Full time students are not required to pay council tax if they live in a property entirely occupied by students or if they are living in halls of residence.

Exemptions and discounts may apply to properties with a mixture of students and non-students, but it is the responsibility of the student to inform the council if this applies.

Applying for a discount or exemption

It is your responsibility to tell us you are a student within 21 days. Student discounts and exemptions are not given automatically and they can only be backdated for more than a short period if there was a good reason for a late application.

To apply for a discount or exemption as a student please contact us with the following documents:

  • a student exemption certificate from your university or college, confirming your name, address, where you are studying, the course name and its dates
  • a copy of your up-to-date tenancy agreement

Let us know of any changes such as you leaving the household, someone joining or your course ending. Please also provide us with a telephone contact number.

Please note that we verify each request for any student exemption/discount, so it will take some time before your reduction is applied. During this time it is your responsibility to pay council tax.

Am I a full time student?

You are a full time student if you are: 

  • studying on a full time course with a university or college for a least one academic year (at least 24 weeks) in the U.K or any member state of the European Union. A full time course is defined as study, tuition or work experience averaging 21 hours each week
  • aged 19 or under and studying on a short course (less than three months) that you attend for no more than 12 hours each week. The course cannot be full-time or higher education, day release from your job, or one that you are doing as an apprentice or as part of youth training
  • a foreign language assistant that is registered with the British Council, and working at a university, college or school
  • a student nurse on a course that leads to a first inclusion on the Register maintained under section 10 of the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979
  • a PhD student - PhD students who are no longer enrolled and are 'writing up' are not given student status
  • studying by a correspondence course or a course online

Who is a non-student for council tax purposes?

Researchers are not usually treated as students because they are not attending a course of education, unless they can provide a student certificate.

People who study English as a Foreign Language (EFL) may not be treated as students for council tax purposes if their course lasts for less than an academic year, or they study for too few hours each week.

If a dwelling is occupied by one student and one non-student, a discount of 25 per cent is given; this will leave a balance of 75 per cent of the full amount left to pay by the non-student.

If it is occupied partly by students and two or more non-students, no discount is given and the full council tax must be paid by the non-students.

If it is occupied by a student who has a non-British spouse or dependant living with them who is unable to work because of the terms of their entry to the UK then no charge is payable.