Frequently asked questions: new starters and returning students

We have put together some of the questions you may have in connection with starting/ returning to university.

Funding your studies through Student Finance England (SFE)

The following information relates to students living in England. If you are from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland and have a query relating to your student funding, please book a 15-minute Quick Query with us.

 

How and when do I apply to SFE?

This short video will guide you through the SFE application process. It’s easier and quicker to apply to SFE online .

When will I receive my Maintenance Loan?

The Maintenance Loan is paid to you, into your bank account, in three instalments. For September start students this is usually at the start of every term: October, January, March/April (depending on when Easter falls). If you started your course in January or March, your payment dates will vary.

This video explains how you get paid.

If you are a new student, the University will need to confirm your registration with SFE for you to receive your Maintenance Loan. We send this electronically to SFE once you are finally registered on your course. Your Maintenance Loan payment should be in your bank account 3–5 working days from the date DMU confirm your registration.

If you are a current student, your registration will be confirmed automatically.

If you’re not sure when your Maintenance Loan will be paid check your SFE Payment Schedule letter or log-in to your SFE online account.

I’m only receiving the minimum Maintenance Loan, why is this?

SFE calculate your Maintenance Loan based on your parents'/partner's household income. You may only be receiving the minimum Maintenance Loan because SFE haven’t checked your household income yet. If your parents/partner needs to supply their household income, the information they need can be found using the following link. 

If you believe that SFE have assessed your parents’/partner’s income incorrectly. Please book a Money Doctor appointment with us.

If you’ve supported yourself financially for at least 3 years or had no contact with your parents for over a year, you might be able to apply as an independent student. If you would like support with applying for and evidencing independent status, please contact our Transitions Team. 

I haven't received my Maintenance Loan, what shall I do?

It’s best to check your online SFE account first.

Once you’ve logged onto your SFE account, you’ll see a ‘My Account’ page.

  • Select ‘Your Finance’ – this is where you’ll find the option to see your payments
  • Click on ‘Academic Year 2020/21’ under ‘View Your Payments’
  • Scroll down to Maintenance Loan
  • It will tell you the status of your Maintenance Loan (for example: it may say ‘Blocked’)
  • If you need to do anything, it will be listed on ‘Your To-Do List.’

If you’re unable to access your SFE account online or are unsure about what you need to do next, please contact SFE by telephoning: 0300 100 0607.

If you have contacted SFE and there are things you’re unsure of, please book a 30-minute Money Doctor appointment with us.

I need help with student funding (e.g. funding is delayed) can someone ring SFE for me?

We can ring SFE with you during an appointment. Please book a 30-minute Money Doctor appointment with us, so that we can find out what’s causing the delay and how long it will take to sort the problem out.

If you’re unable to attend an appointment, you can set-up consent-to-share so that we can telephone SFE on your behalf.

To set-up consent-to-share, please telephone SFE: 0300 100 0607 and ask to set-up 'consent-to-share'. SFE will ask you to provide the following information:

  • Name of university: De Montfort University
  • Address: The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH
  • Relationship: HEI Adviser
  • Password: Welfare.

Once you have set-up consent-to-share, please email sfw@dmu.ac.uk to let us know. When you email us, tell us:

  • your DMU student number (P number)
  • your SFE Customer Reference Number (CRN is 11 digits)
  • what you’d like help with
  • confirm that consent-to-share has been set-up.

We will contact you when we have spoken to SFE on your behalf. It may take up to five working days for us to do this.

My parents won’t provide their household income, what shall I do?

It’s important that parents do provide household income, as this means that SFE can assess you correctly and provide you with the maximum Maintenance Loan available to you.

If you are estranged from your parents, you may be able to apply to SFE for independent status. Our Transitions Team can offer advice and support on the application process.

If you don’t feel that you qualify for independent status, please book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment, so that we can advise you further.

SFE haven’t calculated the household income correctly, can you help?

If you believe that SFE haven’t assessed your household income correctly, check with your parents/ partner first. When SFE assess household income, they assess from the previous tax year (i.e. if you’re studying in 2020/21, SFE are assessing household income in the tax year 2018/19).

If you still believe there’s a problem, check if you’re eligible for a Current Year Income assessment.

If you’re not sure about the household income calculation or applying for a Current Year Income assessment, please book a 30-minute Money Doctor appointment with us.

I can’t get any funding from SFE, can you help?

There are a number of reasons why students are unable to get funding from SFE. This is usually due the number of years of previous study.

To discuss your options, you will need to book an appointment with us, please email sfw@dmu.ac.uk When you email us, tell us:

  • your DMU student number (P number)
  • the reason(s) why you are unable to secure funding
  • your telephone number so that we can arrange an appointment.

I want to apply for Migrant Worker status, how can I do this?

If you’re an EEA or Swiss national who is living and working in England, you could apply for Migrant Worker status.

You need to apply to SFE and, if successful, you could receive the same student funding package (Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan) as a UK national.

If you have a family member (such as your parent, husband, wife) who is an EEA or Swiss national, and is living and working in England, you may be able to apply to SFE as a family member of a migrant worker.

Migrant Worker status is a complex area and we encourage you to get advice and support. Please email sfw@dmu.ac.uk to book an appointment – when you email us, tell us:

  • your DMU student number (P number)
  • that you’d like to apply for Migrant Worker status
  • your telephone number so that we can arrange an appointment

Please note: EU funding is changing in 2021/22. For the latest information, please check the gov.uk website.

Additional funding and other sources of income

I don’t have any money, what shall I do?

We can go through your finances to ensure you have applied for everything you are entitled to. We can also see if you qualify for any additional financial assistance, including the DMU Support Fund. 

More information on all the financial support we can provide can be found here. 

Student Finance and Welfare offer 15-minute Quick Query appointments, which can be booked on the day, book an appointment via MyGateway .

What is an interest-free student bank account?

Most high street banks offer overdrafts facilities on current accounts, however, they charge for this.

Student bank accounts are different and have an overdraft linked to them, which is usually interest free. This means that you will not pay any interest if you use your arranged overdraft on the account. This can be handy to have for funding delays or any unexpected costs.

Overdraft facilities on accounts usually start at £500 and can increase to £1,500 or more, over the duration of your course.

Save The Student also provides some good advice on choosing the right student bank account for you.

How do I open an interest-free student bank account?

It is often easier to convert a current account you already have, but you can also open a student account with a different bank. You can only open one student account and this is where your student funding should be paid into.

When you apply for a student bank account, the bank will require proof of your identity with a photo, such as a passport or driving licence. They will also need to see proof of address, like a tenancy agreement, or check if they will accept a utility bill. They will require proof that you are a current student. You can download a bank letter from MyDMU. 

Once you graduate you can convert your student account into a Graduate Account. 

Where can I find part-time work?

There are a lot of recruitment agencies based in the centre of Leicester city. Do a Google search, visit them in person, or use the following links: Student jobs in Leicester (Indeed) and Student Job 

Unitemps recruitment agency is based within the Students’ Union building on campus and advertises part-time/ full-time work opportunities, both at DMU and within local business settings.

DMU Works is administered by the Careers Service here at DMU – they also advertise job vacancies on MyGateway. 

It is recommended you work no more than 20 hours alongside your studies.

What extra funding can I apply for?

General information is available on the Scholarships and Bursaries that DMU offer.

Student Finance and Welfare administer the DMU Support Fund as well as the F.E. Learner Support Fund. 

If you are currently being fiancially affected due to Covid-19, please book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment with us.

The Transitions Team are DMU's designated contacts for offering additional support, advice and information to care leavers, estranged students and student carers. They can also see if you qualify for any additional financial assistance. For more information please visits their web pages. 

Can I get extra funding if I have children?

Make sure that you have applied for/ are receiving the additional funding for parents from your funding provider, for example, the Parents' Learning Allowance and the Childcare Grant.

The DMU Support Fund includes a Parent Bursary category and can also help with a contribution towards registered childcare costs.

Can I get help with travel costs?

If you have to travel over 10 miles to campus if you are receiving face-to-face teaching, then you may qualify for the High Travel Costs element of the DMU Support Fund. 

I have additional health costs, what help can I get?

Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) is additional funding on top of your student funding package from Student Finance England. The DSA covers some of the extra costs you have because of a health condition.

The DMU Support Fund can also help with a number of health-related costs including regular prescription costs, as well as costs associated with having a medical condition and help with living costs if you are unable to work some or all of the academic year.

Accommodation

I need to pay a rent deposit, but I don’t have any money. Can you help?

If you are a new student you may be required to make a rent deposit before you start your studies.

DMU is unable to offer financial support with this rent deposit, but can make the following suggestions that may help:

  • speak to your landlord to see if you can delay the payment until you receive your student funding
  • work part-time over the summer
  • apply for a student bank account and arrange an interest-free overdraft (please refer to the other FAQ "What is an interest-freestudent bank account?" under the "Additional Funding and Other Sources of Income" section of this FAQs page)
  • ask family/ friends for support.

For continuing students, you may start looking for accommodation in Term 2. Once you have secured accommodation, you will be asked to make a rent deposit/ retainer. For financial support in paying this deposit, you may want to apply to the DMU Support Fund .

I can’t find a guarantor, what can I do?

A guarantor is someone who agrees to confirm that a tenant has the ability to pay the rent and any damages. They will be held responsible for any rent payments due that are not paid by the tenant.

Without a suitable guarantor some accommodation providers will ask you to pay all of your annual rent in advance.

There are a number of guarantor schemes. Here are a few suggestions:

There may be other guarantor schemes available, have a good search online for other rent guarantor schemes.

If you are assessed by your funding provider as independent due to estrangement from your parents, our Transitions Team. 

I’m finding it difficult to settle/ feeling homesick, what should I do?

Starting university is exciting, but it is a big change and you may find it difficult to settle, or you might at times feel homesick. Don’t feel alone, our Transitions Team can support you. You can contact them by telephone: 0116 257 7825/ 7872 or email transitions@dmu.ac.uk 

#HealthyDMU is providing a masterclass called Positive mindsets and settling into university, where you can discuss ways to develop a positive mindset for the Autumn term and share practical tips for meeting people and getting involved. This masterclass is open to all students and booking is essential via MyGateway. All of the masterclasses on offer are listed here.

I’m having problems with my accommodation, what support can I get?

Difficulties with your accommodation can be very unsettling. Book a Quick Query appointment with us, so that we can discuss your difficulties and advise you further.

I’m not getting on with my housemates, what shall I do?

Difficulties with your housemates can be unsettling. Here are some helpful tips on housemate problems and how to solve them.

If you’re unable to resolve the difficulties you are experiencing, please book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment with us.

My Maintenance Loan doesn't cover my rent, what should I do?

Renting in Leicester can be expensive and sometimes the Maintenance Loan doesn’t cover the full rent. You may wish to consider:

  • checking that you are receiving the full Maintenance Loan
  • securing part-time work
  • opening an interest-free bank account
  • applying to the DMU Support Fund
  • asking family/ friends for support
  • moving to new accommodation 

If you are considering moving to new accommodation, we would encourage you to discuss the process with us. Please book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment with us.

I’m homeless, can you help?

If you have been made homeless, please telephone 0116 252 7595, select option 3, then option 4 and ask to speak to a Welfare Officer.

I can't pay my rent, what should I do?

Renting in Leicester can be expensive and some students find it difficult to pay their rent.

To help pay your rent, you may wish to consider:

  • checking that you are receiving the full Maintenance Loan
  • securing part-time work
  • opening an interest-free bank account
  • applying to the DMU Support Fund 
  • asking family/ friends for support
  • moving to new accommodation that’s cheaper.

If you are considering moving to new accommodation, we would encourage you to discuss the process with us. Please book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment with us.

If you are concerned about how you will pay your rent, please email sfw@dmu.ac.uk When you email us, tell us:

  • your DMU student number (P number)
  • the difficulties you are experiencing
  • your telephone number so that we can contact you to book an appointment.

My landlord is threatening to evict me, can I get any help?

If you are being threatened with eviction please email sfw@dmu.ac.uk  When you email us, tell us:

  • your DMU student number (P number)
  • the difficulties you are experiencing
  • your telephone number so that we can contact you to book an appointment.

If you need help urgently, please telephone: 0116 252 7595, select option 3, then option 4 and ask to speak to a Welfare Officer.

Budgeting

Can I get help to create a budget?

Of course! Please book into one of our Money Doctor appointments via MyGateway. These half hour slots enable the advisor to look at your income and expenditure and devise a bespoke budget plan with you.

Are there any budgeting apps I can use?

Budgeting apps are really useful and there are lots to choose from. We would suggest looking on student specific forums such as Save The Student and Money to the Masses has produced this video on some of the different apps available.

How do I manage on a limited budget?

You can book into one of our Money Doctor appointments via MyGateway. These half hour slots enable the advisor to look at your income and expenditure and devise a bespoke budget plan with you, as well as recommend various money-saving tips to help you further.

Sites like Save The Student have lots of general top tips on managing your budget, as well as how to save money, maximise and increase your income and reduce your expenditure.

I’ve done a budget and have no money left, what can I do?

Start by reviewing your finances. Can you reduce your monthly outgoings or increase your income? You can book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment with us, via MyGateway, if you are still concerned.

How course changes can affect your student funding

I want to transfer to a different course, what do I need to do?

If you’re considering transferring to a different course, speak to your Student Advice Centre who can give you advice on the process for transferring.

A course transfer may affect your student funding, please book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment with us to discuss this further.

I need to repeat a year of study, what do I need to do?

If you’re considering repeating a year of study, speak to your Student Advice Centre. They will be able to advise you about the different repeat options that are available to you.

A repeat year is likely to affect your student funding, as you need to have enough automatic student funding available to you so that you can complete your studies. Automatic funding is based on the length of the course (usually a three-/ four-year degree) plus one year (known as a ‘gift year’). If you do not have enough years of automatic funding entitlement to complete your degree, or have exhausted your entitlement to automatic funding, you will need to consider whether you might be eligible for Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR). This is a request for SFE to consider your individual circumstances to potentially grant extra funding at their discretion. Please read our other FAQ on this page "What do I do if SFE say I’m not eligible for funding this year due to previous study?" for more information.

You can also book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment with us to discuss this further.

What do I do if SFE say I’m not eligible for funding this year due to previous study?

This can be due to SFE counting the number of years entitlement you have for your course and you may have used up your ‘gift year’. However, there are exceptions where SFE might award an extra year of funding if you have previously had to interrupt/ repeat a year and if the reasons were due to a personal situation (such as serious ill health, bereavement, family crisis, mental health issues, caring responsibilities). If this is the case, it may be possible for you to apply to SFE for Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR).

We can support you with this process, but if you would like to apply to SFE for CPR yourself, you can. The following guidelines may help you:

  • make your application to SFE online as normal
  • once you have made your application, send a letter to SFE with supporting evidence, asking for your compelling personal reasons to be considered
  • in your letter, you should include the following details: your name, DOB, Customer Reference Number, and course title/ university name; date(s) of your interruption/ suspension/ withdrawal; an outline of the reasons why you are requesting CPR. You will need to include details of what happened, how it affected your studies (i.e. how they led to you needing to repeat a year, or led to you leaving your course), and how you feel now (i.e. you may have received professional support, which means that you feel able to continue your studies).

If you would like us to offer advice regarding your supporting letter and the evidence you have collated, please email: sfw@dmu.ac.uk – when you email us, tell us:

  • your DMU student number (P number)
  • that you’d like to us to check your documents for CPR
  • your telephone number so that we can arrange an appointment.

I want to go on a Placement Year, what funding could I get?

If you’re considering a Placement Year, speak to your faculty Placement Team who will be able to advise you about the placement options available to you.

Our Careers and Employability Team can also offer guidance on suitable placements.

If you are a 'Home' student, you may be able to receive living cost grants and loans through SFE for your Placement Year. There are different types of student funding available for Home students depending on what kind of placement you will be doing.

If you are considering a Placement Year, please book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment with us.

I want to interrupt/ have interrupted (suspended) my studies, what happens next?

If you’re considering interrupting your studies study, speak to your Student Advice Centre as they will be able to advise you about the interruption process.

We can provide advice on the implications that interrupting has on your student funding. Please book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment with us.

When you interrupt, we will let SFE know that you are taking a break from your studies. Your interruption date is taken from the last day that you attended university. When we do this, your student funding will stop and any Maintenance Loan that you receive after this date will need to be repaid to SFE.

SFE are likely to recover any overpayment of the Maintenance Loan when you return to study. If the deduction of the overpayment causes you financial hardship, you can apply to SFE to request that they defer the overpayment to the next academic year. You can then apply each academic year if the overpayment will cause you financial hardship.

If you interrupt because of illness, pregnancy or another serious personal reason, you may still be able to get student finance while you’re not studying. In these circumstances, SFE can award the Maintenance Loan up to 60 days after you interrupt your course. If, after the 60 days, you are experiencing financial hardship, SFE may offer further support. This is called Discretionary Payments. Please refer to the question "Student Loans Company have said I've been overpaid. What if I can't afford to repay it?" on this FAQs page for more information.

When you are ready to return to study, you need to contact your faculty to let them know that you intend to return. You will then need to make an application to SFE for the academic year that you intend to return. Please refer to the other FAQ "I need to repeat a year of study, what do I need to do?" for information about the number of years of funding entitlement for a repeat year.

I want to withdraw/ have withdrawn from my studies, what happens next?

If you’re considering withdrawing from your studies study, speak to your Student Advice Centre as they will be able to advise you about the withdrawal process.

We can provide advice on the implications that withdrawing has on your student funding. Please book a 15-minute Quick Query appointment with us.

When you withdraw from your studies, we will let SFE know that you have chosen to leave your course. Your withdrawal date is taken from the last day that you attended university. When we do this, your student funding will stop and any Maintenance Loan that you receive after this date will need to be repaid to SFE.

If the loss of funding will cause you financial hardship, you can apply to SFE for Discretionary Payments. Please refer to the question "Student Loans Company have said I've been overpaid. What if I can't afford to repay it?" on this FAQs page for more information.

Student Loans Company have said I've been overpaid. What if I can't afford to repay it?

If the loss of funding will cause you financial hardship, you can apply to SFE for Discretionary Payments. We can support you with this, but if you would like to apply to SFE yourself, you can. The following guidelines may help you:

  • send a letter to SFE with supporting evidence, asking for Discretionary Payments to be awarded
  • include the following in the letter: your name, DOB, Customer Reference Number, course title, university name; date of your withdrawal; outline the reasons why you decided to interrupt/ withdraw; what happened and how it led to you taking a break in your studies/ leaving your course
  • why you are unable to support yourself financially (e.g. unable to work due to ill health)
  • reasons why you need to pay your essential costs and are unable to return to live with your parents/ partner (if applicable)
  • evidence how making any repayments now, or being denied discretionary funding, would result in financial hardship (e.g. bank statements; tenancy; outstanding bills; other financial commitments; lack of other financial options; your ability/ inability to work).

If you would like us to offer advice regarding your supporting letter and the evidence you have collated, please email sfw@dmu.ac.uk – when you email us, tell us:

  • your DMU student number (P number)
  • that you’d like to us to check your documents for Discretionary Payments
  • your telephone number so that we can arrange an appointment.

Tuition Fees

Can I pay my fees by instalments?

To discuss tuition fee payments and instalment plans, please contact DMU's Income Section: either telephone: 44 (0)116 207 8810 or email income@dmu.ac.uk 

I’m having difficulty paying my fees, what help can I get?

If you get into difficulty paying your fees, please contact the Income Section as soon as possible, as delays can result in you being temporarily excluded from your course. Their contact details are telephone: 44 (0)116 207 8810 or email income@dmu.ac.uk 

We would also recommend booking a 30-minute Money Doctor appointment with us to review your finances and ensure you have everything you are entitled to.

 

 

 
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