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2.3 Your nationality and residency

Your nationality and residency can affect the finance available to you

This means where you're from, where you currently live and how long you've lived there.

Tuition fee and living cost student or tuition fee only student?

Students eligible for funding from Student Finance NI fall in to one of two groups - 'tuition fee and living cost students' or 'tuition fee only students'. If you're not eligible for funding as one of these groups, you may be eligible as the other.

The types of finance available to you typically depend on which group you can identify as, the level of qualification you're studying for and how you're choosing to study.

Tuition fee and living cost students

A tuition fee and living cost student is defined as one of the following:

  • a UK or Irish Citizen who has normally lived in Northern Ireland and has been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for the three years before the first day of the first academic year of their course
  • a UK national, or the family member of a UK national, who moved back to the UK after living in the EEA or Switzerland on or before 31 December 2020; and lived in the UK, the EEA, Gibraltar, or Switzerland for the three years before the first day of the first academic year of their course
  • an EU national who has been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and will be living in Northern Ireland; and has lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for the three years before the first day of the first academic year of their course
  • someone from outside the UK, European Union or European Economic Area who can identify as one of our eligible residency exception statuses

Tuition fee only students

An 'tuition fee only student' is defined as a national of an EU country (including the Republic of Ireland), or the family member of an EU national, who is not able to identity as a tuition fee and living cost student as described and:

  • has, or is a family member of a person who has, pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • has lived in the UK, Gibraltar, the EEA or Switzerland for the three years before the first day of the first academic year of their course
  • is studying in Northern Ireland

You may also be able to apply for tuition fee loan funding if you’re:

  • an Irish citizen and have been resident in the UK, Gibraltar, the EEA or Switzerland for the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of your course
  • a family member of an Irish citizen or person of Northern Ireland and you have been granted pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and have been resident in the UK, Gibraltar, the EEA or Switzerland for the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of your course
  • a family member of a UK National and you have been resident in the UK and Islands for the three years prior to the first day of the first AY of your course
  • a UK national or an EU national, or the family member of either, you have resident status in Gibraltar and have been resident in the UK, Gibraltar, the EEA or Switzerland for the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of your course.
  • a family member of a person with settled status in the UK

If you know which group you are, and how you're choosing to study - you can find out more about the types of finance you could apply for.

Frequently Asked Questions

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