While on placement, you still have to pay course fees. These fees vary depending on when you started your course. In the academic year 2023/24 the fee is £1850. You will need to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan in the usual way through Student Finance www.gov.uk/student-finance.
During your placement year, you are normally only eligible for a Reduced Rate 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 2023/24 academic year the loan is £2267 if you live with parents and £3022 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:
Unpaid service in a hospital or in a public health service laboratory or with a clinical commissioning group in the UK
Unpaid service with a local authority in the UK acting in the exercise of its functions relating to the care of children and young persons, health or welfare, or with a voluntary organisation providing facilities or carrying out activities of a like nature in the UK
Unpaid service with a local authority acting in the exercise of public health functions in the UK
Unpaid service in the prison or probation and aftercare service in the UK
Unpaid research in a UK institution or, in the case of a student attending an overseas institution as a part of their course in an overseas institution
Unpaid service with a Special Health Authority, the NHS Commissioning Board, the National Institute for Care and Excellence, the Health and Social Care Information Centre, a Local Health Board, a Health Board or a Special Health Board in Scotland, or a Health and Social Services Board in Northern Ireland
Unpaid service in the UK Parliament
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 childcare 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.
You are still regarded as a full-time student even when on placement. This means you are exempt from Council Tax.
Everyone, including students on placement, must pay income tax once their income exceeds the earnings threshold.
For 2023/24, the threshold is £12,570. Some employers may pay you a bursary or other allowance which is free of income tax.
Updated March 2023