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  • Writer's pictureBennett International

Does Your Assignee have "UK Home Fee Status?" One Simple Question Could Save You a Lot.

As those who know me are aware, I feel rather strongly about repatriation as the “forgotten” chapter of relocation and a time when many students who are going “home,” sometimes to countries where they have never lived, need all the help they can get.


And I also advise that some degree of planning for repatriation should begin when families are just beginning an assignment, because sometimes those seemingly far-in-the-future challenges will be less daunting if planned for in advance. Said challenges may relate to required coursework or exam results for students trying to (re)enter an education system, but they may also relate to financial matters such as school fees and whether or not a student is still considered “resident” or “international” by their “home” country.


Few examples make this point better than the question of “home fee status” for university fees in England.  In England, local students with “home fee status” pay a lower university tuition than international students. As of June, ’24, they are required to pay a maximum of £9250 (approximately $11,737) per year for undergraduate studies, while international students pay between £11,000 and £40,000 ($13,970 and $50,800).


When British families take an assignment, they run the risk of forfeiting home fee status if they’re outside the country for the 3+ years leading up to when their child enrolls at university. Every now and then, we receive an urgent call from a client whose employee has just discovered this unfortunate truth, and we need to give them the bad news that the information their employee has shared is correct.  In an ideal scenario, this is something that both employee and employer would realize before the assignment and not at the last minute. And no, the fact that they held onto their property in England doesn’t change a thing!



An excerpt:

“With some exceptions, students must be ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of their course and for the three years before that date. The three-year residency rule applies to UK nationals who have been living abroad (see below for an exception for UK nationals living in Europe).”


While it’s true that universities have some leeway in terms of how they categorize their student applicants and that some may consider an exception for a student who has been out of the UK because of a parent’s work assignment, this is not something to count on.

British families should be prepared to pay international tuition rates when a child who has been outside the country for 3+ years returns for higher education.


All of which is to say that if you’re sending a British national on assignment from the UK and they mention a child who is in secondary school and who will likely “go home for Uni,” it’s worth asking if they are familiar with residency requirements for “home fee status.”

If you’re the employer, this may become a financial discussion, but one worth having ahead of time in order to spare everyone some nasty surprises. Perhaps you can start by asking whether they’re familiar with “home fee status” requirements and, if they’re not, suggest that they do a little research. 

Or, just send them this blog!


Elizabeth Sawyer, CEO

Over the years, Bennett International Education Consultancyhas worked with hundreds of corporations across the globe, many of them Fortune 500 companies, providing domestic and international school advisement & placement services - preschool through university - to the dependents of relocating employees. In addition to education placement, our team provides customized consulting for corporations with a range of education issues: education policy writing & benchmarking, tuition studies, group move advisement & planning, and remote education solutions.


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