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Benefits for students

There may be help available if you are a student.

Council Tax

A Council Tax exemption or discount may be available if you are a full time student.

You are classed as a full time student if you are undertaking a full-time program of study, tuition or work experience at a recognised establishment of at least one year which lasts at least 24 weeks in each academic or calendar year and which amounts to an average of at least 21 hours per week in each academic or calendar year.

If you live in a household where everyone is a full-time student then the household will be exempt from paying council tax.

If all but one of the adults living in a property are full time students, a 25% discount may apply.  If there are other adults residing at the property, a discount or exemption may still be available depending on their circumstances.

If you start to live in the property before your course starts, you may be charged council tax for that period.

Once you reach the official end date of your course you will be classed as an adult for council tax purposes and will no longer be exempt as a student.

If you do not qualify for a Council Tax exemption or discount you may be entitled to Council Tax Reduction.

Universal Credit

You can study part time and claim Universal Credit (UC) unless it is not compatible with your Claimant Commitment or you were entitled to a Severe disability premium (SDP) within the last month.

Full time students can only claim UC in very limited circumstances and only if not entitled to an SDP within the last month:

  • You are getting Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA) and you have been assessed as having limited capability for work.  If you are a student getting PIP/DLA/AA and you claim UC, your claim will be refused if you have not already been assessed as having limited capability for work.  If this happens you can claim New Style Employment Support Allowance (NSESA) even if you have not paid national insurance contributions.  You will not receive any NSESA but will be assessed for limited capability for work.  Once assessed successfully you can claim UC.
  • You are responsible for a child.  You must have a child under 16, or 16-19 in full-time non-advanced education.
  • You are under 21 (or are 21 but were under that age when you started your course) on a full time non-advanced course and are without parental support.
  • You are a single foster parent.
  • You are one of a couple, your partner is also a student and they are responsible for a child  (including as a foster parent).
  • You are over pension age and your partner has not yet reached that age.
  • You have taken time out of your course because of illness, disability or caring responsibilities and have now recovered or your caring responsibilities have ended and you are not eligible for a grant or loan.
  • You have a partner who is not a student or who is able to claim as a student themselves.

If you have student income it will usually count as income for UC.  Student income includes student loans and grants paid to you for your course.  UC takes almost all of student income into account.

If you are eligible for a student loan it counts as income.  The maximum loan to which you are entitled will be taken into account as student income regardless of whether you actually take it or not.  If you do not get a loan any grant for your maintenance is taken fully into account.

Student income is taken into account in the monthly assessment period in which the course begins and each further monthly assessment period during which you are undertaking the course.  It is disregarded in the assessment period in which the last week of the course or the start of the long (usually Summer) vacation falls.  It continues to be disregarded during any assessment periods that fall completely in the long vacation.

Legacy benefits

Legacy benefits are Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income-related Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.

New claims to these benefits can only be made if you were entitled to an SDP within the last month and only in very limited circumstances if you are a student.  For further information please contact us,

If you are already receiving a legacy benefit and want to know how becoming a student will impact your entitlement please contact us for advice.

Other concessions

There may be other concessions available depending on your circumstances.

Studying in Perth and Kinross

Perth College UHI have further useful information and advice.

Contact details

Welfare Rights Team

Pullar House, 35 Kinnoull Street, Perth, PH1 5GD
Tel 01738 476900 (Option 1)