Disabled Students Allowance

DSAs are designed to help with the costs that you incur, in attending your course, as a direct result of your disability or specific learning difficulty. They are available to both full-time students and part-time students studying at least 50% of a full-time course.

DSAs are not means-tested and are determined solely by your level of need. Needs could include:

  • specialist equipment
  • a non-medical helper
  • extra travel costs and more...

Unlike a student loan. it does not need to be repaid.

Eligibility

You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) if you have a disability, eg:

  • long-term health condition
  • mental health condition
  • specific learning difficulty like dyslexia or dyspraxia

You must also:

  • be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning)
  • have a condition that affects your ability to study
  • qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
  • be studying on a course that lasts at least a year

Who isn’t eligible

You can’t get DSAs from Student Finance England 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, eg from your university or a social work bursary

It is important you let your awarding authority, e.g. Student Finance England, know you have a disability as soon as possible should you want to apply for DSA. It is suggested you make your application 6-9 months before your course begins, but you can apply for it at any point before or during your course.

Evidence of your disability or learning difficulty, such as a letter from a medical professional or a ‘diagnostic assessment’ are required if you are to be eligible for DSA. You must also fill in various forms depending on whether you are a full-time, part-time or post-graduate student. Further details of said forms can be found via the links below:

https://www.studential.com/applying/UCAS-for-disabled-students

https://www.gov.uk/student-finance

For the academic year 2014/15, the maximums for full-time and part-time higher education students are:

Full-time undergraduate students

  • Specialist equipment allowance - up to a maximum of £5,212, for the entire course
  • Non-medical helpers allowance - for help with study related personal support, up to £20,725 a year
  • General allowance - up to £1,741 a year
  • Travel costs - students may claim reasonable costs if they have to pay extra costs to attend university because of a disability. You will not be eligible for everyday travel costs, which any student would expect to pay.

Part-time undergraduate students

  • Specialist equipment allowance - up to a maximum of £5,212, for the entire course
  • Non-medical helpers allowance - as a percentage of the full-time rate up to £15,543 per year
  • General allowance - as a percentage of the full-time rate in the same way as the non-medical helpers allowance, up to £1,305 a year
  • Travel costs - students may claim reasonable costs if they have to pay extra costs to attend university because of a disability. You will not be eligible for everyday travel costs, which any student would expect to pay.

Postgraduate students

Postgraduate students (including Open University students and other distance learners) can apply for a single allowance to cover all costs.
The maximum allowance for 2014/2015 is £10,362.
The money will either be paid into your bank account or directly to the supplier of the services - for example your university, college or equipment supplier.