If you receive student finance from Student Finance England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can sign in to your Student Finance England, Wales or Northern Ireland account to start your DSA application. The application for DSA should be on your ‘to-do list’.
If it is not on your ‘to-do’ list, just select ‘change your circumstances’ and follow the DSA instructions to apply.
If you are not receiving student finance, are a postgraduate student, or have a different funding body or nationality, you just need to complete a form to start the process.
If you are from England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland and not accessing other forms of student finance (Student Awards Agency) funding, you will still need to apply for DSA through student finance platforms. You can do this by filling out the relevant form on your country's student finance website:
- If you are from England
- If you are from Northern Ireland, choose your degree start date, navigate to which category applies to you (e.g. undergraduate or postgraduate), and then choose ‘Disability and Childcare Forms’.
- If you are from Scotland
- If you are from Wales
- If you have a UKRI-funded studentship
- If you receive an NHS Student Bursary, you can apply through your BOSS account.
- If you are from the Republic of Ireland, you can access support through the Fund for Students with Disabilities by registering with the disability or access office in your college.
You don’t need to have started your course to apply for DSA; you don’t even need to have a confirmed place at university. You can apply as soon as student finance applications open (usually in February or March).
By applying early, you’ll know that everything is in place for your arrival at university. You can hit the ground running in your first term and focus on settling into a new environment and getting to grips with your course, knowing that all of your support is already in place.
Although you will have to show medical evidence to access DSA, this shouldn’t stop you from applying. Letting the DSA Team know you're entitled to additional support is the first and most important stage.
If you have more than one diagnosis or condition, make sure you share each individual condition on your DSA application. DSA will only be able to provide you support for the diagnoses you've highlighted on your application.
Make sure you cover everything so you can access all the support you need.
We always advise you to share information about your disability with your university before you arrive.
- Firstly, universities want to support people at every stage of the process, including open days, interviews and other aspects of the application process. Letting them know that you would benefit from this support will make your application journey a little easier.
- Secondly, allowing universities to make contact with you is important. They should be proactive in meeting the needs of new students like you. By informing them early, you enable them to showcase the assistance available to disabled students and how they can support you if you're accepted.
While Disabled Students’ Allowance covers many helpful adjustments, universities can provide amazing additional support. This might include accommodations for exams, such as extra time or rest breaks, as well as wellbeing-related benefits like free or discounted gym memberships. Having a student support plan before your arrival helps you focus on the fun stuff.
If you choose not to share this information initially, that's fine; it’s your decision. However, if you change your mind, you can inform the university anytime. Acting sooner is always best to prevent delays in preparing the best support for you.