Benefits & Tax Credits

This section applies to UK students only. International, EU and UK students who have been living outside the UK, may not qualify for state benefits or tax credits and should seek further advice either by calling the relevant agency responsible for administering the benefit or tax credit, their local benefits office or the Student Advice Centre. Information is also available from UKCISA.

April saw the start of some of the biggest ever changes to the welfare benefits system that will roll out nationally over the next few years. This includes several means-tested benefits being replaced by a new Universal Credit, the introduction of a benefits cap, localisation of Council Tax support, and the introduction of Personal Independence Payment replacing Disability Living Allowance. For more information about this take a look at the Money Advice Service interactive time line. The Student Advice Centre has also prepared a useful factsheet (PDF:97.1KB) which summarises the changes.


As a general rule most full-time students are not entitled to state benefits but they may be able to claim if they are:

  • a couple where one partner is not a full-time student
  • studying part-time and on a low income
  • a student couple with children
  • a lone parent
  • a disabled student
Student income

Some benefits are means-tested and the amount a student will be eligible to receive will depend upon their income. Student income will be taken into account when their entitlement for means-tested benefits is calculated. Most grants and loans are disregarded when calculating a student’s income for tax credit purposes. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule such as income from the Adult Dependants Grant and the living cost element of a Professional Career Development Loan.

If your family circumstances change and you are going through a divorce or separation and want information about the impact this could have on your financial situation you might find it useful to visit the Money Advice Service website.