Many students use the system of UK Student Finance to take out loans and grants to pay their tuition fees, and their living costs like rent, travel and food etc.
The eligibility rules for Student Finance are very similar, but not identical, to the fee status rules. Therefore, most students who are not eligible for 'home' fee status are also not eligible for loans and grants through the Student Finance system in the UK.
For detailed explanations of each of the categories of people who are eligible for Student Finance in the UK, please see the guidance written by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).
Can I gain 'home' fee status after I have started my programme at QMUL?
Some students misunderstand the rules on fee status, and belive that they will gain 'home' fee status part way through their programme, for example, once they have lived in the UK for 3 years. As you will see from the UKCISA guidance on tuition fee status, most of the ten categories of eligibility relate to your circumstances BEFORE you start your programme of study. For example, if you needed to have 3 years residence BEFORE you started your studies to qualify for 'home' fees, this is never going to change once you have started your programme of study.
There are some limited categories of people who may gain 'home' fee status part way through their programme of study, and these mainly relate to nationals of countries that join the EU, and people who gain full Refugee Status part way through their studies (or who are the family member of someone who gains this status). For more information, please see the UKCISA guidance on fee status.
If you think that you will qualify for 'home' fees at some point in the future, you may decide to defer your entry to QMUL until then. Check the UKCISA guidance on fee status carefully, to make sure you have understood the rules correctly.
What if I am not eligible for 'home' fee status but I start my studies anyway, and cannot afford to pay the 'overseas' rate of fee for the whole programme?
As mentioned above, once you start your programme of study at QMUL, your fee status is very unlikely to change. It is never advisable to begin a programme of study unless you have a guaranteed way of paying your tuition fees and living costs for the entire length of the programme. If you cannot pay your fees to QMUL at the required time, you may be de-registered from QMUL and you will still owe the amount of tuition fees that are due - even if you have not completed the academic year or the full duration of your programme.
Remember, the fee status assessment is normally based on your situation immediately BEFORE you start a programme of study. So, if you start your programme at QMUL and you later find you cannot continue to pay the 'overseas' rate of fee, you cannot simply take an interruption of study and later be 're-assessed' as a 'home' fee payer. This is because students who take an interruption of study are 'continuing students' and therefore your fee status assessment will always be based on your situation BEFORE you originally joined your programme at QMUL.
If you cannot pay the 'overseas' tuition fees, you may need to apply for an interruption of study (this means that you take some time out of your studies, and your place on the programme is held open for you to return to) while you secure the funds that you need to pay the 'overseas' rate of fees to complete your programme. For information about interrupting your studies, please see our 'Re-sitting, interrupting or leaving your course' advice guides.
Can I start my programme and then withdraw from QMUL part way through, and later re-apply to QMUL to resume my programme, once I qualify for 'home' fees?
The only way that your fee status could be re-assessed is if you fully withdraw from your programme at QMUL, and apply to QMUL as a 'new' student at a later date. Your fee status assessment would then be based on your circumstances immediately before your new start date. You could re-apply to begin a programme at QMUL from the very start (year 1) or, if you have successfully completed a year or years of the programme previously, you could apply to join a later year of the programme. However, under QMUL regulations, you will not normally be able to start studying at QMUL again for at least 12 months after your withdrawal from your original programme. Remember, there is no guarantee that you will be offered a place at QMUL again; you will have to apply in the usual way and your application will be considered alongside all the other applications to QMUL in that particular year.
Where can I get more advice about my fee status?
- For a detailed explanation of each of the categories of people who are eligible for 'home' fee status, the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) web page on fee status is the best place to start.
- If you want advice about your own situation, UKCISA operates a telephone advice line where you can get free and specialist advice about your eligibility for 'home' fees.
- If you are applying to QMUL, or you are already a QMUL student, contact the Admissions office at QMUL to check that they have all the information they need in order to make an accurate fee status assessment or to give them additional information they may need, to review your assessment: Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5511 Freephone: 0800 376 1800 (UK callers only) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you have a complex fee status case, or you need one to one advice about what to do in your particular situation, please contact the Advice and Counselling Service at QMUL for Welfare Advice. The Welfare Advisers at the Advice and Counselling Service can offer you specialist advice about your eligibility for 'home' fee status, UK Student Finance and can liaise with the Admissions office at QMUL about your fee status if required.