To access the DSA you need to apply to your funding body. This will be the same organisation from which you are receiving your normal student funding.
For applications to Student Finance England/Wales/Northern Ireland or Student Awards Agency for Scotland click here.
If you are a student receiving an NHS bursary then you should contact the NHS Bursaries team. Contact your Disability Officer for applications to research councils. Do not send your original medical evidence to the funding body; only a copy is required.
Once your funding body approves your application for the DSA they will ask you to attend a study needs assessment. You should contact us at this point to organise an appointment to meet with one of our assessors in order to discuss your needs and to identify strategies that will assist you in overcoming your difficulties.
You can apply for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) if you have a:
You must also:
You are not eligible to apply for the DSA if:
The type of medical evidence will depend on your disability/study need.
Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) for example dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia.
You will need to provide an assessment report from an educational psychologist or specialist teacher qualified to diagnose SpLDs. This assessment must be post-16, i.e. undertake after the age of 16 years. If you currently have a diagnosis that is pre-16, you will need to get it updated. Your current college may have a specialist teacher who is able to undertake this for you. If not, you can find a list of educational psychologists here.
Visual Stress / Meyers Irlen Syndrome / Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome
This condition can only be diagnosed by a qualified optometrist. Student Finance England will no longer accept a diagnosis from an educational psychologist for this condition. A national list of optometrists can be found here.
Asperger Syndrome / Autistic Spectrum Disorder
The report that originally diagnosed the condition and any update assessments undertaken since the original diagnosis.
Mental health condition
You will need to get your GP to complete the mental health evidence form available here.
Physical, medical or sensory disability
You will need to provide a letter from your GP/consultant. The letter should state the following:
If you are a prospective student you should apply for the DSA as soon as possible after applying for a place at university. Do not wait until after your exams or receiving your results. The DSA application process is lengthy and the sooner you apply the more likely the support you need can be put in place in time for you to start your course.
If you are already at university you should apply immediately. You can apply for the DSA at any time during your course but it is better not to wait until you are behind in your work or about to fail as it may be too late to get the support you need in place in time to make a difference. If you are unsure about whether to apply for the DSA, speak to your university's disability team. Even if you are not eligible for the DSA they may be able to provide guidance/assistance to help you.
If you are within the last 6 months of completing your course you can still apply for the DSA. Human support can be provided, however, if equipment is recommended it is likely you will be provided with rental equipment rather than the equipment being purchased for you.
No. There is no legal requirement for you to notify your institution of your disability/ies, unless your chosen course has specific fitness to study/practice requirements that you must meet in order to be accepted on the course.
However, it is highly recommended that you do disclose your disability/ies to the disability team at your institution, as they will be able to help you with the DSA process and may be able to put some support in place while you are going through the application process. The disability team cannot inform your tutors of your disclosure without your permission.
However, if you choose not to disclose your disability/ies to your institution it will limit the support they can provide to you and the on-campus support we can recommend through the DSA.
The study needs assessment is very important, as it is during this meeting that you will discuss what support may be funded through the DSA grant. Your funding body will not agree to any support unless it has been recommended by a study needs assessor.
The only exceptions to this is are: