This information explains about SFE funding entitlements for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who are coming to the UK to study or who already live here and are starting a course in September 2020. It also applies to some family members, for example children and spouses. Please also read our general information for EU students.
The UK Government has confirmed that EU students who start a new course or are continuing on a current course in September 2020, will remain eligible for home fee status and for SFE financial support even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU.
The Minister of State for Universities at the Department of Education England has confirmed that EU/EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status, or financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22. Read the full statement. There has been no announcement from Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland.
Following this announcement, It is important to seek advice from Student Advice if you are planning to defer your studies to a January 2021 or Sept 2021 start.
The Following information relates to current students or students starting in September 2020 and contains these references.
The first day of the first academic year of the course. For courses that start in September this is always the 1 September. For courses that start in January it is the 1 January.
Where mentioned, residence in the UK, EU, EEA, Switzerland or overseas territories within the last three (or five) years must not have been wholly or mainly for education purposes.
EU nationals are nationals of the EU member states as listed on Gov.uk. EEA nationals include EU nationals and also include nationals of Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.
Migrant Workers are EU/EEA or Swiss nationals who are working in the UK.
Paying the Home/UK rate of tuition
There are a number of ways to qualify for home fee status.
You can qualify if you are an EU national and have been resident in the either the UK, EEA, Switzerland or overseas territories for the three consecutive years, or more, immediately before the first day of the first academic year of your course.
If you are a national of Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein or Switzerland, you may also be eligible for the home rate of tuition fee if you:
have been resident in the EEA or Switzerland or overseas territories for at least the three consecutive years immediately before the first day of the first academic year of your course and,
are a resident in the UK and working in the UK (as a migrant worker) by this date and,
you continue to work in the UK during your course.
Alternatively, you may be eligible if you are the relevant family member of a EU/EEA/Swiss migrant worker and you also meet the residence requirements.
There are other ways to qualify. The eligibility rules for home fee status are complex. To find out more, look at the fee status information on the UKCISA website.
Your tuition fee status will be assessed by the Admissions Office once you have a course offer. Should you have questions about your fee status before this or, if you are assessed to pay the overseas rate of tuition fee but believe you should be a home fee payer, you should contact Admissions and request a fee assessment or contact Student Advice to discuss your eligibility.
Student Finance England Funding
EU nationals and some EEA and Swiss nationals may be eligible for Student Finance England (SFE) funding. Relevant family members may also be eligible.
Student Finance England (SFE) provide funding for full-time undergraduate degree courses, part-time undergraduate degree courses and postgraduate degree courses.
The SFE funding available to you depends on whether you are awarded funding on the basis of being an EU national or because you meet the additional eligibility rules to qualify as a UK/home student.
A person must normally be resident in an EU/EEA country on the first day of the first academic year of their course or already be resident in England by this date. If you usually live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland and will only be moving to England to study you may not be entitled to funding from SFE and will have to apply to one of the following instead:
Contact Student Advice to discuss your circumstances.
Note: Even if you meet the general eligibility rules to qualify for SFE funding, previous study on any earlier degree level course and/or equivalent levels qualifications that you already hold will affect entitlement to receive SFE funding for a new course. It does not matter if you studied or obtained the qualification in another country. Please see our previous studies page for further details.
Applying as an EU student
EU nationals ordinarily resident in the EU, EEA or Switzerland for the three consecutive years immediately before the first day of the first academic year of their course can apply for:
An (SFE) EU Tuition Fee Loan for undergraduate study (for full-time or part-time courses). No other SFE loans or grants are available to help with living costs, children, adult dependents or disability.
An SFE Postgraduate Master's Loan is available for postgraduate degree courses (full-time or part-time). This can be used to pay tuition fees and/or living costs. It is paid directly to you. No other SFE loans or grants are available to help with living costs, children, adult dependents or disability.
Nationals of Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein or Switzerland cannot apply as an EU students as they are not EU nationals. However they, and other students who are not UK or EU nationals, may be eligible to this funding if they are:
a relevant family member of an EU national who is living in the UK as a self-sufficient person or student or,
a relevant family member of a UK national.
A relevant family member can be a husband, wife, child under 21 or dependent child over 21 and they must still meet specific residency requirements. For a detailed explanation of the SFE eligibility rules and ways to qualify for funding, visit the UKCISA webpage on applying in England.
If you are or will be attending a full-time undergraduate degree course it’s always worth checking whether you are eligible for funding as a UK/home student as the funding is more generous. If you meet the additional eligibility rules to apply for SFE funding as a UK/home student, you may be eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan AND additional loans and grants to help with your living/study costs or disability needs. Nationals of Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein and Switzerland should also check these rules.
If you are or will be attending a postgraduate or part-time undergraduate course and require the Disabled Students Allowance to help with your study needs, you will only be considered for this if you are eligible for funding as a UK/Home student.
You should only apply as a UK/Home student if you believe you meet the additional, more complex eligibility rules. See the section below for information about applying for funding as a UK/Home student.
SFE only allow one application to be made and assessed at a time. If you have applied for funding as an EU national and later make a new application to be assessed as a UK/Home student, one application will cancel the other. However, if this is application is refused you can still get your funding as an EU national reinstated.
Contact Student Advice for help if you are unsure of your SFE eligibility if you encounter problems with your application or you are refused funding.
How to apply:
Undergraduate students: To apply for the EU Tuition Fee Loan for a full or part-time undergraduate course, you must complete a paper application form. For full-time it’s called an EU20N, for part-time the new form will be available from the summer. Do not apply online. You can find the forms on the SFE form finder.
Postgraduate students: Applications can be made online on Gov.uk.
Applying as a UK/Home student
Instead of applying as an EU national (see above), you may be eligible to apply for funding as a UK/home student if you meet additional more complex eligibility rules and could be entitled to a Tuition Fee Loan and other additional loans and grants for living and other study costs:
For undergraduate degree courses SFE provide a Tuition Fee Loan, a Maintenance Loan for living/studying costs and if relevant, additional grants for dependent children, adult dependants and a Disabled Students Allowance.
For part-time undergraduate degree courses, SFE provides a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan but there are no grants for dependant adults and children. If relevant, a Disabled Student Allowance is available.
For some postgraduate level courses SFE provides a Postgraduate Master's Loan and, if relevant, a Disabled Students Allowance. It is only worth applying as a Home/UK student if you need this grant or want to apply for the Living Expenses Support Scheme (LESS) fund (see below).
Being awarded funding as a UK/Home student may also mean you can apply to the University LESS fund.
If you are an EU national resident in England on the first day of the first academic year of your course you may be eligible to apply as a UK/Home student if:
You are an EU national and have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for a minimum of five consecutive years leading up to and including the first day of the first academic year of your course, and your residence has not been primarily for education purposes. SFE will require evidence of your residence. There must be no gaps in the evidence provided or the application could be refused. These are examples of the type of documents SFE can consider: Council Tax Bills showing your name, receipt of benefits such as Income Support, Housing Benefit or Jobseekers Allowance, wage slips, original bank statements, utility bills.
You have acquired the right of permanent resident in the UK and have remained resident in the UK throughout the three years immediately before the first day of the first academic year of your course. EU nationals can only acquire the right of permanent residence after they have lived in the UK for five years and meet the other requirements. Visit Gov.uk for further information.
SFE accept that you are an EEA migrant worker, working in the UK and you continue to work in the UK throughout the course. Students who don’t work themselves but are relevant family members of EEA migrant workers may also be eligible. This is explained in more detail below.
UKCISA provide a full explanation of the SFE eligibility rules and all the ways to qualify for SFE funding.
Applying as either an EU, EEA or a Migrant Worker
If you work in the UK, you may also be eligible for funding under the migrant worker rules. You do not need three or more years of residence in the UK to be considered under this route.
To be considered as a Migrant Worker you must be:
an EU, EEA national or Swiss national (this includes nationals of Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) and,
resident in England on the first day of the first academic year of your course. You must have evidence that you were resident in the UK on and before this date and,
have been ordinarily resident in the EEA or Switzerland for at least three consecutive years by this date and,
must be working in the UK and continue to work in the UK throughout your course. SFE will ask for evidence of your employment in September and will request evidence of your continued work at the start of each term. They will base their decision on your earnings and your employment. If they believe your earnings are too low, they will not accept that you are a genuine migrant worker and will refuse your application.
You can also apply as a migrant worker if you start working during your course but may not be eligible for the full amount of loan and/or grants.
There are also special rules for migrant workers who have been made redundant or have been working in an area related to their course but have to give this up in order to study.
Students who are family members of migrant workers may also be eligible.
The eligibility rules, application process and evidence required is explained in more detail in our guide for Migrant Workers:
How to apply for Funding as either a UK/Home Student or a Migrant Worker
Undergraduate students: If this is your first SFE application, you can choose to apply online or use the paper application for home students called a PN1. Find this by using the Student Finance England Form finder. If you already receive the EU Fee Loan, you cannot apply online and must apply using the paper application form for home students instead. There are also additional forms to complete if you are applying for the Childcare Grant and/or the Disabled Students Allowance.
If you already receive the SFE EU Tuition Fee Loan and make a second SFE application as a UK/home student or migrant worker, your EU Tuition Fee Loan application will be cancelled. If the fee loan has been paid to the University, SFE will reclaim this. Your new application will be considered and if this is successful, the fee loan will be repaid to the University and you will be paid the additional loans and grants available to you.
Postgraduate students: Applications can be made online on Gov.uk or on paper. Find forms by using the Student Finance England Form finder. There is one application process but again an additional form has to be submitted if you are applying for the Disabled Students Allowance. The amount of loan is the same if you apply as an EU student or as a UK/Home/Migrant worker. So the only benefit if you apply under the more complex UK/Home/migrant worker rules is that you would be eligible for the Disabled Students Allowance or could apply for the LESS fund. Remember you need to send additional evidence to prove you meet the requirements to be assessed as a Home/UK student.
Further help and advice
Contact Student Advice if you are unsure about your eligibility, have further questions or complications occur with your funding application.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also provide useful information about SFE funding as well as other issues including EU rights, healthcare and working in the UK.