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Disabled Students Allowance

DSA FAQs

Below are a number of frequently asked questions when applying for the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA).

The DSA pays for any additional costs related to your disability or Specific Learning Difficulty that is needed to enable you to access your course of study. To access the DSA you will need to apply to your funding body. This will normally be the same organisation from which you are receiving your general student funding.
You can apply for the DSA if you are:

  1. On a full-time or part-time undergraduate course (for example, a degree or HND-level course) including Open University and other distance-learning courses; or
  2. On an eligible full-time or part-time postgraduate course (which you need a degree or equivalent qualification to get onto), including Open University and other distance-learning courses, that lasts at least one year; and
  3. Have a disability, mental-health condition, or a specific learning difficulty which affects your ability to study.

If you are unsure about your eligibility you should contact your funding body or your Institution's disability team for guidance.

If you are a prospective student you should apply for the DSA as soon as possible after applying for a place at university; you do not have to wait until after your exams or receiving your results. The DSA application process is lengthy (up to 14 weeks) 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. Forms are usually available from March in the year of application.

If you are already at university you should apply immediately, as you can apply for the DSA at any time during your course. If you are unsure about whether to apply for the DSA, speak to your university's disability team.

Process for claiming the Disabled Students' Allowance

1. Submit Application form (DSA 1) & Medical Evidence

Apply to your Funding Body to request assistance with costs of disability related support and equipment.
Timescale: 2 to 3 weeks

2. Authorisation received from Funding Body

You will be asked to make an appointment at an Access Centre where you will see an Assessor who will discuss your needs and make appropriate recommendations for your support.
Timescale: up to 3 weeks for an appointment.

3. Needs Assessment Report Production

Your Assessor will prepare a report which includes a bid for funding for your support costs. Once completed, this will be sent by the Assessment Centre to your Funding Body for their consideration.
Timescale: up to 2 weeks

4. Funding Body Processing

Your Funding Body will process your report and write to you to tell you what recommendations have been approved.
Timescale: 2 to 6 weeks

Once you have been advised what you are allowed to have, funded support can be put in place and any recommended equipment can be ordered.
If you are unsure about how to proceed, contact the Assessment Centre where you were assessed or the disability adviser at your place of study.