CRWIA for access to home fee status/student financial support in relation to those considered to have a Relevant Connection to Scotland
1. Brief Summary
To expand the eligibility criteria in respect of the relevant connection to Scotland for eligible students to access home fee status/ student financial support.
The expanded eligibility will include all students who are:
- Ordinarily resident in the UK for three years’ prior to the relevant date;
- Ordinarily resident in Scotland on the relevant date; and
- If they have been granted a form of leave to enter or remain in the UK, where the leave has not expired.
This contributes to the following national outcomes:
- We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society
- We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination
As regulations currently stand, in order to access tuition fee and living cost support, students are generally required to meet the following residency rules:
A person who, on the relevant date –
(a) is ordinarily resident in Scotland
(b) Has been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom and Islands throughout the immediately preceding 3-year period; and
(c) Is –
(i) Settled in the United Kingdom within the meaning given by section 33(2A) (interpretation) of the Immigration Act 1971
(ii) Under the age of 18 and has lived in the United Kingdom and Island throughout the seven-year period preceding the relevant date
(iii) Aged 18 or above and, preceding the relevant date, has lived in the United Kingdom and Islands throughout either half their life or a period of twenty years
(iv) Aged 18 or above and received support by virtue of head (ii) for the academic year preceding the relevant date; or
(v) The spouse, civil partner or child of a person described in sub-paragraph (i)
Under the current regulations there is a minimum time period (known as the Long Residence criteria and set out in sub-paragraphs (c)(ii) and (iii) above) in which a student not qualifying under either sub-paragraphs (c)(i) or (c)(v) may be eligible for student support. Prospective students who do not meet the residency criteria for home student support can still apply for courses of further or higher education, but could be considered as international students by institutions for fee purposes, receiving no tuition fee or living cost financial support from the Scottish Government.
Sub-sections (ii) and (iii) of the above criteria were successfully challenged by judicial review in late 2022 and the Court determined the Long Residence provisions to be unlawful. At the conclusion of the Judicial Review, Ministers gave an undertaking to review the definition of a relevant connection to Scotland used to determine eligibility for student financial support for the commencement of the 2023/24 Academic Year (AY) being 1 August 2023. As part of this work, Scottish Government launched a public consultation (Changes to residency criteria for access to financial support in Further and Higher Education – Scottish Government – Citizen Space (consult.gov.scot)) on proposed changes which closed on 31 March 2023. In addition, Scottish Government officials undertook a series of stakeholder engagement meetings on the matter and heard from students who had lived experience of being impacted by the Long Residence provisions.
Changes detailed above represent the Scottish Government’s steps to address this issue.
Start date of relevant proposal: August 2023
Start date of CRWIA process: April 2023
2. Which aspects of the relevant proposal currently affects or will affect children and young people up to the age of 18?
All aspects of the policy will apply to those under the age of 18 who wish to undertake a course of Further or Higher Education from 2023/24 Academic Year (AY).
3. Which groups of children and young people are currently or will be affected by the relevant proposal?
This policy change will specifically impact those groups of children and young people who have leave to enter or remain in the UK (but not settled status in the UK) and wouldn’t have met the (now deemed unlawful) long residence provision and wish to undertake a course of Further or Higher Education.
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