There’s a lot to think about when you get to university; how will you decorate your room? What will your flatmates be like? Where are the best places for brunch? Best nights out? The list goes on! Probably at the very bottom of your list of exciting things to look forward to is whether or not you need to purchase a TV licence! The cost of a TV license is certainly a low on the priority list, but luckily, it’s really easy to sort out – and unfortunately something that you need to resolve in order to continue to binge all of the films, shows, and soaps that you have grown to love.

Do you really need a TV license at university?

We went straight to the source, and according to the TV Licensing website, the law says you need to be covered by a TV Licence to:

> Watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV, on any channel

> Watch or stream programmes live on an online TV service (ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Sky Go, etc.)

> Download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer

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

Essentially, if you plan on watching any live tv, or any shows on BBC iPlayer, on any device, you will need one. It is important to note, however, that a TV licence is not required for paid-for streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV, or Now TV, when watching pre-recorded shows (i.e not live television such as sports). This is ideal for many students who just want to catch up on the latest Netflix show. However, if you want to watch Eastenders in the evening then a TV licence will be needed.

How much does a TV license cost for students?

The good news is that if you do need a TV licence, they’re not too expensive. A standard TV Licence costs £159 and you can pay in a way that suits you, either all in one go (to get it over and done with) or by a monthly payment of £26.50 for the first 6 months followed by £13.25 for the last 6 months. Or, if you wish to, you can pay once every 3 months. It costs a little more overall but this option offers you the flexibility to pay close to the times your student loan will arrive. Payments can be made by direct debit or you can pay annually with a debit or credit card. Simply visit the TV licensing website to purchase a new license or renew.

Can you get student discount on a TV license?

Unfortunately, there is no student discount for TV licence payments and students are required to pay the full amount yearly if they wish to use the services it provides. However, you only live in your student halls or student house for a percentage of the year, so the good news is that you might be eligible for a refund for the time you are not using your licence! Go to the dedicated student page on TV Licensing for your next steps and follow this link for instructions on how to claim a refund.

Do you need a licence for uni halls or shared accommodation? 

TV’s in communal areas of your student accommodation will usually be covered by the building owners. You can check with the on-site teams on your campus or at your private shared accommodation for more information on this. If you choose to watch live television services or programmes on the BBC iPlayer in your room on any device, you will need your own license. If you’re living in a shared house covered by a joint tenancy agreement (the most common contact students are on when living in student housing) then you will most likely need a license for the house. You can always check with your landlord if you are unsure!

At Collegiate, we work to bring you practical advice, guides and inspiration to help you get off to a great start to life at university. We hope you found this guide useful and be sure to check out our other great blogs for more helpful information and top tips on studying and careers as well as making the most of life at university!