Northern Ireland: fee status

Last modified: 13 October 2020

This page provides explanations of the fees regulations and guidance which underpin fee status assessment in Northern Ireland.

This information only applies to fee status decisions being made for the 2020/21 academic year. It does not reflect the fees regulations for students commencing study in autumn 2021 or later. We are expecting the fees regulations to be amended for autumn 2021 onwards and we understand this will affect many (although not all) of the categories below, especially the EU-related ones. For what is known for students commencing study in autumn 2021, see Brexit - fees and Student Support.

Before you look at this page, you should also read our introductory info about 'Home' and 'Overseas' fees and find out if your course is in higher education (HE) or further education (FE).

Remember that, in the context of these regulations/guidance, certain terms mean what is explained for them in the Definitions (at the bottom of this page) and not what you might interpret from an ‘everyday’ understanding of the words.

Higher education (HE) courses at HE institutions

Last modified: 24 February 2020

Higher education (HE) courses include HNC and HND courses, undergraduate degrees (for example, BA, BSc, BEd), and postgraduate degrees (for example, MA, MSc, PhD). The info below explains the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the 'home' rate for study on a HE course at a HE institution in Northern Ireland. Check if your course is in HE or further education (FE).

There is one set of fees regulations in Northern Ireland - The Student Fees (Qualifying Courses and Persons) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 - which, since publication, has been amended five times: see 2007 No.375; 2011 No.70; 2011 No.376; 2013 No.37; and 2019 No.35.

We understand from the Northern Ireland Government that publicly funded educational institutions in Northern Ireland will charge one of three levels of fee:

  • a ‘home’ fee (£3,575); or
  • a middle rate capped fee which certain, specified students who are not eligible for the 'home' fee may qualify for. By virtue of No.376, above, students who started a course on/after 1 September 2012 are assessed differently, in a small number of ways, to those who began their course before that date. Institutions have agreed with the Northern Ireland Government to cap this middle rate fee at £9000; or
  • a top-rate, uncapped ‘overseas’ fee for all other students.

1. 'Settled' in the UK

2. 'Settled' in the UK and have exercised a 'right of residence'

3. EU nationals and family

4. ‘EU Nationals in the UK’

5. Those with the ‘right of permanent residence’ in the UK

6. EEA/Swiss workers and family

7. Child of a Swiss National

8. Child of a Turkish worker

9. Refugees and family

10. ‘Person with leave to remain’ and family

11. Persons with section 67 leave, and dependent children

Courses at further education (FE) institutions

Last modified: 13 February 2018

This information explains the conditions you need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the 'home' rate if you are studying any course at a FE institution in Northern Ireland. This includes courses of higher education (HE) as well as courses of further education (FE). This information is based on circulars published by Northern Ireland's Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI), which are, in turn, underpinned by regulations. Combining the circulars with the legislation results in a number of categories of student who are eligible for 'home' fees.

1. Those who are 'settled' in the UK and meet the main residence requirements

2. EU nationals, and family

3. EEA/Swiss workers, and family

4. Child of a Swiss National

5. Child of a Turkish worker

6. Refugees, and family

7. ‘Person with leave to enter or remain’, and their family

8. Asylum seekers and Syrian (VPRS) refugees, and family

Definitions: for fee status assessment

Last modified: 11 June 2020

This section has explanations about words and terms which occur in our information, above. These explanations should not be read in isolation but, instead, combined with the appropriate fee status category.


European Economic Area (EEA)

European Union (EU)

First day of the academic year

Ordinary residence

Overseas Territories


UK and Islands

Relevant family members – Northern Ireland - HE courses at HE institutions

Relevant family members – Northern Ireland - courses at FE institutions


11 June 2020
Updates were made to the 'Relevant family members' toggles, above, to incorporate what is meant by 'spouse' and 'civil partner'.