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Full-time students

Which students qualify for a Council Tax discount or exemption?

Only those students who match the definition of a full-time student as set down in Council Tax law, which is summarised here:

  • you must be enrolled with a ‘prescribed educational establishment’ and
  • your course must be one of the following:
    - a course which lasts at least one full academic or full calendar year, and which requires you to undertake at least 21 hours per week of study, tuition or work experience, for at least 24 weeks in that academic or calendar year, or
    - a course which is not higher education, which lasts for more than 3 calendar months and requires you to undertake more than 12 hours of study. (You must be under 20 if you are on this type of course).

Even if your college describes your course as full-time, you cannot be granted a student discount or exemption if your course doesn't match the definition of full-time in Council Tax law.  So if you are studying for over 21 hours per week but your course is not for a full academic or calendar year, you will not qualify for a student discount or exemption.

When does an exemption apply?

An exemption from Council Tax can only be granted if all the people living in a property are full-time students as described above (or qualify for the school or college leaver discount).

What happens when students and non-students live in the same property?

If there is one person who is not a student, only a 25% discount can be granted. If there are two people who are not students, no discount can be granted at all.

If the residents are joint tenants, usually the non-student residents will be liable for the Council Tax, not the students.

What if a student has a non-British spouse or dependant living with them?

If the spouse or dependant is not a student but has a visa, and the terms of the visa prevent them from taking paid employment or claiming benefits, an exemption will still apply (as long as all the other residents are full-time students).

How to claim the student discount or exemption

To apply for either the discount or exemption, you can use the online claim form under Top tasks or look in the Documents section of this page for a downloadable claim form. 

You may be asked to get a Council Tax Student Certificate from your university or college if we are unable to verify your student status.

In line with Data Protection law, we may use information you give us to prevent or detect fraud or other crimes.  We may also share it with other Council services or public organisations if they need it in order to carry out their legal duties.

How can I get proof that I've been exempt from council tax?

You may want to have proof of exemption for many reasons but most often you'll need it for landlords/letting agents as they demand to see it before releasing your bond/deposit.

We can send an exemption notice, which will state the dates in which the exemption has applied, to any address, though it must be via post.

You can request this using the Contact Us form on this page. Please include your name, the address the enquiry relates to and the address you'd like us to post the notice to.

I am a single parent living with my son. He’s 18 and a student. Can I get a Single Person Discount?

No, because you are not the only adult resident. But if he is a full-time student, you can claim a Student Discount for him, which is also 25%. You can make an online claim or download a claim form, and will need to provide proof of their student status.

My daughter’s a full-time student and lives with me and my partner. Can I claim a student discount?

​No. Your daughter will not be counted at your address but there will still be two adults who are counted, so no discount applies.