Full time students and benefits - Student income

Find out more about the definition of a full-time student for benefit purposes and whether you can claim any benefits or tax credits

Last reviewed 02 January 2023

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit. You will have to find out your student income and what is disregarded before you can calculate how much Universal Credit you will get.

You are counted as having student income if you are undertaking a course and have a student loan or grant for your course.


Grant means an educational grant or award.

If you get a grant but don’t get a loan, the grant income is taken into account for Universal Credit. Except for any grant for:

  • Tuition and examination fees
  • Disability
  • Extra costs of residential study away from your usual place of study during term time
  • Costs of your normal home (if you live somewhere else during your course), unless these are met by your Universal Credit
  • Maintenance of someone who is not included in your Universal Credit claim
  • Books, equipment, course travel costs or childcare costs

If you get a grant and also get a loan and your grant is paid for the same period, it is completely disregarded unless it is for the maintenance of someone who is part of your Universal Credit claim or for rent payments that are met by Universal Credit.

Examples of disregarded grants - Disabled Students’ Allowance, Parents’ Learning Allowance and Special Support Grant. If you are planning to or have received another type of grant, you will need to check the above list to find out if it will be disregarded.

Charitable grants

If you are receiving regular payments of a grant, it will not be counted as income and will not reduce your s.

If you receive one off payment of a grant, it will count as capital rather than income. Having capital may affect your s. 

You can use our Grants Search to find out about educational charities and what help they give students, depending on their background, circumstances and needs.

If you’re not sure how a charitable grant may affect your benefits, you should get advice. You can use the Find an Adviser tool.

Student loans

Student loans for maintenance count as income. If you could get a student loan for maintenance but do not claim it, your Universal Credit will be calculated as if you had been given the loan.


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