Be money smart

DMU have teamed up with financial education specialists Blackbullion

Blackbullion is a learning platform created to help you get to grips with all things money-related. It’s filled with videos, graphics, and quizzes covering financial subjects, designed to empower you to make more informed financial decisions.


Register for free

Pathways available include a 21-Day Money Bootcamp, International Students, Starting University, Savings, Budgeting, Debt, Risk Management.

60% of students felt more in control of their finances after using Blackbullion 

Please note that information about the online learning pathways you have undertaken and the scores achieved, will be visible to certain staff in the University, who will use this data to monitor the use of Blackbullion to help inform our financial capability work within the University. You can find information about data held and processed by Blackbullion in the Blackbullion Privacy Notice.

Hidden costs of going to university

It can be difficult to anticipate every expense you will encounter during your time at university, but being prepared for some of the unexpected costs involved is a good way of keeping your spending in check. Get ahead by incorporating these into your budget - watch our video and expand the drop-down links below the video for more information on hidden costs.


  1. Parental contributions

    The amount of the SFE Maintenance Loan you receive is based on parental/household income if you request the maximum amount. This means that if you apply for the maximum Maintenance Loan, it will be calculated on how much your parents/partner earn. If you get less than the maximum Maintenance Loan, your parents/partner are expected to make up the shortfall. SFE should state any shortfall on entitlement letters from 2022/23 onwards.

  2. Rent deposit for your first student accommodation

    Before you even receive your student funding, you will need to pay a deposit to secure a rental property and you might also be expected to pay the first rent instalment before you move in. This could be as soon as you secure your accommodation or just before you move in, to release the keys. Please check housing websites and rental contracts very carefully to check what you need to pay and when. Don't sign up for a tenancy agreement if you are not sure what funding you will get - once you sign a tenancy agreement, you are liable for the rent for the whole length of the contract.

  3. TV licence

    If you are watching, streaming or recording live television programmes, you will need a TV licence. Check your housing contract. The TV Licensing website has more information.

  4. Course costs

    Text books and equipment can be very expensive. Do your research and make sure you budget accordingly. You might be able to borrow the books you need from the DMU Library, but they might already be on loan to other students. You can buy second-hand text books online or from other students.

    Save The Student has some other ideas on how to save money on course costs.

  5. Student contents insurance

    We strongly recommended you take out student contents insurance to cover your valuable items against damage and theft. You could check your parents' policy first to see if you are covered, as some policies might provide cover even though you are living elsewhere. Endsleigh Insurance is recommended by the NUS.

  6. Food costs

    Homemade food is not only healthier but so much cheaper. Taking a packed lunch to campus every day will save you so much money over an academic year. Learn how to cook and say goodbye to those expensive takeaways!

  7. Childcare grant

    The Childcare Grant from Student Finance England only pays for 85% of childcare costs. This means you will need to pay the remaining 15% yourself. Check our DMU Support Fund to see if you are eligible to apply for help with a contribution to the shortfall.

  8. Council Tax

    If your household are all full-time students, you will not need to pay Council Tax, however if you live with a non-student adult, the Council Tax bill will only be reduced by 25%. Make sure you discuss this with your household to establish a fair split of the bill. The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group website has more information.

    If you’re a full-time student, you can download a Council Tax Exemption Certificate from the My Documents tile on My DMU. Follow the guidance to find out how.

  9. Utility bills

    Are you concerned about the rising cost of energy bills? Check out the latest information we have compiled on Household bills.

    If you are moving into a private, shared student house or flat, think about splitting the utility bills between housemates. This will mean that you are each responsible for a bill, rather than just one person having all the bills in one name only, because if any of the tenants move out part way through the tenancy, they could leave you lumbered with their share of the bills!

    When renting, you are to switch utility provider if you pay the energy company directly (rather than your landlord) but do check your tenancy agreement – some contracts ban switching. There are various price comparison sites that you can try BUT be aware that the current advice is not to switch due to the price cap:

  10. Income Tax

    Students are taxed just like anyone else. If you earn less than £12,570 a year, you shouldn't pay any tax so check your payslips. The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group website has more information.

  11. Rent deposit and summer retainer for next academic year

    When securing your accommodation for the next academic year, letting agents and landlords will usually require a deposit and possibly a summer retainer too. You will need to budget for this cost from your current academic year’s funding.