Students from United Kingdom Overseas Territories will be eligible for tuition loans from the 2022/23 school year.
Students from Montserrat and other British OTs already qualify to receive home fees as if they were a long time resident in the UK. This landmark change will allow more students to access higher education in the UK, with the ability to defer paying for school until after they graduate.
To be eligible for tuition fee loans in England, they will need to “have settled status on arrival in the UK”, “come to the UK from specified British overseas territories of which Montserrat is one and be starting full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in the academic year 2022 to 2023.
Prior to this, UK nationals and their family members in the British overseas territories would need to live in the UK for three years to fulfill the residency requirement before accessing tuition and maintenance loans.
At present the only options for local students to study abroad are to qualify for one of the limited government scholarships (only five scholarships were given for the 2021/22 academic year), a Chevening or Commonwealth Scholarship or self-funded with savings, loans and small grants.
Several local parents welcomed this decision stating it would ease the financial burdens of the loans they have taken to send their students to school in the UK. It also reduces the stress of sending students off to the UK three years ahead of when they need to begin university, to ensure they are eligible.
Artist Serene Farrell after learning of the policy change said “Finally, I had to wait 3 years to qualify. I could of got my degree two years ago if I could of done this.”
For the 2022 to 2023 academic year, students who are starting a postgraduate master’s degree or doctoral degree will qualify for postgraduate loans. Students who are starting further education courses in 2022 will qualify for advanced learner loans.
At present, full-time students who qualify for UK tuition loans receive up to £9,250 and £11,100 for accelerated degree courses. Based on their household income, they may also qualify for a maintenance loan to cover living expenses. Students who receive tuition and maintenance loans also qualify for a free laptop to support their studies.
“The changes demonstrate our commitment to supporting economic development in the British overseas territories and enabling those who wish to study at one of our world-class education providers to be able to do so,” the government noted on its gov.uk website.
This new option means that a student ordinarily resident in Montserrat up to three years prior to moving to the UK for school will qualify as meeting the residency requirements. The eligible islands and British OTs are: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, Montserrat, St. Helena and Dependencies, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands.