Bermuda Students Eligible For UK Loans

March 25, 2022

The United Kingdom Government recently announced that students from specified British Overseas Territories – including Bermuda – will be eligible for tuition fee loans in England from the 2022 academic year for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

A spokesperson said, “The UK Government recently announced [UK Gov Press Release] that students from specified British Overseas Territories [including Bermuda] will be eligible for tuition fee loans in England from the 2022 academic year for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

“Historically, these loans were only made available if the student had resided in the UK up to three years prior to attending undergraduate courses.”

Victoria Cunningham, a board member of the Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies [BFIS], said, “This is a game changer for those students who otherwise would not be able to afford the tuition fees at British institutions. The change is being made to demonstrate the UK Government’s commitment to supporting economic development in the British Overseas Territories by enabling those who wish to study at one of their world-class education providers to do so.

“Currently Bermudian students have the benefit of the home fee status rather than having to pay the international student rates, however, these fees have been increasing year on year and are now in excess of £9,250 annually [USD 12,000].

“Our high school students need to understand the opportunities available to them should they decide to pursue further education beyond the boundaries of our public and private school system. According to the most recent Labour Force Survey Report, getting a technical or vocational diploma will result in a median income of almost 40% higher than those with no formal education certificate…and a degree will provide median incomes in excess of 100% more.”

The UK Department of Education, Student Funding Policy team said, “Persons who have settled status on arrival in the UK, who come to the UK from specified British Overseas Territories and who are starting designated full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in 2022/23 will be eligible for home fee status and tuition fee loans in England.”

The spokesperson said, “A tuition fee loan is to cover the cost of University fees and is paid directly to the institution. This loan is not dependent on household income and the student will then repay this loan when they become liable to.

“To qualify, persons resident in the British Overseas Territories will need to satisfy the three-year ordinary residence requirement in the UK, Islands [the Crown Dependencies] or specified British Overseas Territories immediately before the start of the course, with part of that period spent in the British Overseas Territories.

“This policy will also apply to students who are starting postgraduate master’s degree courses and postgraduate doctoral degree courses in 2022 to 2023 who will qualify for postgraduate loans; and to those starting further education courses in 2022 to 2023 who will qualify for advanced learner loans.

“For a student in a fees only category, ie excluding maintenance support [based on the scenario that they have been ordinarily resident for at least part of the last three years in the BOTs], they would need complete a paper EU22N form, which will be available shortly. That form does not require the applicant to have a National Insurance Number or a UK bank account to apply for a tuition fee loan.

“Regarding repayment options, the conditions for repayment of student loans are set out in the Education [Student Loans] [Repayment] Regulations 2009, [as amended], with key details outlined within the terms and conditions of student loans.

“Student loans have much more favourable terms than commercial loans and offer better borrower protections. Lower earning borrowers are protected as no repayments are required when borrowers are earning below the relevant repayment threshold amount.

“Ms. Cunningham is also a member of the BFIS School’s Outreach team who manage the Bermuda Scholarships website and promote the site to high-school students and their parents.”

Ms. Cunningham said, “Our ultimate goal is to get as many of our students into further education as we can. There are more than 350 scholarships available on the website annually however, many of these are Financial Need and Academic Excellence based. For students who are either not eligible for these scholarships or unable to secure the full amount of funding, these tuition fee loans offer another avenue to pursue to reduce the financial burden.”

The spokesperson said, “More information on the repayment of student loans can be found here.”

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  1. R Woods says:

    The news that students from Bermuda will be able to access student loans to study in the UK is good news. However, the statement that Bermudian students have the benefit of home fee status no longer applies. Many UK universities are now requiring students to have a UK passport and are not accepting Bermudian passports. I don’t believe this is a deliberate switch from the previous situation, which was that any student who had been studying in Bermuda for 3 or more years could get local fees at UK universities, but as a result of universities tightening up on who gets local fees post Brexit, this is what is happening this year. The UK government web site doesn’t say British Overseas Territory students are not eligible for local fees, but it also doesn’t say they are. The same site is very clear about BOT students being eligible to apply for a loan. It would be good for those students in Bermuda looking to apply to the UK if there was some clarification of the situation.