How DMU Money Advice can help
We are here to provide advice to students on all aspects of money matters. If you need help to manage your money because you are in debt, or if you are worried that you will not be able to afford to stay at university, we can help you manage your finances and access funding that you might be eligible to. We can also provide advice about keeping your money and identity safe, plus welfare benefits. We recognise that money problems can be linked, or lead to mental health concerns, the Mental Health and Money Advice website has some useful resources.
DMU Support Fund
The DMU Support Fund is designed to assist with general living and course-related costs. It cannot be used for delays with your student funding or to pay tuition fees, support 'lifestyle choices' or as a replacement for statutory benefits. The Fund relies on money provided by the University to help students who are facing genuine and unavoidable financial hardship. The DMU Support Fund web pages provide information on eligibility and how you can apply.
Recent research has shown that a third of all new students run out of money before their next loan instalment is due.
Being in financial difficulty can be extremely stressful and can interfere with the successful completion of your studies. Devising a budget prior to starting at university is crucial to financial survival and wellbeing.
Remember that student income arrives in a variety of ways, grants and student loans are paid termly and earnings paid weekly or monthly. So in order to get a clear picture of annual/ termly/ weekly income, you will need to plan your budget. Set aside some time regularly to check your finances, avoid the horror of the forgotten bill and have a good idea of your current financial position.
Be Money Smart: DMU Money Advice have teamed up with financial education specialists, Blackbullion, to offer students an online platform designed to help develop important financial life skills. Blackbullion offers a range of mini-courses, videos, quizzes, resources and tools to help students better understand their finances and develop the skills to manage their money effectively. Visit Be Money Smart for more information and details on how to sign up.
Budget Planner: Save The Student have some useful calculators and resources which are well worth a look. Their student money cheat sheet has some great tips too! You can use Citizens Advice free online budget planner. Or try the National Debtline online budget planner.
As a student, you only have a limited income, so it is not unusual to fall into debt whilst studying. Being in debt can be stressful and worrying. The best way to deal with debt is to be aware of the problems and consequences and to manage debts so that you are in control, rather than the debt situation controlling you. After an appointment with us, you may be referred to one of our Welfare Officers to provide debt advice.
Loan Sharks: you might not realise that you have borrowed money from a Loan Shark or illegal money lender. This could have been a cash loan with no paperwork and very high interest rates – you might receive threats to repay the money. You can find out more and report this via Stop Loans Sharks, the Illegal Money Lending Team.
Breathing Space is a government scheme, designed to give you time to receive debt advice and find a solution to sort out your debt problems. There are two kinds of breathing space.
- Standard breathing space is where most creditors will have to stop collection and enforcement of your debts. Creditors will also have to freeze interest and charges on any eligible debts.
- Mental health crisis breathing space can provide extra protection for people who are receiving mental health crisis treatment.
Other useful contacts for expert debt advice:
StepChange Debt Charity
Keeping your money safe
Fraud: if you suspect that your card has been used fraudulently, you should contact your provider urgently. The provider should have a 24-hour emergency helpline. We also recommend that you call Action Fraud on +44 (0)300 123 2040 as this reports to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. You will then be issued with a crime reference number.
Know your rights: if you feel you have lost money due to fraud, contact the Financial Conduct Authority on +44 (0)800 111 6768. It is important to act as quickly as possible if you think you have been a victim of fraud.
Money mules: be aware that criminals may target students via social media channels like SnapChat and Instagram. The criminal gets you to agree to share your bank details so they can deposit money into your account and instruct you to transfer it on. This is a form of money laundering and is illegal. There are no 'get-rich-quick' schemes, so be on your guard. Find out more about Money Mules and what the impact can be.
Financial control: if you are experiencing difficulties with others trying to control your money, you can find out more on how to protect yourself against financial abuse. The charity Surviving Economic Abuse is dedicated to raising awareness of and transforming responses to economic abuse.
Gambling: you shouldn't gamble any money if you can't afford to lose it. Be Gamble Aware offer free, confidential help and support to anyone who’s worried about their/someone else’s gambling. Pause and Take Time to Think to use safer gambling tools to stay in control. All responsible betting and gaming websites offer a range of ways to help you manage your spend, time and cool off when you need to.
Credit report: you can view this by checking with a credit reference agency such as Experian or Equifax. They record the amount of credit that has been issued under your name. If a fraudster was to try and gain credit under your name, this will be highlighted in your credit report. Money Saving Expert provides information on how to check your credit report for free and what to look for.
Single students with no dependants: most full-time students can’t claim means-tested benefits either during term-time or the summer holidays. For the purpose of benefits claims you are treated as a full-time student until the day you complete your studies, or otherwise leave your course.
Students with dependants/disability: there are some students who will be able to claim benefits over the summer, or throughout the year (like Tax Credits/ Universal Credit). If you are a single parent; or you and your partner are both full-time students and have dependent children; or if you have a disability and receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you should clarify what benefits you may be eligible to apply for. Students who are in paid employment may also be able to qualify for Working Tax Credits/ Universal Credit.
You may find the following links useful:
Citizens Advice: benefits
Turn2Us: benefits calculator
EntitledTo: free benefits calculator