Disabled Students Allowances
If you’re disabled and studying a higher education course, you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra study-related costs.
You can get the allowances on top of your other student finance. You will not have to pay the DSAs back and they do not affect your other benefits.
University funding for disabled students What DSAs can pay for
You can get help paying for the disability-related costs of studying:
non-medical helpers, such as sign language interpreters or specialist mentors in some instances specialist equipment, such as assistive software to enable you to access a computer extra copies of materials or a small fridge to store medication extra travel costs
If you do not have a computer that meets your study needs, you’ll need to pay the first £200 towards the cost.
DSAs do not cover:
disability-related costs you’d have if you were not attending a course costs that any student might have (such as books and food) What DSAs can pay for (GOV.UK) How DSAs are paid
Money is usually paid directly to the organisation providing the service or equipment.
How much you can get
How much you get depends on the course you’re studying and your needs, not your household income.
If you’re eligible, you can claim extra travel costs you have because of your condition or impairment. There is no maximum limit.
Disabled Students allowance (GOV.UK)
In Wales, the amounts you can get could be different.
Student Finance Wales Eligibility
If your condition or impairment affects your ability to study (such as dyslexia, physical or mental health conditions), you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs).
You must also:
be an undergraduate or postgraduate student qualify for funding from Student Finance be on a higher education course that lasts at least a year
If you’re eligible for financial support from the NHS or another funder, like from your university or a social work bursary, you will not be able to claim DSAs.
NHS Disabled Students’ Allowances Proving you’re eligible
You may need proof of your eligibility. You can use a photocopy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant.
You may not need to provide new diagnosis evidence reports due to coronavirus. Send any evidence you have already. Student Finance will contact you if they need more information.
Coronavirus guidance for students on DSAs (GOV.UK) Fill in a disability evidence form (PDF, 65KB)
Keep a copy as you might need it for your needs assessment.
You must be in the UK and studying one of the following:
first degree, for example BA, BSc or BEd Foundation Degree Certificate of Higher Education Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) Higher National Certificate (HNC) Higher National Diploma (HND) Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) postgraduate course Initial Teacher Training
Check with your university or college that your course is recognised.
How to apply
How you apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) depends on whether you’re studying full-time or part-time.
Warning Apply for DSAs as early as possible
In most cases, you do not need to have a place confirmed at university or college to apply.
If you’re a full-time student
If you’ve already applied for student finance, you can:
sign in to your student finance account to start your DSAs application use the DSAs paper application form if you do not have an online account
If you have not applied for student finance, you can:
apply for DSAs when you apply for student finance online fill in the DSAs paper application form if you want to apply for DSAs without student finance
You can apply online for DSAs when you make your student finance application or you can do it afterwards.
If you’re a part-time student
Apply using the DSAs paper application form. You cannot apply online. Contact Student Finance if you need help with your application.
Student finance: how to apply Download a DSA paper application form Getting a needs assessment
Student Finance will ask you to arrange a needs assessment of what equipment and support you might need for your course. This is known as a study needs assessment. Most are remote assessments.
You should only book a needs assessment if you’re eligible and Student Finance England tells you to.
If you do not have a needs assessment, Student Finance will not be able to process your DSA application.
You go through the assessment for DSA once. You do not need to reapply every year unless your condition has changed.
The DSA needs assessor will chat with you about how to get the best out of your course. They will identify areas where you might benefit from support, for example, using computer technology.
After your assessment, you’ll receive a report listing equipment and other support you can get for your course.
Warning Needs assessments during coronavirus
You can have your needs assessment remotely if you cannot go in person.
You can also ask for adjustments to make the assessment accessible to you. For example, using video chat software that works with your assistive technology or having a British Sign Language interpreter.
Coronavirus guidance on DSAs assessments (GOV.UK)
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