How you apply for DSA depends on if you're already receiving student finance.

Already receiving student finance?

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. 

Not receiving student finance?

If you are not receiving student finance, are a postgraduate student, or a student from Scotland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man, you just need to complete a form to start the process: 

Why you should apply for the DSA as early as possible

You don’t need to have started your course to apply for the DSA; you don’t even need to have a confirmed place at university. You can apply as soon as your funding body’s 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.  

Make sure you discuss all your needs

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 get everything you need.  

The sooner, the better: Sharing your needs on your UCAS application

Sharing your disability with UCAS is an easy way to ensure your university’s student support services know in advance that you're entitled to reasonable adjustments and other types of support.

This information will not be used against you or affect your university applications

We always advise you to share information about your disability with your university before you arrive. This is because:  

  • 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 you would benefit from this support will make your application journey a little easier
  • 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 the 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. 

Content provided by Diversity and Ability