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UK to Look Into Offering Maintenance Loans to Overseas Territory Students

During the recently concluded Joint Ministerial Council meetings in London, leaders of the Overseas Territories expressed concerns about several matters related to students accessing support in the United Kingdom.

According to the communique under the issue of education and pensions, “the Overseas Territories expressed disappointment at the ongoing issue with the process for issuing visas for students with British Overseas Territories Citizenship (BOTC) to study in the UK. The Overseas Territories welcome the UK Government commitment to resolving the issue.”

Currently, holders of British or BOTC passports do not need a visa to live or study in the United Kingdom. However, some OTs (not Montserrat) are having challenges with this due to the “nonBelonger” status given to non-nationals residing in their territory.

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The leaders welcomed the UK opening access to tuition fee loans for Overseas Territories students. However, it currently excludes access to maintenance loans for living expenses. The communique noted that the UK and the Overseas Territories acknowledge this is a concern.

OT nationals who began a course of study in 2022 became eligible for UK Student Finance without needing to have been resident in the UK for three years prior. The UK government now allows for the OTs to show proof of local residency as meeting the three-year UK residency requirement for applying for the loan.

The amount of maintenance loan you can get depends on your household income, where you live and study, and how long for. The minimum Maintenance Loan on offer for students from England is £3,698.

The average student loan varies, but the lowest maintenance loan you could receive in England is around £3,597 per academic year, if you are living at home during uni, as it is assumed that if you are living with your parents you won’t need to pay rent.

The maximum amount of maintenance loan you can get depends on whether you live inside or outside London and whether you live with your parents or not. For example, if you live outside London and are studying away from home, the maximum amount of maintenance loan you can get is £9,488.

The Government of Montserrat recently released its priority study areas for the coming school year. Applicants have until May 31, 2023 to submit a request for consideration for a scholarship. UK Student Finance is an alternative way that can be sought to cover the tuition expenses for obtaining an undergraduate or post graduate degree in the United Kingdom.

The UK has committed to “looking into” everything,  a government official told Discover Montserrat. However, the OTs must follow up in order to see progress on the concerns raised.

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