University students and the TV Licence

Whether you’re a university student, a parent or you provide student accommodation, find out when a TV Licence is needed and how much it costs.

 Most students need a TV Licence

Most students need a TV Licence

From the day you start watching TV at uni you need a TV Licence. By law you need a licence to:

  • watch or record TV on any channel (e.g. ITV, 4, Dave, BBC Two, Sky One)
  • watch TV live on any streaming service (e.g. ITV Hub, Amazon Prime Video, Now, All 4, YouTube, Sky Go)
  • watch BBC iPlayer*

On any TV service. On any device.

Choose how you pay

A standard TV Licence costs £159 and you can pay in a way that suits you.

There are 3 ways to pay

Once a year

Pay in one go
£159 per year
Pay by debit/credit card or annual
Direct Debit

Once every 3 months

It costs a little more but might be
more convenient
£41 per quarter (including £1.25 charge)
Direct Debit.

Once a month

Paying monthly spreads the cost
Around £26.50 monthly for first 6 months, then £13.25 per month
Direct Debit.

Only staying at uni for the academic year?

If you spend some of the calendar year away from uni, you can usually claim a refund for any unused full months. Which could come in very handy.

For example – You choose to pay in one go for your TV Licence and use it for 9 months (during the academic year). When the academic year finishes you leave your accommodation and no longer need a TV Licence. You could then claim for a refund of up to 25% of the TV Licence cost.

Find out more

Wherever you live, you’ll probably need a licence

A halls licence won’t cover your room and it’s very likely you will need your own licence. See why.

Think you might not need a licence?

Before telling us you don’t need a TV Licence, make sure, using our checklist.

Don’t risk a £1,000 fine

If we find you’ve been watching or recording TV live on any channel or service, or BBC iPlayer, without a licence, you could be fined up to £1,000 plus costs and even receive a criminal conviction.

† The maximum fine in Guernsey is £2,000.

Halls? Flatshare? Check you’re covered

If you live in halls you still need a TV Licence to watch TV in your room. And if you live in a house or flat share with a separate tenancy agreement, you’ll need your own TV Licence too. A joint tenancy is usually covered by one licence for the whole property.

You’ll only be covered by your parents’ licence if:

  • Your out-of-term address (parents’ address) is covered by a TV Licence
  • you only use TV receiving equipment that is powered solely by its own internal batteries
  • you have not connected it to an aerial or plugged it into the mains.

Check whether you need a licence

We do make visits to confirm that a licence isn’t needed so use this checklist before completing a ‘No Licence Needed’ declaration.

You (and anyone else in your household) need a TV Licence if you:

  • Watch or record TV on any channel
  • Watch TV live on any streaming service (e.g. ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Sky Go)
  • Watch BBC iPlayer*

This applies to any device you use, e.g. a TV, laptop, desktop computer, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

Tell us if you don’t need a TV Licence.

* Watching S4C on demand doesn’t require a TV Licence.

Need some more help?

Watch our short guide on when you need a TV Licence at university.


Advice for Students - English (PDF 1500 Kb opens in a new window)

Advice for Students - Welsh (PDF 1500 Kb opens in a new window)

Still have questions?

Do students receive a discount?

There is no separate student TV Licence or a student discount. But if you don’t need your licence for the full 12 months, you can apply for a refund for any unused months.

How do I ask for a refund?

If you are going home for the summer – and won’t need the licence you bought to cover you in term time – you may be able to get a refund. Please note, you may need to provide evidence that supports your request, like the confirmation of attendance at college/university and the term dates.

Find out if you’re eligible for a refund.

What if I move?

Your licence won’t automatically move with you. Once you know where you’re moving to, and when, update your details to stay covered.

More help and advice about moving house.

What support do you offer halls managers?

Our collection of resources for halls managers includes imagery in handy formats to print and display in communal areas or for use in your emails, websites or social media.

I let to students. What do I need to know?

We offer detailed information and advice for residential landlords.


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