Student Advice Service – Money Matters

News from the Student Advice Service at the University of Brighton

Are you eligible for Universal Credit? How does it affect your funding?

We know that many students have to exist on very little money and so when looking for options to raise more money we often get asked if students are eligible for Universal Credit.

Generally speaking, if you are enrolled on a full time course, whether you are Undergraduate or Postgraduate the answer is no.

You count as a student from the first day until the last day of the course or if you do not complete it, until the day you are dismissed from or abandon the course. This means that you count as a student even during holiday periods and unless you are in your final year of study you get some additional maintenance loan from Student Finance to cover this.

However, as with everything there are some exceptions. You can claim Universal Credit as a full time student if you are

​If you were in receipt of Universal Credit before you enrolled as a full time student at University then you must tell DWP that you are a full time student, and, you must upload your Student Finance award letter to your Universal Credit online account (journal). This is because your entitlement to Universal Credit will need to be reassessed over the relevant number of assessment periods.

The DWP will take some of your student loan into account as income when they reassess you and your Universal Credit award will be reduced. However, not everything is included pound for pound in a benefits calculation – for Undergraduate students, the ‘special support element’ of the maintenance loan, the parents’ learning allowance and any childcare grant will not be included as income. There is also an additional disregard of £110 per month. For Postgraduate students, only 30% of the full Masters Loan available is included within a Universal Credit assessment.

Please note: DWP will include this student income within your assessment of benefits, whether you choose to take out a loan or not. This may seem unfair, but these are the regulations.

Health Science students – the NHS Training Grant is not included as income in your Universal Credit assessment.

These assessments are complex and the DWP do sometimes make mistakes and miscalculate someone’s entitlement, so if you are in any doubt please contact us at the Student Advice Service as we can check this for you.

If you are a full time student but are repeating a year “part-time” you are still classed as a full time student by DWP as you are enrolled on a full time course even though for that year you are doing it “part-time” to complete the required modules.

The organisation Turn2us have a useful students and benefits guide which you may find helpful.

If you are in any doubt about your entitlement to benefits, or how to fund a repeat year of study, contact the Student Advice Service for bespoke advice. DWP do not always get it right and even if it is their mistake and they have made you an award in error, they can and will ask you for it back. You don’t want to be in a position where you end up having to pay back a significant overpayment of Universal Credit.

It’s what we do so please ask us!

Best wishes

Student Advice Service

DWPuniversal credit

Helen Abrahams • January 6, 2022

Previous Post

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar