Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)
What is DSA?
The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is an allowance for disabled students to pay for disability related support during the duration of a course.
It pays for a range of support including small and large items of equipment as well as support workers. It does not pay for support and services that universities provide to all students routinely.
Your Disability Adviser will provide you with more detailed information about DSA and advise on the appropriateness of making a claim.
Eligibility for a DSA claim
You will need to find out from your funding authority if you are eligible to claim DSA. Eligibility depends on various factors, such as the kind of course you are studying at University and whether you have any disability related support requirements.
Find out if you are eligible:
- Students from Scotland: Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)
- Students from England: Student Finance England (SFE)
- Students from Wales: Student Finance Wales
- Students from Northern Ireland: Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI)
If you are studying at postgraduate level (including PhD level) you may still be eligible to claim DSA. The organisation you apply to for DSA will be determined by the organisation which is funding your research e.g. if your research is funded by the ESRC then you will need to approach the ESRC regarding a DSA claim.
You will need to provide robust professional evidence of disability which confirms your condition and how it affects you e.g. a letter from a GP or other medical professional.
For students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulty we will accept an up-to-date assessment from a Chartered Educational Psychologist or appropriate dyslexia specialist. If you are unsure if your existing evidence is suitable we are happy to advise you. Please contact us
Supporting you with DSA claim
When you register with the Disability Service your Disability Adviser can advise you on your eligibility for DSA. If making a DSA claim is appropriate your Disability Adviser will carry out a "needs assessment" of your disability support needs. Once the needs assessment is complete, they will send your DSA claim to the appropriate funding authority.
Your funding authority will write to you with the result of your claim and provide with information and advice about accessing the recommended support and, where appropriate, ordering equipment or purchasing small items such as computer consumables. This advice may vary from one funding authority to another.
An evaluation on appropriate equipment and/or software will form part of the ‘needs assessment’. Your Disability Adviser will discuss this with you.
The Disability Service has a preferred supplier who will provide itemised quotes for recommended items of equipment. This could include assistive software and/or ergonomic accessories. You will be asked to check the quote to ensure that you are happy with it.
There are advantages in using the University’s supplier because of the high level of after sales service. The Disability Service will also arrange for you to have training in using the recommended assistive software.
Attending an Access Centre for a DSA needs assessment
Your funding authority will provide you with information and advice on the ordering of your equipment. This may vary from one funding authority to another.
Support for international students
If you have a disability, medical condition or specific learning difficulty make an appointment to speak to a Disability Adviser, preferably at the start or your course.
They will discuss your individual requirements to determine what provision you require.
Our Service has an equipment loan bank and some funding which can be used to support disabled students who are not eligible for DSA. Relevant supporting evidence is required.