In UK universities, there are two separate rates of tuition fee for every course and the rate that students are charged depends on their classification as either 'home students' or 'overseas students'. Unfortunately, the process of classification is not always straightforward and there are many cases in which students feel that they have been mistakenly classified and forced to pay the higher bracket of fees. If this has happened to you, Match Solicitors may be able to help.
The reason that we have this system of two sets of fees in the UK is that the government subsidises the education of home students but not that of overseas students. The government is also responsible for setting out the rules and regulations that decree which category students fall into. If you as a student find that you fit into none of the categories that decree home student status, you are automatically defined as an overseas student and are then charged accordingly. However, as we mentioned above, there is often considerable difficulty surrounding the categorisation of students and the interpretation of the government regulations. It is also not unknown for a student to have their status determined, only to have that status challenged by their university.
Unfortunately, difficulties surrounding tuition fee classification are common and are only set to become more so as the UK continues on its path of separating from the EU. For the time being at least, EU students are still considered home students, subject of course to various other criteria.
When disputes arise over fee status...
The vast majority of cases concerning university fee status revolve around students that dispute their classification as overseas students and feel they should in fact be home students. When this happens, an appeal must be made to the university with the student in question responsible for gathering together all the relevant evidence and arguments that support their case.
Unfortunately, such cases are rarely straightforward and things seldom seem as clear-cut as perhaps they ought. Many students are astonished, for example, that just the fact of owning a UK passport is not always enough to grant them home student status. The fact is, there are a great many grey areas in this aspect of the law where interpretation of the rules and regulations surrounding fee status can actually vary from institution to institution or even from person to person within the same institution. It is therefore always worthwhile to have student fee status decisions examined by independent legal experts.
Match Solicitors have considerable experience and success in this area, having represented many students in fee status disputes. We will advise you as to the merits of your case and if you choose us to represent you, we will help you collate all the evidence that is appropriate to your case and make written representations to your university. If you feel you have been wrongly classified, give us a call at Match and ask to speak to one of our specialist education lawyers in confidence.