Banner image: Defining ‘Home’ applicants; photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

How UK medical schools define 'Home' applicants can vary, over time and regionally

How exactly do UK medical schools define 'Home' applicants and students?

Different criteria for 'Home' classifications can have effects on competition ratios and other reported data, and this also determines tuition fees for students.

Temporal variations: 'Home' classifications before and after Brexit

Before the United Kingdom left the European Union at midnight on 31 December 2020, UK medical schools had been required to treat all applicants from the EU in the same way as 'Home' applicants.  

This means that data reported by UK medical schools (for example, competition ratios and student intake statistics) during this period before 2021 included EU students within 'Home' data sets. In effect, UK medical schools during this period before Brexit reported on "Home / EU' students as one homogenous group.

 Going forward after Brexit, from academic years 2021-22 onwards, UK medical schools no longer are required to treat EU applicants as 'Home' applicants.  

Instead, applicants from the EU are normally counted as 'International' applicants and students from the EU are generally counted as 'International' statistics (for more details, and a few exceptions, see this guide for EU applicants describing rare cases when applicants from the EU can be eligible for 'Home' status).

Whenever comparing data before and after 2020, everyone should keep in mind that EU students after Brexit are included within 'International' data sets whereas before Brexit all EU students were aggregated into 'Home / EU' data sets.

For EU applicants, one practical impact of this change is that 'International' tuition fees are higher than 'Home' tuition fees, so the cost of UK medical school education increases significantly for EU students after Brexit.

Geographic variations: 'Home' classifications across the four nations of the UK

Both before and after Brexit, some regional variations in how UK medical schools deal with 'Home' students also have significant practical effects on tuition fees.

Specifically, two regions of the UK treat all 'Home' students uniformly when imposing tuition fees and two regions of the UK make subsets of 'Home' students pay different tuition fees.

UK medical schools in England and Wales uniformly classify all students normally residing in the UK as 'Home' students and have all these students pay uniform tuition fees. 

In England, tuition charges for all 'Home' students coming from any part of the UK are set to the same maximum allowable amount of £9,250 per year.  For a general overview, see the UCAS summary of tuition fees in England and other regions of the UK.

Wales keeps to a slightly lower limit at £9,000 per year and uniformly imposes this on all students coming from any regions of the UK. For more details, check advice on student finance in Wales.

Scotland and Northern Ireland, however, proceed differently by making further distinctions between "Home' students.

Scotland distinguishes between applicants residing within Scotland itself and those coming from the 'Rest of UK' (RUK) -- that is, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Students from Scotland who study at Scottish medical schools are eligible to have all their tuition fees of £1820 entirely paid by Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), thus making eductation effectively free. 

Although RUK students in Scotland are counted as 'Home' students, in Scottish medical schools they are not eligible for the free tuition arrangements that apply to students from Scotland and therefore must pay the maximum allowable £9,250 tuition fee per year. For more details, see this overview of tuition fees payable by RUK students in Scotland.

Northern Ireland similarly distinguishes between applicants residing within Northern Ireland itself and those coming from the 'Rest of UK' (RUK) -- that is, England, Wales and Scotland.

Students from Northern Ireland who study at Northern Irish medical schools pay a lower rate of £4395 in tuition fees per year.

Although RUK students in Northern Ireland are counted as 'Home' students, they are not eligible for the lower tuition arrangements and must pay the maximum allowable £9,250 tuition fee per year. For more details, see this overview of tuition fees payable by RUK students in Northern Ireland.

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