What is DSA?
Disabled Students' Allowances are grants to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. They are aimed at helping disabled students to study on an equal basis with other students.
Full-time, part-time and postgraduate students can apply for Disabled Students' Allowances. The amount you get doesn't depend on your household income. Disabled Students' Allowances are paid on top of the standard student finance package, and don't have to be paid back.
What are they for?
Disabled Students' Allowances can help with:
- specialist equipment you need for studying - for example, a computer of specialist software
- a non-medical helper, such as a note-taker or reader
- extra travel costs you have to pay because of your disability
- other costs - for example, books, photocopying, paper costs
Getting proof of your disability or specific learning difficulty
You will need to satisfy your funding body that the effects of your condition will mean that you will need to pay extra costs in attending your course. If you are disabled, or have mental health difficulties, you will need to provide medical proof of your disability, such as a letter from your doctor or specialist. If you have more than one medical condition, you should provide evidence for all of them.
If you have a specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia), your funding body will need evidence of this from a suitably qualified person (such as an Educational Psychologist or specialist teacher). If your assessment was carried out before you were 16, your funding body may ask for an update to see what the likely effect of your specific learning difficulty will have on the skills you need for higher education.
Your university or college disability adviser may be able to help you arrange an updated, or new, assessment. Your funding body cannot meet the costs of diagnosing your disability for establishing your eligibility for DSAs.
How much do you receive?
This is very much based on your individual needs, but there are maximums for the different allowances. When you apply, your funding body will ask you to have a needs assessment to establish exactly what support you require. This will be carried out by a person with a specialist assessor at an assessment centre such as Glyndŵr Assessment Centre. The cost of the needs assessment may be met through your Disabled Students' Allowance.
Allowances for full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students vary.
When do I apply?
Apply as soon as you can before your course starts in order to receive payments promptly. However, you can apply for DSAs at any stage of your course.