This information should not be relied upon as legal or professional advice. Read the disclaimer.

Are Ukrainian students eligible for home fee status and student finance?  

In England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, persons granted leave under the Ukraine schemes are eligible for home fee status and student support if they are studying an approved course at an approved higher education provider in the UK (see below for information on Ukrainian students continuing their studies in the UK remotely).

For more information on eligibility for home student status, see the relevant article in the series on England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland. It is important to note, in England, the requirement for students to be “ordinarily resident in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course” does not apply to those granted leave under the Ukrainian schemes. 

If a student needs advice about their fee status and eligibility, they should contact the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), which provides specialist information and advice to international students on fees and funding. 

What student finance might Ukrainian students be entitled to? 

Eligible students from Ukraine may be entitled to a range of support including tuition fee loans, maintenance loans, grants, and/or bursaries, and additional allowances related to their individual circumstances, for example if they have a disability. 

The nature and amount of student support available depends on the level of qualification being studied, a student’s personal circumstances, and the country in which they are studying. Students should consult the website of the respective student finance body for where they ordinarily reside: 

See also the Commons Library casework article, Cost of living support for students.

Is there support for Ukrainian students continuing courses online from the UK? 

Ukrainian students studying fulltime at Ukrainian institutions remotely from the UK are not eligible for student finance, nor are they able to claim Universal Credit.  

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has raised concerns about the number of students in this position. Such students must choose either to leave their existing studies and enrol on a course in UK higher education, or continue their remote study with limited assistance. 

In August 2022, CPAG said they met with the Department for Work & Pensions, which confirmed it is working with the Departments for Education and for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, to find a policy solution to the issue. 

What support has the Government made available to universities? 

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Office for Students, which regulates higher education in England, has distributed over £4 million to support English higher education providers since April 2022. Providers can use this funding to support Ukrainian nationals and Ukrainian-domiciled students who have been financially affected by events in Ukraine.  

The Government has allocated this funding based on the number of Ukrainian students registered at English higher education providers. More information on Government support can be found in the OfS guide Information for providers on the crisis in Ukraine.   

In Scotland, anInternational Students’ Emergency Fund (PDF) is available for international students living in the UK who are not eligible to receive living cost support from a UK funding body. This also applies to existing Ukrainian students who have previously started courses in Scotland and are experiencing hardship.Students wishing to apply should contact the student support team at their institution. 

The UK Government has also announced a series of measures to support Ukraine’s science and technology and research sectors.

What university scholarships and hardship funds are available? 

The Student Action for Refugees (STAR) group has a list of over 70 universities in the UK that offer scholarships for students who are seeking asylum or from a refugee background. Some of these may be open to Ukrainian nationals previously studying in Ukraine. See also the STAR page Information for students affected by the invasion of Ukraine

Many higher education providers have set up scholarships for new students from Ukraine and hardship funds for students affected by the Ukraine war. Students should contact their university’s student advice/welfare service, which can advise on a range of issues including housing, benefits, and money.  

Are universities providing any other support? 

Cormack Consultancy Group and Universities UK International have established a “twinning” scheme whereby UK universities partner directly with Ukrainian institutions for a minimum of five years.  

A Universities UK press release from 18 August 2022 set out the scope of the scheme. It includes: 

  • Mutually recognising credits so English-speaking Ukrainian students can take online courses from UK universities that count towards their final degree. 
  • Sharing mental health support, particularly for Ukrainian staff and students suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to the conflict. 
  • Allowing Ukrainian students to ‘catch-up’ on the learning they have missed at summer schools hosted in UK institutions.  

The scheme is backed by the UK Government, which has said: “The nature of the support universities will provide is tailored to the needs of Ukrainian institutions.” As of 28 June 2022, 71 partnerships had been agreed. A full list of twinned universities is available online.  

Are Ukrainian students eligible for benefits?  

Most full-time students are not eligible to claim Universal Credit, but there are some exceptions. Students may qualify for disability-related benefits and financial support 

Students who want to check what benefit support they may be eligible for should seek advice from a professional welfare specialist. Welfare rights advisers can be found using the postcode finder on the Advice Local website. 

If students are having problems claiming Universal Credit, they can contact the confidential Citizens Advice Help to Claim service 

What wellbeing support is available?  

The following organisations offer free mental health and well-being support for students: 

  • Student Mindshas information about support programmes and services that may be available to students at university. 
  • Young Mindshas resources to support students and their mental health. Support can be accessed 24 hours a day via theYoung Minds Crisis Messenger. 
  • Sane Ukraineare holding daily online trauma and resilience support sessions for Ukrainians who need practical psychological and emotional support. These are led by experts and translated into Ukrainian.  

The Barnados’ Ukrainian support helpline can also provide access to therapy with qualified psychotherapists.

Are Ukrainian qualifications recognised in the UK?   

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies responsible for their admissions policies, but the Department for Education has told providers to be “as flexible as possible” when considering the applications of Ukrainian students.   

The UK European Network for Information (ENIC) offers a ‘Statement Of Comparability’ for people who need to confirm the level of their overseas qualifications for employment, study, professional registration, or another reason. Individuals and organisations can apply online for a Statement of Comparability through the UK ENIC portal.  

There is a charge to individuals for a Statement of Comparability, but a blogpost from March 2022 published by ECCTIS, which provides the ENIC service under contract to the Department for Education, said “reduced-price bundles for charities supporting refugees”, including refugees from Ukraine, are available. Individuals or organisations should contact ECCTIS atrefugee@ecctis.comfor more information on how these work and what charities are included. 

Further information 

Commons Library casework article, Cost of living support for students 

Commons Library casework article, Childcare support for students 

UK Council for International Student Affairs, Students from Ukraine

Disclaimer

The Commons Library does not intend the information in this article to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual. We have published it to support the work of MPs. You should not rely upon it as legal or professional advice, or as a substitute for it. We do not accept any liability whatsoever for any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein. You should consult a suitably qualified professional if you require specific advice or information. Read our briefing for information about sources of legal advice and help.

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