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Benefits for students in advanced education

A student holding a clipboard in front of a college building with two students in the background.

Student holding a folder in front of campus

In addition to the provision of loans, grants and bursaries, there a limited number of social security benefits which can be claimed or can remain in payment whilst in full-time advanced education.

If you are entitled to student income in the form of loans for instance, it will be counted as income and reduce the award of means tested benefits, such as Universal Credit.

Advanced education includes a course leading to a first or post-graduate degree, a higher education diploma, teaching courses, BTEC, HND, HNC, Certificate of Higher Education or any other course of a standard above A level or equivalent.

Personal Independence Payment

You can get PIP, Adult Disability Payment (Scotland) or Attendance Allowance even if you are a full-time student.

If you are disabled, are aged under Pension age and need help with your personal care or mobility needs, you can get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or Adult Disability Payment if you live in Scotland. If you need help with personal care and are Pension age or over, you can get Attendance Allowance.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

You cannot make a new claim for DLA, as an adult, but if you are already claiming it, you can continue to get it when you become a full-time student, provided you still meet the criteria.

Carer's Allowance

You cannot get Carer’s Allowance if you are in full-time education, even during holidays. Carer’s Allowance is being replaced for people living in Scotland by Carer Support Payment (CSP). The rules for getting CSP whilst in education are different. Find out more about benefits in Scotland.

Child Benefit

If you are responsible for a child, as a full-time student you can still claim Child Benefit.

Council Tax

Most full-time students do not have to pay Council Tax if everyone in the property is a full-time student.

Housing Benefit

If you are a full-time student who is already getting Housing Benefit, you can continue to get Housing Benefit as a student if you meet certain conditions and are not moving to accommodation in a different local authority. Please seek further advice.

Universal Credit

You cannot normally claim Universal Credit (UC) if you are undertaking a full-time course of education (or a part-time course if it is not compatible with your work-related conditions for UC).

However, there are some exceptions to this rule; notably for parents and for people with disabilities who are in receipt of a qualifying benefit (such as PIP) and who have been assessed as having limited capability for work before the course of education started.

Further information about UC for disabled students can be found in our factsheet:

Universal Credit for disabled students

Employment and Support Allowance

It is no longer possible to make a new claim for income-related Employment and Support Allowance (IR-ESA) as this benefit has been replaced by Universal Credit. However, if you are already getting IR-ESA and become a full-time student, this benefit can continue to be paid if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit (such as PIP) and your circumstances do not change.

If you are not able to work due to illness or disability, you may be entitled to contributory/New- Style ESA while you are a full-time student if you have previously worked and paid national insurance contributions.

Pension Credit

If you are a full time student who is over state pension age and you have a low income, you may be able to get Pension Credit.

Tax Credits

It is no longer possible to make new claims for tax credits as this benefit has been replaced by Universal Credit. If you are already getting tax credits, you may be able to carry on receiving them. If you are already getting working tax credits you can start to receive child tax credits and vice versa.

Managed migration

If you are receiving a legacy benefit (one that has been replaced by UC) and you are asked to claim UC as part of the managed migration exercise, the requirement not to be in education may not apply until the course has finished.