Student life can sometimes be challenging, with research showing that many students struggle financially. So it’s important to know what things students can get for free, to help with the cost of living. Some students are still unaware about whether university students pay for prescriptions, so we want to make sure everyone is informed. Find out more about paying for prescriptions as a student, and when there are financial reductions available.

Do university students pay for prescriptions?

If you are aged between 16 and 18 years old and are in full-time education, then you’re automatically exempt. For those aged 19 and over, such as the majority of university students, this is not the case unfortunately. This has changed since 1st April 2021, where many people who were formerly exempt are no longer. As university is not considered “mandatory” education, university students in England are still required to pay for NHS prescriptions. However, students in the UK outside of England can get free prescriptions if they are registered with a GP.

In some cases, medical conditions may allow you to be exempt, which is the same for the non-student general population.

What medical conditions qualify for free prescriptions?

According to the NHS, some people would be eligible to get a free prescription. Some of the criteria most applicable to students are as follows:

  • pregnancy or having had a baby in the last 12 months. In this case you would need a MatEx (maternity exemption) form, which you can get from your midwife or GP.
  • a medical condition or ongoing physical disability that allows the person to have a MedEx (medical exemption) certificate.
  • being an NHS inpatient

You can find out more about these on the NHS website.

some students can get free prescriptions
Source: Canva

Do students get free prescriptions if they have low income?

Another way that students may be eligible to have free prescriptions is if you are on income support or universal credit. To see if you can apply for these, take a look at the government website.

If you have low income, you may be able to get support with prescriptions through the NHS Low Income Scheme. To do this, you need to fill in a HC1 form, which you can get from NHS hospitals or Jobcentre Plus offices, online, or by calling 0300 123 0849. Then you would get a HC2 certificate, usually within 4 weeks.

Under the NHS Low Income Scheme, you would entitled to prescriptions, dental treatment, sight tests and more. This may either be partial or full help with costs.

How much do prescriptions cost for students?

The cost of a prescription in the UK is £9.35 per item. This is the same for students who are not on any sort of low income scheme or have any of the exemptions discussed above.

It’s important to know what perks students get, as well as what you have to pay for – whether that’s paying for prescriptions or paying for the dentist. Make sure to factor these into your budgeting so you don’t get caught off-guard when fresher’s flu hits you up.

You should also check out what allowances you might get, such as how much DSA will pay for a laptop.

Last Updated on March 19, 2024