Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a grant to help with any extra essential costs you may have as a direct result of your disability, including a long-term health condition, mental-health condition, or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. Content provided by Student Finance England.

2021 to 2022 academic year

Full-time and part-time undergraduate or postgraduate students can get up to £25,000 a year for support.

2020 to 2021 academic year

Full-time undergraduate or postgraduate students can get up to £23,258 a year for support. Part-time undergraduate or postgraduate students can get up to £17,443

Eligible disabilities could include a:

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

DSA doesn'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:

  • day-to-day costs of studying that are related to your disability. For example, photocopying costs.
  • specialist equipment. For example, a computer or disability-related software. Any equipment bought must have been included in the report from your Study Needs Assessment. If your Study Needs Assessment recommends that they need a computer or laptop, you’ll have to pay £200 towards it. 
  • a non-medical helper. For example, a British Sign Language interpreter. This person cannot be a friend or family member.

Non-medical helper allowance

This is to help pay for support workers (such as readers, sign language interpreters, or note-takers) and other non-medical assistances you need to benefit fully from your course.

You may be able to get a new computer if you don’t already have one, or if your current one doesn’t meet the required specification. You’ll need to make a contribution of £200 towards the cost of any computer.

Travel allowance

This helps with any extra travel costs you may have to attend your university, college, or placement because of your disability. The amount you get will depend on your disability.

For 2021/22 there are some exceptions for students who may need more travel support.

Funding for students with disabilities and other needs 2019/20

Funding for students with disabilities and other needs | Student Finance England
If you have a disability, you might be able to get extra financial help while at uni or college. Video provided by Student Finance England.

Eligibility

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

  • learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, 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 DSA if you’re:

  • an EU student
  • eligible for an 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 DSA.


How to apply

If you’re a full-time student and applying for other student finance, such as a Tuition Fee Loan, you’ll be able to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) from your online account after you’ve submitted your main student finance application.

After you’ve applied for DSA, you’ll be told what evidence you need to submit to Student Finance England to support your application.

If you’re only applying for DSA and no other type of student finance, you need to complete a paper application form (DSA1). You’ll be able to download this from www.gov.uk/studentfinance when the service opens.

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

Applying for a part-time course? You cannot apply online – you must apply with a paper application form, which you can download from www.gov.uk/student-finance-forms.

 

Supplying evidence

You won't automatically get DSA – you need to submit evidence to Student Finance England. You can submit a digital copy of your evidence via your student finance account.

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

Study needs assessment

If you’re eligible for DSA, Student Finance England (SFE) may ask you to arrange a study needs assessment to find out what equipment and support you 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.

You can use your postcode to find your nearest assessment centre.

Your study needs assessment

After you contact the assessment centre:

  •  they’ll confirm your booking within one working day
  •  your appointment should take place within 15 working days
  • Student Finance England should receive the final report within ten working days

You can review your report before it’s sent to Student Finance England – if you choose to do this, you’ll receive your report within five working days of your assessment.