Disabled students in education – Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA)

Oct 22, 2018 |

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

Disabled Student’s Allowance is the Government funding given to disabled students in the UK to pay for specialist equipment/support that may be required as a reasonable adjustment.

When you go to college or university, your institution will provide some adjustments directly but others may require more funding and that’s where DSA comes in.

The rules for DSA are different depending on which UK funding body pays your fees. The specifics of the different funding bodies can be found in the following links.

SAAS – Student’s Awards Agency Scotland

SFE – Student Finance England

SFW – Student Finance Wales

SFNI – Student Finance Northern Ireland

The criteria involved generally includes where you are a citizen, where you have been resident in the last two years, the hours spent on your course, the duration of your course and how many academic credits your course can earn.

DSA is not the only source of funding so if you are not eligible do check with advisors in your college or university. If you get no funding from any external source, your university or college will often still be able to put reasonable adjustments in place using their funds.

Applying for DSA

The needs assessment will be carried out by a Needs Assessor at an Access Centre or in your own institution if it has been validated as an Access Centre.

Here are some examples of information the assessor needs to know about:

  • What difficulties does your disability cause you?
  • Difficulties you may have had at school in relation to disability and any reasonable adjustments made.
  • What worked for you there?
  • What does your course entail?

What follows is not an exhaustive list but will give an idea of things to think about. Do you have any issues that are caused by disability and might cause difficulty with,

  • Notetaking
  • Concentration/Comprehension
  • Memory
  • Physical access to environment
  • Energy levels
  • Mental health issues
  • Difficulties with structure/writing
  • Other issues arising out of your course
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