Benefits while studying

Last updated: 06/04/2023

There are a number of benefits you can apply for or continue to get while studying a course of higher education. What benefits and how much you get depends on your circumstances. The benefits you could get include:

  • Child Benefit
  • Scottish Child Payment and Bridging Payments
  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, tax credits and Housing Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Council Tax Reduction

Child Benefit

You get Child Benefit if you are responsible for a child or young person. A child is someone who is under 16 years of age. A young person is someone who remains in full-time non-advanced education up until the age of 20.

If your income is over £50,000 you can still get Child Benefit but it will affect the amount of tax you pay.

Child Benefit weekly rates:

First child: £24.00

Second and subsequent children: £15.90

You can apply for Child Benefit on form CH2 from HM Revenue & Customs.

Call the Child Benefit Helpline or visit the GOV.UK website for more information:

Child Benefit Helpline:

0300 200 3100 Mon – Fri, 8am -6pm

Scottish Child Payment

The Scottish Child Payment is £25 a week given to eligible families for each child up to their 16th birthday.

It will be rolled out to children between the age of 6 and 16 by the end of 2022. Until then the Scottish Government will pay eligible families Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payments.

The payments do not affect any other benefits you are receiving.

For more information see Scottish Child Payment and Bridging Payments.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit has replaced 6 other income related benefits. If you are not receiving any benefits when you start your course you can claim Universal Credit to top up the money you get from SAAS. If you are getting tax credits and/or Housing Benefit when you start your course you may have to claim Universal Credit instead.

Universal Credit is paid monthly. Each month is called an assessment period.

In order to be paid Universal Credit there are usually certain tasks you need to do to find work. If you get the loan and grants from SAAS you will not have to complete these tasks.

The student loan and Lone Parent Grant affect the amount of Universal Credit you receive but the Independent Student Bursary, all money to help to pay for childcare and fees is ignored.


Arthur lives with his 2 children, aged 6 and 1, and pays £400 per month in rent. He receives Universal Credit of £1,353 each assessment period (month) covering the 3rd of one month to the 2nd of the next. He is starting the first year of his degree on the 23rd September ending on the 23rd May so the course covers 9 Universal Credit assessment periods. The last one is not counted so his student funding will reduce his Universal Credit over 8 assessment periods from 3 September to 2 May.

Arthur receives £8,405 (£7,100 student loan plus £1,305 Lone Parent Grant) from SAAS. This is divided by the 9 months of the course:

£8,405 ÷ 9 =  £933

For Universal Credit £110 is disregarded from this each month:

£933 – £110 =  £823

This amount is subtracted from Arthur’s monthly Universal Credit award:

£1,353 – £823 =  £530 Universal Credit per month from 3 September to 2 May

Arthur will receive £530 per month Universal Credit from September to April. He will get £933 per month plus his Independent Student Bursary from SAAS from September to May. He will receive his full Universal Credit award of £1,353 in May.

See Universal Credit for more details or contact the Lone Parent Helpline:

0808 801 0323 Mon – Fri, 9.30am – 4pm

Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, tax credits and Housing Benefit

These benefits have been replaced by Universal Credit and no new claims can be made for them. If you are receiving any of them when you start your course you may continue to do so, however the change in your circumstances may mean you will no longer get them or will have to claim Universal Credit instead.

See ‘Benefits have changed’ for more details or contact the Lone Parent Helpline:

0808 801 0323 Mon – Fri, 9.30 am – 4pm

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Full-time students cannot receive income-based or new style (contribution-based) Jobseeker’s Allowance as studying limits the time they are able to look for and take up work. If you study part-time you can continue to get income-based or new style Jobseeker’s Allowance but may also have to look for work, attend interviews and take a job if offered one.

Employment and Support Allowance

Students in receipt of new style (contribution-based) Employment and Support Allowance can continue to get it while studying. Students in receipt of income-related Employment and Support Allowance can only continue to get it if they are also getting Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or if they are studying part-time.

Carer’s Allowance

Full-time students are not entitled to Carer’s Allowance. You can get it if you study part-time but it could affect other benefits you get.

See more information on Carer’s Allowance.

Council Tax Reduction

Full time students do not pay Council Tax unless they have other non-student adults living with them. Part-time students need to pay Council Tax but may get a Council Tax Reduction or discount depending on their income.

See Help to pay Council Tax for more information.