Benefits for students

Most full-time students cannot claim Housing Benefit because the government expects them to use other money like their grant, student loan or access funds to pay their rent.

A student is classified as a person who is attending a course of study at an educational establishment. Most full-time students in higher education are not entitled to Housing Benefit.

Claiming benefit

You can make a claim for benefit using our new claim form.


You might be able to claim if you:

  • Are a part-time student
  • Are a student who is responsible for a child or young person (as part of a couple or on your own)
  • Are a single foster parent
  • Are 60 or over
  • Get Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Meet the conditions for the Disability Premium or Severe Disability Premium (these are allowances we use to work out benefit for people who meet certain conditions)
  • Have not been able to work for at least 28 weeks due to illness or disability
  • Qualify for a disabled student's allowance because you are deaf
  • Are under 19 and not in higher education
  • Have a partner who is not a student (they need to claim, not you)
  • Have to interrupt your course, with the approval of the college or university, due to illness or caring responsibilities.

If you are not sure whether you can claim, you can always contact us for advice.

Overseas students

If you come from outside Europe you will probably not be able to claim any Housing Benefit, even if you are in one of the groups of students who can. It depends on the conditions under which you came into this country.

For any student from abroad we will need information about your immigration status before we can deal with your Housing Benefit claim. If you are a student from Europe, you can only claim Housing Benefit if you fall into one of the categories of students who can.

Student nurses

Students funded by the National Health Service can claim Housing Benefit under the same rules that apply to other students. If you're not sure, get in touch with us.

Students who rent property from a university or college

You might be able to if you fall into one of the categories of students who can claim Housing Benefit.

How much will I get?

This varies depending on your income. We work out your income as if you get the full amount of student loan available to you, even if you don't actually receive it all.

But we do ignore the first £10 a week of your loan and also a set amount for books, equipment and travel. Students who get a bursary for nursing or midwifery diploma courses cannot get a student loan so we don't have to count any loan income.

For non-diploma nursing students we count any grant and the full amount of loan income in the same way that we do for students in general. The rules for working out Housing Benefit for students are complicated. If you have any questions, you can always contact us for advice.

Proof required

As well as your fully filled-in claim form, we need the following things to assess your claim:

  • Your financial assessment
  • Proof of all other income and savings
  • Full details of your course, including term dates and which year you are in
  • Proof of your rent
  • Proof of your identity and National Insurance number.

The application form tells you what we need, but if we need more information we'll write to you and ask you for it.

Sharing with other students

If you live in a property with other students, you won't normally have to pay Council Tax. If you live in a property that only students live in, you can claim an exemption from Council Tax.

To do this, everyone in the property must provide their student certificates to the Council Tax office. Ask your university or college for your certificate. If the Council Tax office doesn't get certificates for everyone in the property, they will issue a Council Tax bill.

Halls of residence

If you are a student living in a hall of residence, you won't normally have to pay Council Tax.

Sharing with non-students

If you're a student living with other people who are not all students, you will not be jointly liable for the Council Tax bill with all the other people in the household. But, don't forget to give your student certificate to the Council Tax office. The non-students in the household can claim support based on their income.

Overseas student living with partner.

You may or may not have to pay Council Tax. You might be able to claim a full exemption from Council Tax. To qualify for this exemption your partner must be prevented from working or claiming benefits in this country. The Council Tax Unit will want to see your student certificate and both passports.

Disagreeing with our decision

If you don't agree with our decision, you can ask us to look at it again. Our letters tell you what rights you have.