Student Health & Wellbeing

DISABLED STUDENTS’ ALLOWANCES (DSA)

What are Disabled Students’ Allowances?

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) may be provided to eligible 'Home' students only, in order to cover extra study costs that arise because of disability. There are four parts to DSAs as detailed below:

• Specialist Equipment Allowance (one amount for the whole of your studies)
To pay for equipment such as computers, tape recorders, specialist furniture.

• Non-Medical Helpers Allowance (for each year of your studies)
To pay for specialist tuition (eg for dyslexia, or sign language interpreters/communicators, note takers, mobility support etc).

• General Allowance (for each year of your studies)
To pay for extra books or photocopying, tapes and disks etc

• Travel Costs
Your funder will consider additional travel costs that you incur because of disability.

Post-Graduate DSA will consist of one amount per year for all costs.

Who can help me with DSAs?

The Disability Advice Team can help you with DSAs, this might include:

• Applying for DSAs
• disability (eg dyslexia report or medical evidence)
• Assessment process
• Making support arrangements

The DirectGov website also has information on DSAs and application forms to download:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/EducationAndTraining/HigherEducation/index.htm

Who can apply for DSAs?

You can apply for DSAs if you are a ‘home’ student and attend a full or part time (50% of a full-time) Higher Education course. This includes:

• A Bachelor’s degree (BA, BSc, BEd, BEng, BMus, LLB, BMED)
• A Higher National Diploma or Higher National Certificate (HND, HNC)
• A Diploma of Higher Education
• An undergraduate masters degree (Scottish MA, Meng, Mpharm, Mphys)
• A postgraduate course that requires a first degree as an entry qualification and is for a minimum of 1 year (full time). (Research and taught masters courses, doctorates, postgraduate diplomas and certificates.)

How do I apply?

You apply to the following agencies for DSAs

• Student Finance England (SFE), if you are from England
• Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) if you are from Scotland
• The Local Education and Library Board (ELB) if you are from Northern Ireland
• Student Finance Wales if you are from Wales
• The NHS Student Grants Unit if you are receiving funding from the NHS for a programme of study in nursing, midwifery and other professions linked to health and social care
• If the General Social Care Council funds your course, they or the NHS may provide your DSAs. Please check with them.

You must have submitted an application for statutory student funding to the agency relevant to you as listed above before applying for DSAs.  You do not need to have actually taken out any student loans at the point of application.

In order to apply for DSAs, you will require evidence of your disability. This could either be:

• A medical report/letter; or
• An up-to-date dyslexia report, produced after your 18th birthday

You will also need to complete a DSA application form provided by your funding body. DSAs are not means-tested.

DSAs are not provided as a fixed cash allowance but are needs-based; therefore, you will be required to have an assessment of your study needs which will detail your individual support requirements for your particular course (ie for computer equipment and/or other support).  This needs assessment will be carried out at a local Assessment Centre and assistance to book an appointment is available through Student Health and Wellbeing, contactable via the i-zone.

My DSAs have been agreed, what now?

When DSAs have been agreed, you will receive notification from your funder as to what they will pay for. At this stage, we suggest that you discuss how to implement the agreement with one of the staff in the Disability Advice Service in the Department of Student Support & Guidance.

You can make an appointment by contacting the i-zone on 01227 782222 or by emailing the relevant member of staff in the Disability Advice Service, if you have already had contact with them.

We recommend that you do this quickly as quotes for equipment will only be valid for a few weeks and any delay in applying for the support recommended may result in new quotes having to be obtained.