Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
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
You could get a new computer if you do not already have one or if your existing one does not meet your study needs. You’ll need to pay the first £200 towards the computer you need for study.
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
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.
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:
If you have not applied for student finance, you can:
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.
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.
Last reviewed by Scope on: 14/07/2020
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