Students: worried about mounting debts?

It’s the end of the university year, and TV Licensing is reminding students that they may be eligible for a refund if they no longer need their TV Licence.

Many students moving back home for the summer from halls of residence or shared flats and houses will no longer need their TV Licence. If this is the case and there are three full calendar months before the licence expires, they are entitled to a refund for the unused quarter.  A licence bought in October 2009 cost £142.50 so the refund totals £35.62.  

Abigail Forbes, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said:

“Many students now leave university with high debts. Therefore, every little helps, including a refund on your TV Licence. As long as you purchased your TV Licence in October 2009, and you don’t need it for July, August and September, you could be eligible for some cash back.

To arrange your refund, or for further information, simply complete an online form at or call us on 0300 790 6090. Our advice is to always make sure you get your licence by the end of October so that you qualify for a refund at the end of the academic year.”

If you watch or record TV programmes as they are being shown on TV, you need to be covered by a TV Licence. Viewing television without a licence risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. A colour TV Licence currently costs £145.50.

Ben Whittaker, NUS Vice President (Welfare) said:

“For any students who won’t be staying at university over the summer, this is a great opportunity to save some much needed cash. We fully support TV Licensing’s campaign to raise awareness of television licensing requirements amongst students. It is important for students to be aware of the law, so they avoid risking a prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”


For further information please contact the TV Licensing Press Office on 020 7544 3144.

Notes to editors

TV Licensing, students and the law

When do you need a TV Licence?

Your parents’ TV Licence will not cover you away from home.   Anyone without a valid TV Licence who watches or records television programmes on any channel (including terrestrial, satellite, cable or digital television channels) as they are shown on TV, risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1000.

  • If you live in halls of residence and use a TV in your own room, you need your own separate TV Licence.
  • You also need your own licence if you are sharing a house with other students and use a TV in your room, and your room is a separately occupied place (a separate tenancy agreement would normally indicate that this is the case).
  • If you have a separate tenancy agreement but a television is only being used in a communal area, then only one licence is required.
  • If you are sharing a house with other students and you use a TV in your own room, but the house can be treated as one place shared by all, then only one TV Licence is required (a joint tenancy agreement would usually be evidence that the house is a single licensable place for this purpose).

Costs and refunds

A TV Licence currently costs £145.50, and a black and white licence is £49.  These fees increased from £142.50 for a colour licence and £48 for a black and white licence, on 1 April 2010.  

Most students would need to buy a TV Licence at the beginning of term in October in order to allow enough time at the end of the year to qualify for a refund.

The refund on a TV Licence bought after April 2009 will be £35.62.

To arrange your refund, or for further information, simply visit where you can complete an online form, or call us on 0300 790 6113.

Please note: A TV set powered by its own internal batteries - a pocket sized TV or a mobile phone for example - may be covered by a licence at the student’s parents' address.  However, you must not install the device (plug it into the mains) when using it to receive television. If there is no TV Licence at your parents’ address, you will need to obtain one to watch TV.

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