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Scottish universities

I was born in Scotland and lived there until I moved to England when I was around 13 (now turned 17 recently). I have always lived in the UK, will I be eligible for free tuition at Scottish Universities?. I thought the answer would be no, but when I googled it it says that Scottish students (since I am Scottish) who have lived in the UK for the past 3 years are eligible, so I thought maybe I could be?
Reply 1
hi! i’m in the same position, lived in scotland my whole life & born there but moved away when i was 14. unfortunately we aren’t eligible for free tuition, if you wanted to get it you’d need to move back to scotland for non-education reasons for at least 3 years before applying to uni it isn’t specifically the uk, but scotland itself! so when i applied to uni, as i hadn’t lived back home for a couple of years, my fee status was RUK rather than scotland :smile:

i do actually think there’s something similar going on litigation wise abt it (not specifically scottish born students who moved to england, but students who immigrated to scotland at a young age) but the situation is unlikely to change for years if it ever does
Reply 2
Original post by rwnsl
hi! i’m in the same position, lived in scotland my whole life & born there but moved away when i was 14. unfortunately we aren’t eligible for free tuition, if you wanted to get it you’d need to move back to scotland for non-education reasons for at least 3 years before applying to uni it isn’t specifically the uk, but scotland itself! so when i applied to uni, as i hadn’t lived back home for a couple of years, my fee status was RUK rather than scotland :smile:

i do actually think there’s something similar going on litigation wise abt it (not specifically scottish born students who moved to england, but students who immigrated to scotland at a young age) but the situation is unlikely to change for years if it ever does


I see, thanks for the info 👍🏾
Reply 3
Original post by steph.niji
I was born in Scotland and lived there until I moved to England when I was around 13 (now turned 17 recently). I have always lived in the UK, will I be eligible for free tuition at Scottish Universities?. I thought the answer would be no, but when I googled it it says that Scottish students (since I am Scottish) who have lived in the UK for the past 3 years are eligible, so I thought maybe I could be?


Yes you should be eligible. The Scottish government allowed certain groups access to free tuition but only until 2028. If you lived in Scotland for 3 years before moving to EU or England and then lived there continuously you can then be eligible for free tuition. The only requirement is that you are a resident of Scotland by the 1st of August before the September start of course
Reply 4
Original post by rwnsl
hi! i’m in the same position, lived in scotland my whole life & born there but moved away when i was 14. unfortunately we aren’t eligible for free tuition, if you wanted to get it you’d need to move back to scotland for non-education reasons for at least 3 years before applying to uni it isn’t specifically the uk, but scotland itself! so when i applied to uni, as i hadn’t lived back home for a couple of years, my fee status was RUK rather than scotland :smile:

i do actually think there’s something similar going on litigation wise abt it (not specifically scottish born students who moved to england, but students who immigrated to scotland at a young age) but the situation is unlikely to change for years if it ever does


That is strange as there is a clause in the Scotttish education Act that should make you eligible - however it depends where you moved to after Scotland and when you moved. If you moved to EU or England after 2020 you dont get it. Similarly if moved outside of England or EU you dont get it. Plus you need to be 3 continuous years in those places before your Scotttish course starts.
Reply 5
Original post by kaipahead
That is strange as there is a clause in the Scotttish education Act that should make you eligible - however it depends where you moved to after Scotland and when you moved. If you moved to EU or England after 2020 you dont get it. Similarly if moved outside of England or EU you dont get it. Plus you need to be 3 continuous years in those places before your Scotttish course starts.

i moved to england in 2018 would you be able to cite that clause?
Reply 6
Original post by rwnsl
i moved to england in 2018 would you be able to cite that clause?


All this relates to Brexit- in other words the important date is 31 Dec 2020. Up until then England was partof EU. So the rule is this: to be eligible as a Scottish home student you first need to be a UK national, second you need to have lived for 3 years in Scotland before moving to a EU country( this can be England). You have to have been in England before 31 Dec 2020 and not moved. You should then be eligible for Scottish home student ( free tuition). However you need to be ordinarily resident in Scotland before the start of your course. This is a fairly vague and flexible term but appears to mean you need a permanent Scottish address as your home before the 1st of August of the year your course starts. To prove the address is real you need documents such as Council tax letter, electricity bills etc- anything to demonstrate you actually live there. It can't be a friends house or a hotel so it can be difficult to do as you would need to show you had a long term rental contract or the property was in your family etc. I would be interested to know why you did not qualify for home fees given what you have said.
Reply 7
Original post by rwnsl
i moved to england in 2018 would you be able to cite that clause?


Here is the SAAS document which outlines eligibility for different fee status. You want to scroll down till you reach the box where it gives the various scenarios. Look for where it talks about UK nationals in EU/EEA. This is the category you should fall into however note that it makes no mention of ordinarily resident before August 1st but this is essential and can be the reason you have been rejected.
Reply 8
Original post by kaipahead
All this relates to Brexit- in other words the important date is 31 Dec 2020. Up until then England was partof EU. So the rule is this: to be eligible as a Scottish home student you first need to be a UK national, second you need to have lived for 3 years in Scotland before moving to a EU country( this can be England). You have to have been in England before 31 Dec 2020 and not moved. You should then be eligible for Scottish home student ( free tuition). However you need to be ordinarily resident in Scotland before the start of your course. This is a fairly vague and flexible term but appears to mean you need a permanent Scottish address as your home before the 1st of August of the year your course starts. To prove the address is real you need documents such as Council tax letter, electricity bills etc- anything to demonstrate you actually live there. It can't be a friends house or a hotel so it can be difficult to do as you would need to show you had a long term rental contract or the property was in your family etc. I would be interested to know why you did not qualify for home fees given what you have said.


thank you for this info!

i assume i classify as RUK because i still currently live in england until the beginning of my course; so i lived in scotland my whole life until 2018, and am now moving back to scotland into uni accommodation. so if i needed to be ordinarily resident before my course started, that’ll probably be why i don’t qualify!
Reply 9
Original post by rwnsl
thank you for this info!

i assume i classify as RUK because i still currently live in england until the beginning of my course; so i lived in scotland my whole life until 2018, and am now moving back to scotland into uni accommodation. so if i needed to be ordinarily resident before my course started, that’ll probably be why i don’t qualify!


Probably. I only know the actual law so I don't know what happens in practice as each university seems to decide themselves using the guidelines. I imagine you applied from England and ( as I have not done the fee status questionnaire) simply gave them information about your present place of residence if that wasn't Scotland they probably automatically placed you as RUK. Or do you actually highlight that you lived previously in Scotland before moving?
Reply 10
Original post by rwnsl
thank you for this info!

i assume i classify as RUK because i still currently live in england until the beginning of my course; so i lived in scotland my whole life until 2018, and am now moving back to scotland into uni accommodation. so if i needed to be ordinarily resident before my course started, that’ll probably be why i don’t qualify!



I have just had a conversation with UKCISA who is the body that advises Scottish universities on fee status issues. The rule is this

The Scottish Education Act 2020
schedule 1
Paragraph 6

To sum up. This is a category called " excepted" students. It is not about " relevant connection". In this section it outlines the law regarding UK nationals who lived in Scotland for 3 years before moving to EEA or England. As long as you moved before 2020 and remained there for 3 years then you are eligible for Scottish home fee status without needing to be ordinarily resident in Scotland before your course starts. If you have been classified as any other fee status you should contact the university and ask them to refer to the Act and contact UKCISA.
(edited 5 months ago)
Reply 11
Original post by kaipahead
I have just had a conversation with UKCISA who is the body that advises Scottish universities on fee status issues. The rule is this

The Scottish Education Act 2020
schedule 1
Paragraph 6

To sum up. This is a category called " excepted" students. It is not about " relevant connection". In this section it outlines the law regarding UK nationals who lived in Scotland for 3 years before moving to EEA or England. As long as you moved before 2020 and remained there for 3 years then you are eligible for Scottish home fee status without needing to be ordinarily resident in Scotland before your course starts. If you have been classified as any other fee status you should contact the university and ask them to refer to the Act and contact UKCISA.

Thank you so much for this information!! Would you be able to provide a link to this statute as I can't seem to find it on legislation.gov.uk?

ETA: found it, thank you so much!!! I have now contacted my university in regards to this
(edited 5 months ago)
Reply 12
Original post by rwnsl
Thank you so much for this information!! Would you be able to provide a link to this statute as I can't seem to find it on legislation.gov.uk?

ETA: found it, thank you so much!!! I have now contacted my university in regards to this


One thing to be aware of is the time period they give you to appeal. So be fast. In your case you should be home student and not RUK. You must tell them you are an Excepted student governed by paragraph 6 of the Scottish Education Act 2022. You are UK national settled in UK. You lived for more than 3 years before moving to England. You don't need to be ordinarily resident in Scotland before 1st of August and can go Scotland straight to student accommodation. The university has got your status wrong- however if this was meant for sept 2023 it is probably too late to appeal. But there is definitely a mistake based on what you have daid
Reply 13
Just to summarize for anyone facing problems with fee status in Scotland. If you are a UK national and you have lived consecutively anywhere in UK for 3 years prior to normally 1st August of the year your course starts you could have Scottish home fee status. The only caveat is you need to be ordinarily resident in Scotland before the 1st August. This is quite a general term open to interpretation by the individual university. Basically you would need to have established Scotland as your primary place of residence and not for educational reasons. Having an address, utility bills help but obviously they would no doubt want you to have been living there for more than just a few weeks- so a job or something might help. The good thing is you don't need to be in Scotland for a full 3 years.

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