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Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories publishes written evidence on education support

20 May 2024

Foreign Affairs Committee’s Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories has published (Monday 20 May) written evidence received for its work on the UK Government’s support of education for British Overseas Territories students.

The written evidence includes a submission from the Department for Education (DfE) which outlines its approach to the provision of support for education, and the financial support available to students from British Overseas Territories.

The Department says that “education in the Overseas Territories (OTs) is a domestic issue and, therefore, under their constitutions, the responsibility of the locally elected Government”. The evidence adds that “in relation to education, the UK is obliged to ensure the OTs’ ‘…political, economic, social, and educational advancement…’ (Article 73, UN Charter). This is a broadly framed obligation, leaving a wide margin for the UK to determine how it is to be met.”

Currently, eligible students from British Overseas Territories qualify for Home Fees status and can apply for a tuition fee loan. However, they are not eligible to apply for maintenance loan support. 

Regarding the decision not to extend maintenance support to student from the Overseas Territories, the Department says, “these loans are subsidised by the UK taxpayer, not all of whom will have had the opportunity to go to university.”

Evidence submitted from prospective students and residents of British Overseas Territories outlines the issues they face when seeking to access higher education in the UK, with many submissions from St Helena. The evidence highlights changes in funding availability and administrative hurdles as key barriers.

One submission states: “recent cuts to scholarships and the lack of maintenance support for students accessing UK student finance have exacerbated the financial burden on families, with the average local wage insufficient to support tertiary education abroad.”

Submissions were received from a number of individuals and organisations including:  

  • Falkland Islands Government
  • St Helena Government
  • St Helena Chamber of Commerce

At 13.45 today (Monday 20 May) the Sub-Committee holds an evidence session with the Department for Education (DfE). Questions focus on the UK Government’s support for students in the British Overseas Territories. The Sub-Committee will hear from Minister of State for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education at the DfE, Luke Hall MP.

Further information

Image: FCDO Flickr