Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are available to fund disability related course costs incurred whilst studying.
Applications for DSA funding can be made by those who have applied for, or who are studying, a Higher Education course. They must be eligible for funding as a ‘Home’ student and provide medical and/or diagnostic evidence of their impairment, condition or Specific Learning Difficulty (see below).
DSAs provide funding towards costs such as:
- assistive software
- support workers, e.g. note-takers, specialist study skills tutors and practical assistants
- specialist equipment
Applying for DSAs
DSA applications are submitted to the relevant funding body, depending on the applicant’s place of residency in the UK. It is not necessary to have a confirmed place on a course to apply for DSAs and an application can be made upon receipt of a course offer. Students who are already studying an eligible course can apply in the same way.
Find out more about DSAs on the applicable website:
- Student Finance England
- Student Finance Wales
- Student Finance Northern Ireland
- Student Awards Agency for Scotland
Disability advisers can check students and applicants are eligible to apply, explain more about the process and help to complete the application form.
If you are in one of the following categories please contact the Disability Service, because a disability adviser will need to complete part of your DSA application form:
- Those applying to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland and who have applied for DSAs in the past.
- Those who have not applied to the funding body for other types of student finance, e.g. a tuition fee loan.
- Those studying, or planning to study, a postgraduate course.
Read the DSAs Factsheet for further guidance:
Higher Education students from Ireland
Those from the Republic of Ireland need to apply for DSA with a disability adviser. Please contact the Disability Service at email@example.com to book an appointment as early as possible, either before or after starting the course.
DSAs are available to students studying research degrees or PhDs as outlined above, unless the student is in receipt of a research grant for fees or maintenance. Please contact the Disability Service at firstname.lastname@example.org as early as possible, because an application needs to be made with the disability adviser.
Medical and diagnostic evidence
Medical and/or diagnostic evidence should be provided with the DSA application form. Please include photocopied evidence of your condition, impairment or specific learning difficulty. Do not send the original document.
The What to Expect page has detailed information about the type of medical and/or diagnostic evidence required. The Disability Service can advise those who are having difficulty obtaining evidence.
The University offers a diagnostic service for enrolled students who have, or think they have, a Specific Learning Difficulty.
Changes to DSAs from August 2016
A ministerial statement was released in December 2015 announcing changes to DSAs funding. The changes will come into effect for students who are funded by Student Finance England and who apply for DSAs for the first time from August 2016 onwards. The changes are:
- Non-specialist support workers e.g. note-takers, practical assistants will not be paid for by DSAs
- Disability-related accommodation costs (where students live in accommodation provided by the University or its agent) will not be paid for by DSAs
The University is committed to maintaining current levels of support and access for all disabled students, and will fund these types of support where they are needed.
Students are welcome to contact the Disability Service for advice about how the changes may affect them.