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 cost of:

  • specialist equipment, such as a computer
  • non-medical helpers
  • personal support
  • travel costs
  • other disability-related costs of studying

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.

Full-time students – the support you get depends on your disability:

Maximum allowance for the 2018/19 academic year Maximum allowance for the 2019/20 academic year
£21,987 £22,603

Part-time students – the support you get depends on your disability and the intensity of your course:

Maximum allowance if you're starting your course in the 2018/19 academic year Maximum allowance if you're starting your course in the 2019/20 academic year
£16,489 £16,951

Specialist equipment allowance

This is to help you buy equipment needed for you to benefit fully from your course. It can also be used for insurance and warranties for the equipment.The maximum support you can get is the same amount for full-time and part-time students:

Maximum allowance if you're starting your course in the 2018/19 academic year Maximum allowance if you're starting your course in the 2019/20 academic year
£5,529 £5,684

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.

General allowance

You can use this allowance to claim course-related costs you may have as a direct result of your disability. This could include photocopying or printer ink.

Full-time students:

Maximum allowance for the 2018/19 academic year Maximum allowance for the 2019/20 academic year
£1,847 £1,899

Part-time students:

Maximum allowance if you're starting your course in the 2018/19 academic year Maximum allowance if you're starting your course in the 2019/20 academic year
£1,385 £1,424

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.

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’ Allowances (DSAs) 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 DSAs 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 DSAs.


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’ Allowances (DSAs) from your online account after you’ve submitted your main student finance application.

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

If you’re only applying for DSAs 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 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.

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 DSAs – you need to send evidence to Student Finance England. When sending evidence, remember to send Student Finance England 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 DSAs, 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.

To find your nearest assessment centre please visit www.dsa-qag.org.uk.

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.


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