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Graduating from DMU

This page has some useful information for final year students who are about to graduate from their course. If you do have any questions about the information on this page or generally about your finances after finishing your course, please contact Student Finance and Welfare on sfw@dmu.ac.uk, or telephone on (0116) 257 7595 (option 3).

Leaving your accommodation—finding somewhere new

Even if you do not move immediately after finishing your studies, it is likely that you will do so in the next year. You will need to consider the cost of moving. Deposits and advance rent for a room in a shared house in the southern counties or in London, for example, can be extremely high. Talk to your bank in good time about this major cost. Don't forget, you will become liable to pay council tax.

Benefits and Council Tax

You have probably been ineligible for state benefits during your course. Usually only those students who have a disability or who have dependents can claim these benefits.

From the day that your course ends, you become eligible once again for state benefits. You also become liable for Council Tax. If you have not arranged employment beginning immediately after the end of your course, you must contact Jobcentre Plus in order to claim benefits—most likely Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) although Universal Credit has been introduced in some areas. If your claim is successful, you will also be entitled to Housing Benefit (if you pay rent) and Council Tax Benefit. Even if the gap between the end of your course and the start of your job is only short, this is worth pursuing.  

Remember the government has introduced Local Housing Allowance (LHA) which caps the amount paid. If you are single and under 35 you are only allowed to claim LHA for a room in shared accommodation.  In Leicester the weekly LHA is £59 (April 2014). If your rent is more than this you will have to pay the difference.

In Leicester you now have to pay at least 20% of your council tax bill even if you are claiming benefits. This is about £200 a year for a band A property.

Income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)

JSA Weekly Amounts
 Age Weekly Amount
 18 to 24  £57.90
 25 or over  £73.10
 Couples (both aged over 18)  £114.85

How to claim

You can claim Job Seekers Allowance online here.

You’ll get a text or phone call within 2 working days to arrange a JSA interview at your local Jobcentre Plus.

If you can’t apply online, telephone: 0800 055 6688.  If you have recently made a claim for Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseekers' Allowance then there is no need for you to make a claim for Housing Benefit as the Jobcentre Plus will send a your claim on your behalf.

Paying back your student loans

You will become liable to start repaying your loans in the April after you have graduated or left your course. The amount you repay will be linked to your income. You will be expected to repay 9% of your annual income over a threshold of £21,000 per year.

Repayments are deducted at source by your employer or through the tax self-assessment system for those who are self-employed. Interest on the amount that you owe will be linked to inflation – in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) – so the value of the amount you pay back will be broadly the same in real terms as the value of the amount you borrowed. You will not be expected to make any repayments if you are unemployed or if your income is below the threshold set by government.

Bank Overdrafts

Many students will have an overdraft at the end of their course. Banks offering student packages will also offer extended facilities for graduating students. You should contact your bank now to find out how they can help you as you move from study into the workplace. Your student adviser can give you information about when your overdraft will begin to incur charges, graduate bank accounts, graduate loans and how to manage the relatively large amounts of money that you may be earning as a graduate.

Contacts

Leicester City Council
Customer Service Centre
91 Granby Street
Leicester
LE1 6FB

T: 0116 454 1006

W: leicester.gov.uk/housingbenefit

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday: 8.30am – 5pm
Wednesdays: 9.30am – 5pm
Fridays: 8.30am – 4.30pm

The council’s welfare rights service can also provide personalised advice. They are open on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, between 1pm and 4pm. You can contact them on 0116 454 5570.

 

 
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