Tuition Fees

While on placement, you still have to pay course fees. These fees vary depending on when you started your course.  In the academic year 19/20 if you started your course before 2012 then Plymouth University will charge you £750, if you started after 2012 then the fee is £900*. You will need to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan in the usual way through Student Finance


Maintenance Loans

During your placement year, you are normally only eligible for a Reduced Rate Student Loan. This is regardless of whether your placement is paid or unpaid. This loan is not means-tested and will be paid to you in three instalments. In the 2019/20 academic year, for example, the loan is £2,031 if you live with parents and £2,709 if you live elsewhere.


Funding for living costs for students on unpaid placements

Students undertaking certain specified unpaid placements may be eligible for additional financial support, including full Student Loans and associated grants, provided the placement meets one of the following criteria: These are:

  • Service with Local Authority in UK which is related to the health, welfare or care of children/young persons, or similar activities in voluntary organisations in the UK
  • Service in a hospital/public health laboratory in UK
  • Service in prison, probation, or aftercare service in UK
  • Research in a UK/overseas institution, this must be a Higher Education institution.  The general rule is that it must be research in your own right rather than on behalf of someone else.
  • Service with a health authority in England and Wales or equivalent in Scotland or Northern Ireland


Erasmus Year

University of Plymouth participates in the European Union’s Erasmus scheme which encourages students to undertake placements in other participating European countries. 

Home/EU undergraduates who take part in this scheme are eligible for a mobility grant which can contribute towards the extra costs of living abroad. The countries which will participate in the Erasmus programme 2019/20 are:

Austria | Belgium | Bulgaria | Cyprus | Czech Republic Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Iceland | Hungary | Ireland | Italy | Latvia | Liechtenstein | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malta | Netherlands | Norway | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain | Sweden | Turkey | Croatia | Switzerland |Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

If you are not sure if you qualify for Erasmus funding, contact ISAS (International Student Advisory Service):

You have to apply to participate in the Erasmus scheme but the funding position is often not confirmed until shortly before you are due to start your placement.  If you would normally receive funding from Student Finance, you can apply to them for your usual funding of a Tuition Fee Loan, Maintenance Loan and or Maintenance Grant.

Impact of Brexit on Erasmus Funding

Should the UK leave the EU without an agreed deal on 29 March 2019, only Erasmus funding agreed before that date will be honoured.  More information can be found here: 


Welfare Benefits

In previous years, students aged over 25 and on a paid placement year as part of their studies may have qualified for Working Tax Credits. If you are already in receipt of this benefit, you may be able to continue to receive it.  However, if you live in a Universal Credit full service area then no new applications can be made for Working Tax Credits, instead you must make an application for Universal Credit.  The eligibility criteria for child care under Universal Credit differ from Working Tax Credits and we would encourage you to contact us for more information.


Funding for students with dependants while on placement

Students with children or an adult dependant are not eligible for grants for their dependants during their placement year – unless they are on one of the placements as specified as ‘unpaid service’ – see above for details.

Students with children may be able to get the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit during their placement year. To qualify lone parents must be working 16 hours per week or more. If you are part of a couple you must both be working 16 hours per week or more unless one of you is incapacitated.


Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)

During placement years, you are not normally eligible for DSA. This means it is very important that you ensure you have all the necessary equipment you require prior to starting a placement year. You may be eligible for Access to Work and should speak to your employer about this.


Council Tax

You are still regarded as a full-time student even when on placement.  This means you are exempt from Council Tax.


Income Tax

Everyone, including students on placement, have to pay income tax once their income exceeds the earnings threshold.

For 2019/20, the threshold is £12,500.  Some employers may pay you a bursary or other allowance which is free of income tax.


Page last updated: July 2019