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Disabled Students Allowances

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Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) covers study-related costs you have because of a disability, mental health difficulty, neurodiversity, long term illness and/or learning difference. This can be on its own or in addition to any student finance you get.  DSAs funding does not need to be paid back. The type of support and how much you get depends on your individual needs - not your household income. 

DSAs can help with the costs of specialist equipment or software if you need it because of your disability.  This may include, but is not limited to: 

  • a computer
  • a digital voice recorder
  • a supportive chair
  • Voice recognition software
  • Text to Speech software
  • Mind Mapping software to help with organising and planning 

DSAs can also cover the cost of support workers (or non-medical helper support). Depending on your individual needs, this may include, but is not limited to: 

  • a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter
  • a specialist note-taker
  • a specialist mentor or a one-to-one study skills tutor 

When should I apply for DSAs? 

You can apply for DSAs as early as March onwards for a September start but you do not automatically get DSAs. You will need to send evidence of your impairment, health condition or disability to Student Finance.  The application can take around 14 weeks and you may need to meet with different members of staff on different occasions to complete the process and receive any support. 

Who can apply for DSAs? 

  • Undergraduate or postgraduate students
  • Students who qualify for student finance
  • Students studying on a course that lasts at least a year 

You cannot get DSAs if you are: 

  • studying a Degree Apprenticeship (degree or masters-level)
  • an EU student who is eligible for fee support only
  • an international student 

However, you can still access support. For more information  contact the Apprenticeship Team or the Student Inclusion Team.    You may also be able to access support via Access to Work.  

How do I apply for DSA? 

If you receive student finance from Student Finance England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can sign in to your account to start your DSAs application.   If you are studying a postgraduate course or studying part-time you will need to complete an application form which you can find on your funding body’s website.

You will need to provide a copy of your disability evidence but if you don't have this, don't let this stop you from applying- you can provide this later.  The evidence can be a diagnostic assessment for a specific learning difficulty, or a letter from your doctor or consultant stating the nature of your condition and how it impacts you.   Student Finance may suggest that you ask a medical professional to provide information about your disability on an evidence form.  If you need to update your diagnostic assessment for your DSAs application, we may be able to help you do this.  Visit Diagnostic assessment for information.  

Funding bodies and forms

What happens after I have applied? 

When Student Finance receives your application, they will write to you to confirm whether you qualify for DSAs or not. Sometimes they may require further information which they will ask you to provide. 

Once your eligibility for DSAs is confirmed, they will ask you to arrange a DSA Needs Assessment.  Once you have attended this assessment, your Assessor will provide you with a report outlining what support they recommend you receive.  They will send this to Student Finance.  You will then receive a confirmation email from Student Finance detailing what support you have been awarded and instructions on how to begin receiving it.