Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) help disabled students from the UK to fund additional costs they may need when taking part in a higher education level course.
DSA funding is available from Student Finance England, the NHS. This funding is not available to international students.
Depending on your needs, support from the DSA could include specialist equipment, a non-medical helpers allowance, help towards the additional costs of travelling to your institution and a general allowance. The amount of DSA you receive will depend on your funding body and on your DSA needs assessment. The maximum 2020/21 DSA allowances from Student Finance England detailed below.
The Student Finance England DSA can only be used to cover expenditure and equipment costs that arise as a direct consequence of the effects of a disability on your studies. It cannot be used to cover costs that will be incurred by all students, such as standard course textbooks, basic stationery or other course-related costs and reasonable travel by private vehicle or public transport.
This is for major items of equipment, such as funding towards computer equipment or specialist assistive software. Students may have to contribute £200 towards a computer.
This can be used to pay for support such as Specialist Mentors, Specialist Study Skills and Strategies Support, BSL or Specialist Note-taking Support.
This can be used towards extra printing costs, or to top-up the other allowances.
These are extra costs for the purpose of attending the institution incurred because of a disability — there is no upper limit to this element but this allowance will not normally help with everyday travel costs which any student would expect to have, or to fund additional journeys home or to attend medical appointments.
There is a maximum single annual allowance of £20,580 for eligible postgraduate students on designated part-time and full-time postgraduate courses.
We highly recommend you to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) before you start your course or within the first few months. This will ensure the appropriate support is put in place. You can complete an application through a relevant funding body, such as:
You will need to provide a copy of your evidence with your DSA application form. This could be either a letter or report from your doctor or consultant, your audiology report or medical evidence or educational psychologist/specialist teacher’s report. Please keep the original evidence or a copy of it as you will require this later.
After you have submitted your application, the funding body will send you a letter to confirm that you can book a study needs assessment. In this process, there are no tests involved in the assessment. It is a discussion and exploration of your needs with an experienced assessor, who will consider the impacts of your disability/specific learning difficulty/long-term medical condition/mental health condition on your academic studies.
The assessor will consider support, study strategies or assistive software you have had previously or are currently accessing. Study aids and strategies relevant to your current course of study will then be considered and where appropriate, there will also be the opportunity to evaluate appropriate assistive technology, aids and equipment.
Apart from Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA), other sources of funding may be available to disabled students that are from the UK. The information provided is for general guidance and cannot cover all circumstances. Please contact the relevant funding body to confirm the current arrangements and to seek further advice.
Additional providers of funding are detailed below:
The Snowdon Trust can provide grants to help cover costs for disabled students in higher education. Applications received between 1 February and 31 May are reviewed by a panel in July. Applications received between 1 June and 31 August are reviewed by a panel in October
Motability is a national UK charity that can assist in the provision of vehicles and powered wheelchairs.
Access to Work is a government scheme to supplement support at work that is not covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments. The support is based on your needs and may include a grant to cover specialist aids, adaptations, support worker services and travel to work.
For advice or information about a claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) please visit the DirectGov website.