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Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA)

The DSA is intended to help you pay for extra costs related to your disability if they are directly connected with your studies. Extra costs might include specialist equipment, a non-medical helper, travel and other costs.

DSA is not means-tested, it is not a loan and any equipment purchased for you from DSA remains your property at the end of the course - you do not have to give it back.  

However, if you leave your course early your funding authority may decide to recover some or all of your DSA. Depending on your funding body you may need to make a contribution of £200 towards the cost of any computer equipment that is provided for you. If you are unable to make this contribution or if doing so this would leave you in financial hardship you should discuss this with a member of the Disability and Dyslexia Support Team.  

Who is Eligible?

Undergraduate Students

Usually you will be eligible for DSA if you are a disabled undergraduate student who is eligible for support from: Student Finance England; an Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland; the Student Awards Agency for Scotland; or the NHS Student Grants unit.

Postgraduate Students

You must have been living in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years immediately before the start of the academic year. Some postgraduate students who receive support from the Research Councils that is equivalent to DSA will not be eligible. Students on PGCE courses will continue to be eligible for the same rate of DSA awarded to undergraduate students and as a result will not be eligible for a postgraduate DSA. Postgraduate students who receive a bursary from the NHS or the General Social Care Council may also be eligible.

How do I apply for DSA?

You can apply for DSA any time before or during your course. To obtain a DSA form you should either contact a Disabilities Adviser or your funding body. You will need to provide evidence of your disability - a recent medical report or, in the case of Specific Learning Difficulties, such as Dyslexia, a diagnostic psychological report (or equivalent from a suitably qualified practitioner).  If you do not have one, we can arrange for a Psychological Assessment if required.

What is covered by DSA?

There are no set amounts - you will only get enough to cover your individual needs. In order to establish your individual needs your funding body will normally ask you to undergo an Assessment of Needs - your funding authority will meet the cost of this.

However, there is a limit to the amount of help available, the maximum levels of DSA change slightly each year and the current figures can be found here 

Assessment of Need

Your funding body can authorise an Assessment of Need to be carried out before the start of term. Contact your funding authority for more detailed information. A Disabilities Adviser will discuss the recommendations made in your Assessment of Need once you have enrolled on your course.

How long will it take?

The earlier you apply for DSA the better. You can apply at any time once you have applied for a place at University. The process of obtaining assessments and equipment may be slow, especially during the first few weeks of term when staff in funding bodies and universities are very busy. Therefore it can take many weeks between your initial application and the arrival of equipment. It is important that you maintain contact with your funding body and Disabilities Adviser throughout the process and respond quickly when you are required to do something.

How can I find out more?

For more information, please visit Student Finance England, DSAs

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