Policy paper

Access to student finance in England: joining family members under the EU Settlement Scheme

Updated 13 December 2022

Applies to England

Eligibility for family members

A person can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) after 30 June 2021 as the family member of an EEA or Swiss national if they are joining them in the UK on or after 1 April 2021. For further information, please read the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status) guidance on applying as the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

Family members of EEA or Swiss nationals arriving in the UK after 1 April 2021 have 3 months to apply to the EUSS from the date they arrive in the UK. They will have temporary protection and therefore be treated as having citizens’ rights for the purposes of eligibility for home fee status and student support during those 3 months, and pending the outcome of any EUSS application made during that period (and of any appeal).

Evidence required

The Student Loans Company may require the following evidence before awarding financial support:

  • evidence of a relationship with the family member
  • identity evidence for the applicant and their family member
  • evidence of their EUSS status
  • evidence of their date of arrival in the UK
  • their own certificate of application to the EUSS or evidence of pre-settled status (where possible)

The joining family member must have lived in the UK, Gibraltar, EEA and Switzerland for at least the last 3 years before the course starts.

A family member may apply to the EUSS after the 3-month deadline if they have reasonable grounds for making a late application.

Assessing applications for support

Family members who wish to apply to the SLC for student support are advised to make an application to the EUSS as soon as possible. This will help speed up their application for financial support.

If the family member’s application to the EU Settlement Scheme has not been finally determined before the start of the academic year, they will continue to be afforded temporary protection and awarded student support as appropriate.

The Department for Education would expect institutions to apply a similar approach when assessing home fee status. See the Home Office student sponsor guidance on sponsorship duties. If the Home Office makes a final decision that refuses their application, the applicant will cease to be eligible in respect of the following academic year.

The SLC publishes an assessing eligibility guide. We suggest institutions review this guidance and consider how to deal with joining family members, bearing in mind their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. The Department for Education would expect institutions to apply a similar approach when assessing home fee status.

Institutions may also wish to note that, under the regulations relevant to home fee status for those covered by the Withdrawal Agreements, the relevant date for assessing whether a person falls into an eligibility category is the first day of an academic year.