Final year students and graduates
An overview of what happens with your student loan, Council Tax, bank accounts and other financial issues when you graduate.
If you are in your final year at UWE Bristol, we are here to support you with your finances and help you to manage your money.
Student loans - repayments
If you have taken out a loan from Student Finance then the Student Loans Company will expect you to start repaying from the April after you complete (or leave) your course. Repayment will be taken directly from your salary.
If you are earning less than the set level before any deductions (tax or national insurance contributions), you will not be liable to repay and if you are unemployed you will not be required to repay. The income threshold at which repayments will start to be taken depends on when you took out the student loan.
If you are earning more than the set threshold, repayments will be collected directly from your wages by HM Revenue and Customs before you receive them. The repayments are 9% of income over the threshold.
You can view up-to-date details on income thresholds and repayments via the SLC's loan repayment information.
If you are living and working abroad next April, a different threshold may apply meaning your repayment amounts will differ to those earning in the UK. If you are studying, travelling or volunteering and therefore not earning then you will not need to repay.
You need to inform the SLC about your situation and how much you are earning (or not) through an Overseas Income Assessment Form so the correct repayment can be calculated. You also need to keep the SLC informed of any changes to your circumstances. Further details can be found on the Save the Student website.
The exact amount you need to repay depends on when you took out the loan.
If you are living abroad next April, you will need to contact the SLC to arrange payments directly or complete a deferral form. A different threshold may apply if you work in a country outside the UK.
The student council tax exemption ends on the last day of the last term of study. If your academic year started in September, your Council Tax exemption will end on the last day of June, or the last day of your placement. You should notify your local authority immediately and an amended bill will be issued.
After you complete your studies and move out of student accommodation, the following council tax eligibility applies:
- If just one of the tenants is a non-student, there will be a 75% Council Tax charge payable.
- If two or more tenants are non-students, there will be a 100% Council Tax charge payable.
Living in a shared house
If you live in a shared household where each tenant has their own individual tenancy agreement, this is classed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), and liability for Council Tax should be in the landlord’s name. You will need to notify your landlord that you are no longer a student, and they are then responsible for liaising with the local authority.
If you live with a partner who is a non-student and have been receiving the 25% reduction whilst you were studying, this reduction will be removed when you cease to be a student and an 100% Council Tax charge will be made.
If you live alone and have been exempt from Council Tax whilst studying, a new bill will be issued with a 75% charge which includes the single occupancy discount.
If you claim and receive benefits at the end of term, you will be entitled to Council Tax reduction to cover some or all of your share of the bill. For more information read the student Council Tax FAQs.
You may be eligible to apply for an interest-free graduate bank account after you have graduated. Some banks will allow you to switch your current student account to a graduate one, although it may be worth shopping around for the best deals at other banks.
Always remember that going over your overdraft limit can be disastrous, making managing your money as a graduate even harder and more stressful. Some banks charge up to £15 per transaction, add a daily charge and also interest for those going over the agreed limit. This will just add to your debt and money worries. Keep in mind the budgeting tips learnt as a student, as these will be invaluable to apply throughout your life!
Some banks offer graduate loans to clear debt, but you need to carefully consider your financial situation before committing to monthly repayments. If you are on a low income you may struggle to meet the repayments. It may be wise to stick to a graduate bank account and gradually repay the overdraft.
Prescriptions are free or reduced for full-time students. If you are in receipt of certain benefits after you have graduated then the reduction remains. See the NHS guidance on help with health costs.
Refund of overpaid tax
If you have worked part-time during your studies, you may have paid too much tax. This can happen if you work for two employers at the same time, if you don’t provide your National Insurance number or a P45 when you start work, or if your employer has put you on the emergency tax code.
If you have earned less than the current year tax allowance, you may be entitled to a refund. You can also apply for a tax refund for previous years. To apply, you will need to request a refund in writing, enclosing P45s or wage slips, to the appropriate tax office.
You can view information on tax thresholds and claiming a refund of overpaid tax on the Gov.uk website.
Claiming benefits - UK and EU residents
The benefit system is complicated and the information below is just an overview.
A new benefit called Universal Credit is being introduced to replace many of the existing welfare benefits. Where you live in the UK and your personal circumstances will determine whether you need to apply for Universal Credit or the pre-existing benefits. You can view further details of Universal Credits on the Gov.uk website.
If you are not required to claim Universal Credit then you may be eligible for the pre-existing benefits:
- Jobseeker's Allowance
- Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax reduction.
The following websites give further information and advice on welfare benefits: