Universal Credit and Housing Benefit for students

Most full-time students are not entitled to any help towards their rent from either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. However, there are some exceptions.

Can I claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit if I am a student?

You may be able to apply for Universal Credit or Housing Benefit if you:

  • are on a part-time course

  • are disabled

  • are responsible for children

  • are under 21 and taking a non higher education course such as Highers

  • are getting Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

  • are receiving a State Pension

  • leave your course temporarily because of illness or caring responsibilities.

Don't stop paying your rent until you have received confirmation that you will be entitled to benefit and how much you will get. It can take a long time for a claim to be processed. If you stop paying your rent and later find out that you are not entitled to housing benefit or you are entitled to less than you thought, you could end up with serious rent arrears.

If you are a full-time student and do not fall into the categories above you will probably not be entitled to Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.

You are a full-time student if:

  • you are under 19 and on a course which is more advanced than Highers or sixth year studies (SYS)

  • you are between 19 and retirement age and on a course of more than 16 hours per week (this is not just lecture or tutorial time but includes study time too).

If you are unsure whether you're a full-time student, speak to someone at your college or university.

Living with a partner who is not a student

If you live with a partner who is not a student, they may able to claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. However your income, for example your student grant or loan, will be taken into account and may reduce the amount of benefit that your partner is entitled to.

How to check if you're entitled to benefits

Turn to Us has an online benefit calculator. You can use this to check if you are entitled to any extra money. It can be useful to have information with you about any money you have coming into your household already and what your monthly rent payments are before you use this tool.

Citizens Advice Scotland and Money Advice Scotland can provide money advice and welfare benefit checks and other financial support information.

Scotland’s Financial Health Service Advice offers lots of useful information about money and finances and has helpful links to services by council area.

Where can I get help with benefits?

The rules regarding students and benefits are complicated, so if you are unsure whether you're entitled to help with your rent, it's always best to seek advice. Advisers at your university or college welfare service will have specialist knowledge about claiming benefits if you are a student.

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help. Get Help

Last updated: 8 January 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England