Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are grants to help with any extra essential costs you may have as a direct result of your disability. Content provided by Student Finance England.
Relevant to

Eligible disabilities could include a:

  • long-term health condition
  • mental health condition
  • specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia

DSAs don't depend on household income – what you can get depends on your own needs. You don't have to pay these back.

What's available?

You can get help with the costs of:

  • specialist equipment, such as a computer
  • non-medical helpers
  • personal support
  • travel costs
  • other disability-related costs of studying
Maximum allowance for the 2018/19 academic year Maximum allowance for the 2019/20 academic year
£10,993 £20,000

This will be less if you study part-time. You don’t have to be getting a Postgraduate Loan to get this extra support.


You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) if you have a disability that affects your ability to study, such as a:

  • learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or ADHD
  • mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression
  • physical disability, such as if you’re partially sighted or have to use crutches
  • long-term health condition, such as cancer, chronic heart disease, or HIV

You must also:

  • be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning)
  • qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
  • be studying on a full-time or part-time course that lasts at least one year

You can’t get DSAs if you’re:

  • an EU student
  • eligible for the NHS Disabled Students’ Allowance (this is a separate scheme)
  • getting equivalent support from another funding source, like from your university or a social work bursary

There is no age limit for who can get DSAs.

How to apply

You need to apply using a paper DSA1 form. You’ll be able to download this from www.gov.uk/studentfinance when the service opens.

The application process for DSAs can take around 14 weeks. You should apply and send Student Finance England your evidence as early as possible to make sure you’ll have everything you need ready for the start of your course.


You won't automatically get DSAs – you'll need to send Student Finance England evidence. When sending them evidence, remember to send photocopies, not originals.

Condition Evidence
Disability or long-term health condition A photocopy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant – Student Finance England can also accept a disability evidence form.
Mental health condition A photocopy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant – Student Finance England can also accept a disability evidence form.
Specific learning difficulty A photocopy of a 'diagnostic assessment' from a practitioner, psychologist, or suitably qualified specialist teacher.

Study needs assessment

If you’re eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances, Student Finance England may ask you to arrange a study needs assessment to find out exactly what equipment and support you might need for your course.

This is an informal meeting with an experienced Needs Assessor to discuss what equipment and support will help you get the most from your course.

A needs assessment is different from a diagnostic assessment, which is used as evidence of dyslexia. Even if you’ve had a diagnostic assessment, you must also have a needs assessment.

You should only book a needs assessment if Student Finance England tells you to. To find your nearest approved needs assessment centre, go to www.dsa-qag.org.uk.

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