Students living in private university approved accommodation

It is for the local council, not the University, to decide whether a student is eligible for council tax exemption, although the University will be expected to confirm whether a student meets particular criteria.

All full-time students who are not living in halls of residence will need to apply to the council for student exemption each year before the council are able to grant the exemption.

The University will provide the local council tax offices with an exemption listing of all students (undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research) with a full-time mode of attendance for councils to cross-reference with applications.

If you are repeating a year of a full-time course on a part-time basis, you will not be included in the exemption listing and will therefore need to contact your local council tax office to seek guidance on any possible council tax exemption/benefit or housing benefit that might be available to you. Students enrolled on part-time courses are not eligible for student council tax exemption.

Please note it is extremely important to realise that if you sign into a tenancy agreement with other full time students and your status changes to part time, you will then become liable for the council tax on that property. You would be entitled to a 25% discount on this, but, as the only part time student in that property, you would be responsible for payment.

If you are unsure of your attendance status, please contact your faculty in the first instance. If you have any specific council tax queries, you will need to contact your local council tax office.

To qualify for exemption as a student, the legislation requires that individuals must be undertaking a full-time course of education. This is defined (in brief) as: 

  • A course which lasts for at least one academic or calendar year, on which students are normally required to attend for periods of at least 24 weeks in each academic or calendar year.
  • A course that also requires a period of study, tuition or work experience amounting to an average of at least 21 hours a week in each academic or calendar year.

If you are an undergraduate student, who is topping up from an ordinary degree to an honours degree, you will not be exempt from paying council tax.

If you suspend your studies or withdraw from your course, you will not be exempt from paying council tax. It is your responsibility to inform the local council tax office of a change to your student status.

Postgraduate research students

  • If you are a full-time postgraduate research student, you remain eligible for a Council Tax exemption until your first year of writing up has passed or you have submitted your first thesis for examination, whichever is earlier.
  • If you are a part-time postgraduate research student, you will not be eligible for Council Tax exemption and this will apply to your writing up period as well.
  • Postgraduate research students either full-time or part-time, are not exempt from Council Tax once a thesis is submitted for first examination.

In some cases, your local council tax office may ask you to provide a council tax exemption certificate. A certificate can be obtained from your respective faculty office. In most cases, the exemption listing that the University sends out will suffice.