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Universities and colleges welcome almost 30,000 disabled students each year, meaning there’s already lots of on-campus support available. Most training programme providers have disability coordinators and/or advisers.
If you have an impairment, mental health condition, or learning difficulty, it’s a good idea to contact your training programme provider to discuss what you might need as early as possible – even before sending your application.
Funding for disabled students
You may be entitled to Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) for physical or mental impairments, long-term or mental health conditions, or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia. This funding covers the cost of the support you need – e.g. specialist equipment and nonmedical helpers – like a note-taker or reader. You won’t automatically get a DSA – you'll need to prove you’re eligible.
- First you’ll need either a letter from your doctor or consultant confirming your impairment or health condition, or a diagnostic assessment of your learning difficulty from a psychologist or specialist teacher.
- Then you apply for DSA through your regional funding organisation – Student Finance England, Student Finance Northern Ireland, Student Awards Agency for Scotland or Student Finance Wales. It can take up to three months to arrange, so apply early.
- If you’re eligible you’ll then have an assessment to work out what you need – find an assessment centre near your training provider via the DSAs Quality Assurance Group website.
- Once everything’s arranged, the money will be paid directly to your service/equipment providers, or to your bank account.
- DSAs can take up to three months to arrange, so make sure you apply for one as early as possible.