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Disabled Students Allowances

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Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) is support to cover the study-related costs you have because of a mental health difficulty, long term illness or any other disability.   This can be on its own or in addition to any student finance you get. The type of support and how much you get depends on your individual needs - not your household income. 

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 be asked to send evidence of your impairment, health condition or disability. 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 ideally briefly explaining how it impacts you.   DSAs funding does not need to be paid back  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 that you may be entitled to.

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 

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 please 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? 

How you apply for the DSAs depends on your funding body and whether you’re studying post graduate study or if you are studying a full-time or part-time course.

Complete a DSAs application which you can find on your funding body’s website. Either apply online or submit the completed form to them with a copy of your disability evidence. If you do not have the required evidence to prove your eligibility for DSAs, a medical professional can provide information about your disability on an evidence form. Links to the most common funding bodies and forms can be found below: 

Student Finance England 

2023-24 Application Forms

DSA Medical Evidence Form 

Student Finance Wales 

2023-24 Application Forms

DSA Medical Evidence Form

Northern Ireland 






Social work bursaries



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.  

What happens after I have applied? 

When your funding body receive 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, your funding body will ask you to contact an assessment centre to work out what help you need, this is known as a DSA Study Needs Assessment - do not book this until your funding body asks you to.