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Student finance is generally available to those who have no restrictions on their ability to live and work in the United Kingdom, so that they are likely to be able stay in the UK to complete their education and contribute to the UK economy afterwards.
In 2016, the regulations governing student support were amended to introduce a new eligibility category for those who do not have settled status but who have resided in the UK for an extended period. The amendment extended access to support to students who have spent half their life or at least 20 years in the UK preceding the first day of the first academic year of their course, or 7 years for those under 18 years old. Like most other students, they must be ordinarily resident in England and have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) for the 3 years preceding the first day of the first academic year of their course to qualify for support.
An equality impact assessment was carried out on this change before it was introduced. This can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/517514/bis-16-200-new-eligibility-category-for-higher-education-student-support-equality-impact-analysis.pdf. This assessment concluded that the policy could particularly benefit people from the Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Central, Europe Other or Middle East regions.