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Disabled Students' Allowances

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are Government support packages – available to UK students who meet the criteria – designed to pay for the extra costs a student may incur as a result of a disability, medical condition, Specific Learning Difference (SpLD) or mental health condition which impacts on their studies.

DSAs funding is allocated to individual students and not the university and it’s the student's responsibility to fully engage in the process of applying. Funding can help pay for study related support, including specialist equipment and human support, but it will not pay for:

  • Costs a student would have whether or not they were at university
  • Non-disability related costs incurred by all students on a particular course 

DSAs are not:

  • A loan that has to be repaid after graduation
  • Classed as income which affects state benefits 

How to apply for Disabled Students' Allowances

The amount of DSAs available and the methods of application vary depending on the type of course being studied.

When applying for funding the provider requires formal, written evidence of a disability for them to determine the extra support a student may require when studying at university.

Proof of your disability or medical condition

In most cases, you will need to provide a letter from a medical professional which details your condition and how this affects you. Read full details of what should be contained in the letter.

 

Proof of your SpLD

There are certain requirements regarding SpLD diagnostic reports which need to be met to qualify for a DSA. It is particularly important that you check the requirements and start your DSAs application before you go to university. For details of the requirements download a copy of proof of your specific learning difference .

The study needs assessment

The study needs assessment is an important part of the DSA application process, during which your DSAs support is determined. It is not a test of your disability. The types of support it could determine are: 

  • Academic human support, e.g. a note taker for teaching sessions
  • Technological support, e.g. a computer with assistive software; a recording device for teaching sessions
  • A contribution towards travel costs for students who are unable to use standard public transport due to the effects of their disability
  • Other support, e.g. a photocopying allowance

You must have written permission from your funding provider to have a study needs assessment.

We have produced a booklet about the study needs assessment which you must read before submitting your application. 

Once your DSA is approved

You must keep all documents and correspondence relating to your DSA application as it is likely that you will need to use the support every year of your course. Read the Guide to your DSA approval.

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