Discounts and exemptions

Students and apprentices

The definition of a full-time student

To count as a full-time student for Council Tax purposes: 

  • you must be aged 18 years or older and either:
  • You must be enrolled and studying at a prescribed educational establishment providing higher or further education

Before 12 May 2011, the student must be attending a full-time course of education at a prescribed education establishment (school, college, university or theological college) in the United Kingdom which lasts for at least one academic year of the educational establishment concerned or, in the case of an educational establishment which does not have academic years, for at least one calendar year. The course must require attendance for at least 24 weeks in that academic/calendar year and involves at least 21 hours of study each week during term time. This includes students on industrial placements and student nurses studying academic courses at universities and those on Project 2000

On 13 May 2011, the law was changed to state that you must be undertaking a full-time course of education at the prescribed educational establishment (school, college, university or theological college) in the European Union which lasts for at least one academic year of the educational establishment concerned or, in the case of an educational establishment which does not have academic years, for at least one calendar year. The course must require you to undertake study for at least 24 weeks in that academic/calendar year and involves at least 21 hours of study each week during term time.

What is a prescribed educational establishment:

  • defined by their purpose (solely on mainly to provide courses of further or higher education) and their situation in a Member State of the European Union. 

in further education and under the age of 20:

  • be attending a course of further education (up to A level, ONC or OND standard) which lasts for more than three months and involves at least 12 hours of study per week. You must be under 20 years old. Correspondence courses, evening classes and courses taken in connection with your job, such as day-release, are not included  

a student nurse:

  • attending a course that leads to an appropriate registration under section 10 of the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979

a foreign language assistant:

  • be registered as a foreign language assistant with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges which is part of the British Council 

a school and college leaver

A person is disregarded for Council Tax purposes if:

  • they are under the age of 20; and
  • they have, after 30th April and before 1st November in any year, ceased to undertake a full-time course of further education or a qualifying course of education.

Young people leaving school or college, some of whom will be disregarded as students when courses begin in October each year, are not counted for Council Tax for a few weeks before becoming a student if they happen to have reached the age of 18.

The person will be disregarded until 1st November under any circumstances in the year of leaving school or college.

Are you exempt from paying?

Full-time students living in a property where all the residents are full-time students are exempt from paying Council Tax. 

  • One of the most important things to do when you start your course is to inform the Council Tax Office that you are now a student. You need to tell the Council when you move in and out of an address as this will help the Council to work out if you have to pay the Council Tax.
  • Full-time students living with non-students (or part-time students) and who rent or own a property jointly are exempt from council tax. They will, however, remain jointly liable for any period of time before they became a full-time student. You will need to ensure that the Council receives an exemption certificate from each student confirming their status. The non-students (or part-time students) will be made liable for the Council Tax. 
  • Non-UK partners or spouses of full-time students, who are not able to work or claim benefits due to the terms of their leave to enter or remain in the UK, are also not liable for Council Tax. You will need to provide proof of this status to the Council. Your partner’s passport will confirm this. 
  • If the Owner of the property is a student and a non-student is also a resident (e.g. a lodger), the student remains solely liable for the Council Tax, as they are higher in the Council Tax hierarchy of legal interest. If the lodger is claiming Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit cannot be granted, as the lodger is not the liable person.
  • Not all students are able to have Council Tax Student Status. You need to be on a full-time course of education that lasts for at least one academic year, or one calendar year if your college does not operate an academic year. Condensed courses at a college or university operating an academic year system will not qualify as the condensed course does not run for the full academic year. 

How do I get an exemption certificate? 

You will need to supply Kingston Council with a Council Tax Student Certificate from your school, college or university to prove that you are a full-time student. Your institution is obliged to provide this. Please note that a letter from your tutor, student I.D card or your NUS membership card will not be accepted. If you study at one of the following colleges/universities you do not need to obtain a Council Tax Student Certificate:  

  • Kingston University
  • St Mary University

You will need to supply your student registration number to the Council Tax Office as we will automatically verify your details with your university. If you are a student at any other school, college or university you will need to provide a Student Certificate from your college/university to give to the council as proof of your studies. Please contact your college office for more information.  

What has to be shown on my Council Tax Student Certificate?  

The certificate needs to show the following, but we will let you know if we need additional information;

  • your full name
  • your date of birth if you are under 20 year of age and in further education
  • that the course is either part-time or full-time and the hours required each week
  • the start date of your course and the day you are expected to finish your course 

Apply online.

  • set up a Council Tax account with us first and have your Council Tax account number to hand. If you have not yet registered for Council Tax please complete this moving in form.
  • your student id number if you are a student at Kingston University or St Mary's University
  • your Student certificate for Council Tax (often found in your registration pack) if you are a student at any other university. You’ll need to provide details of your place of study and course details, including your start and end date and student ID number.
  • If you’re a landlord you’ll need to provide the name, date of birth and student identification numbers for each student in a property.

Yearly review of your student discount

If you get a student discount, once every year, we will send you a letter asking you to check that you're still entitled to that discount.


You may qualify for a discount if you're employed to learn a trade or a profession and you meet all of the following conditions:

  • you aren't paid more than £195 a week
  • your salary is substantially less than you'd get once you're qualified
  • your training programme leads to a qualification accredited by the National Council for Vocational Qualifications or the Scottish Vocational Education Council.

Return the completed application form to the address on the form. You must include a copy of your latest payslip and a letter from your employer confirming that you fulfil the listed criteria

The student discount amount on your property will be:

  • a student exemption (100% discount) if all residents are students
  • a 50% discount if all residents are apprentices
  • a 50% discount if all residents are disregarded, but some of them are not students
  • a 25% discount if all but one of the residents are disregarded

What happens next?

We’ll check the details you have provided and we may get in touch with your place of study to confirm your course details.

We aim to respond to you within 10 working days with our decision. But if we need further information from you this may delay the application.

Last Modified: 27/07/2022 16:31:08