I have a British passport, but Durham has me paying international fees
Being a British citizen doesn’t make you British enough
Despite owning a British passport – and being backed by the government which deems me deserving of it – Durham University has me listed as an ‘Overseas undergraduate.’
Even though I have the right to work, to live, and the access the NHS in the UK, I am locked out of accessing universities – institutions that my parents paid taxes towards for many years while they worked here.
My first year of university costs the same amount of money as the typical seven terms combined at Durham, but luckily I have found a means of getting here, though others may not be able to. I have an address in the UK and have been back in the country at least once every year before entering university, but in order to be classified as a “Home” student you must have, in very loose terms, lived in the UK for the past three years.
There is no specified amount of days or requirements about parents or even owning property. You must provide evidence which to one may be suitable enough and to others may be nothing of help. In my case Durham refused the exact evidence I successfully provided to Bristol.
Durham deemed that proof of address was not sufficient in my case, and asked me for train tickets. The problem is we don’t have a railway station near us in Omagh, where I live part time in the UK.
Speaking to them during my lengthy fee status revision, I was told that it is the responsibility of the government to decide who pays what fees, and that classifying me as a local student could result in the government facing consequences if audited by the Home Office, and yet Bristol was quick in classifying me as a “Home” student.
This however was clarified to be the responsibility of the university during my communication with the Department for Education during February of this year.
An odd factor that adds to the absurdity of this situation is that there are several known cases in which students who are holders of an EU passport can pay “EU fees” without ever having lived in an EU member state.
In undisturbed print, my nationality is listed as “British”, not a half or a quarter- “British” in full form in my passport. But being a British citizen doesn’t make you British enough, according to Durham University.
In response to this case, a University spokesperson told The Tab that “the University is unable to comment on individual cases.”