Usually full-time students cannot claim benefit whilst at College, although there are a few exceptions:

  • If you intend to undertake a Full-time Non-Advanced course (e.g. NC/SVQ) then you may be eligible to continue claiming certain benefits. However, you should always contact a Jobcentre Adviser before you apply for a course to ensure your eligibility.
  • If you intend to undertake a Full-time Advanced course (e.g. HNC/HND) it is likely you will be unable to continue claiming benefits, and should contact a Jobcentre Adviser to seek further advice.

If you are currently on benefits, you should be aware that there may be a delay before your benefit position is reviewed by the benefit provider - this may take several weeks. It is also likely that any benefits received after the start of your course will have to be repaid (e.g. Housing Benefit) unless you are considered an exception.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit which aims to replace current means tested benefits and tax credits for working age people. 
Roll out of this has already begun in certain areas of the UK, including Scotland, and is due to be completed during 2017.

Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based JSA
  • Income-based ESA
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

For more information, please visit the Universal Credit website.

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Income Support

The current regulations allow you to attend College as a full-time, non-advanced student and still retain – or apply to claim – Income Support, Housing and other benefits if you fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • You are a single parent not required to register for Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • You are a single person under the age of 21 who is estranged from your parents

If you are in receipt of Incapacity Benefit/Employment Support Allowance you should consult Jobcentre Plus for advice.

Students on non-advanced courses who are entitled to continue to receive Income Support (or any income replacement benefit) and Housing Benefit will be expected to continue to claim rather than receive a maintenance bursary. You should however still submit a bursary application form as you may be entitled to another form of support which could cover factors such as travel, course materials and your course fee.

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Housing Benefit

The following applies to students on both advanced and non-advanced courses.

Most full-time students are not entitled to claim Housing Benefit, but you may be able to claim if you are:

  • Entitled to Income Support
  • A single parent
  • A couple, one or both students, with dependent children
  • Under 21 years old on a non-advanced course
  • A disabled student

For more information your first point of contact should be your local Housing Benefit Office.

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Council Tax

You may not have to pay Council Tax during your time at College if you are a full-time student on a course lasting at least 24 weeks and:

  • You are under 18 years of age, or;
  • You live in a house, flat or bedsit on your own, or;
  • All of the occupants in your accommodation are students

The College forwards a list to the local Council Tax Office at the beginning of each session which names all students enrolled on full-time courses. If you share a property with others who are not full-time students then payment of Council Tax will apply.

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Tax Credits

Students and their families may be entitled to more money via Tax Credits. If you have children then you will be entitled to claim Child Tax Credit which will be paid to those who are responsible for at least one child, whether or not they are in paid work. Students who work more than 16 hours each week could also be eligible for Working Tax Credit. Extra help can also be obtained if you are disable or caring for disabled children.

For more information please contact HM Revenue & Customs:

HM Revenue & Customs
Telephone: 0345 300 3900

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