Universal Credit: All You Need to Know

Universal Credit is a payment available to most Home/EU residents who are unemployed or working part-time, aiming to help with living costs.

Who is eligible for Universal Credit?

Full-time students are not eligible for Universal Credit. However, most prospective postgraduate UK/EU students are eligible until their course begins.

If you have applied for postgraduate studies starting in September and are currently not studying during the summer, you are probably eligible for Universal Credit. If you’re struggling financially, we strongly recommend you check your eligibility. You can do this using a benefit calculator.

Although the first payment will be after five weeks, you can usually ask for a cash advance. You may also be eligible for assistance with your rent and council tax.

How to apply for Universal Credit

Applying for Universal Credit has become much simpler and is currently being handled fully remotely. This means that you will only have phone appointments regarding your claim and most of the process will be online. 

However, keep in mind that you will be expected to show that you’re looking for work until your course begins. This will be done through an online journal where you have to log what you’ve done to look for work. You will also be assigned an advisor who can help you to look for work if you need guidance. We recommend that you also make use of the University’s Careers resources.

You will need your bank details and National Insurance number. If you find filling out forms overwhelming, the Citizens Advice Bureau is great and can do it with you or for you.

You can always get financial advice by emailing moneymatters@royalholloway.ac.uk or calling + 44 (0) 1784 276109 / + 44 (0) 1784 414633. You can also find advice and tips on their ‘Managing Your Money’ page. 

Further support

We appreciate the volume of information being sent your way could be quite overwhelming, so we've created a Coronavirus Hub to give you quick links to key advice, guidance, and our latest news updates. With dedicated pages for housingacademic, and welfare advice, as well as links to government advice and College FAQs, it's your one-stop shop for all the vital information during this time.

The Advice Centre is a free, independent and confidential service for all students here at Royal Holloway. Our friendly, experienced and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll point you in the right direction.

Email us at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk with any questions or to ask for a phone appointment