Preparing financially for graduating

You are normally no longer considered a student for financial and taxation purposes once the expected end date for your course passes rather than the date of your graduation.  No longer being classed as a student can have an impact on lots of areas of your finances.

Council tax

Council tax exemption ends once you reach the official end date of your course, you are then liable to pay council tax for the property you reside in. This is the case, even if you are due to move out in a few weeks. Make sure you contact your local council authority to let them know you are no longer a full-time student as you could face a fine and be made to pay back-dated bills.

Bank accounts 

Your student account will, more often than not, be changed to a graduate account once you have finished your course. This will generally be done automatically as banking providers ask for confirmation of your course details when you set up your student account. Most banks offer the same, or similar, benefits that your student account offered such as your 0% overdraft. Each banking provider will have different terms and conditions for their graduate account, so make sure to look on their website or contact them directly to find out.

Overdrafts will have to be paid back within the term of the graduate account your bank offers, so make sure you pay this back, or you’ll be charged for using the facility. Shop around for the best graduate account for your needs and make sure your account works for you.


You may need to claim Universal Credit once you are no longer a student whilst you seek employment or wait to start further study. A claim can be made from the day after your official course end date. Universal Credit has replaced all legacy benefits (working tax credits, housing benefits, income support etc.)

Once you have applied, you will generally have to wait 5 weeks before you receive your first payment. You will be able to apply for an ‘advanced payment’ if you are in need of immediate financial assistance, however, you should be aware that this will then be paid back through monthly deductions.

Payments for Universal Credit are made monthly, although in Scotland you can ask for it to be paid twice a month. The rates are different depending on your age, 18-24 receive a lower standard rate and those 25 and over will receive a higher standard rate. If you live with a partner, you will be required to make a joint claim (you will both get your own allowance)

Universal Credit is an income assessed benefit, and therefore if you (or your partner) do work, your monthly wages will affect the amount you are eligible to receive. If you’re not responsible for a child or have a health condition your Universal Credit will be reduced by a certain percentage for every £1 you earn.

There are a number of other allowances that you may be eligible to receive depending on your circumstances. It is recommended that you check's information on Universal Credit or the Citizens Advice webpage for further information on applying for Universal Credit and to make sure you are claiming for everything you are eligible for.

Repaying your maintenance and tuition fee loans

The amount you pay back each month will depend on which funding body provided you with your loan package and how much you earn each month. If you have been funded by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) we advise checking the website or the Students Loan Company section on the website if funded by Student Finance England, Wales or Northern Ireland to learn more about your repayment plan and how much you’ll be expected to pay. It will usually be taken directly from your salary, so check your payslip for deductions.