Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) provides financial help for higher education students with a specific learning difference like dyslexia, physical disability, long-term health condition or mental health condition. The DSA helps meet the extra costs you may incur during your studies, helping you to study on an equal basis with other students. It is not means tested and is a grant, not a loan, so it does not have to be paid back.
Who can get DSA funding?
Students with specific learning differences or disabilities can apply if they are enrolled on or applying to study on a full-time or part-time undergraduate course (a degree or HND-level course), including Open University and other distance-learning courses, or are on an eligible postgraduate course. If you have a speciﬁc learning difficulty such as dyslexia you must provide evidence of this in the form of a diagnostic assessment report to prove that you are eligible for DSA funding.
If you suspect that you may be dyslexic or have another speciﬁc learning difﬁculty, but have never had an official diagnosis, it is possible to arrange an assessment to confirm this, enabling you to apply for DSA. Your university will usually pay for this assessment and it shouldn’t cost you anything. See ‘How do I apply?’, below, for further advice on getting assessed and proving your eligibility for DSA.
What does DSA funding provide?
For dyslexic students, and those with other specific learning differences, the DSA typically provides funding for the support below (the support agreed varies from case to case):
- A contribution to the costs of equipment, often including a computer, specialist software, dictaphone, or scanner.
- Help with the costs of photocopying, printing, computer supplies and books.
- Non-Medical Helper support, including mentoring support, where required.
- Specialist one-to-one study skills support to help you to develop your capacity for independent study. The Degree Doctor offers this specialist support to help you achieve your goals.
How can I use my funding for one-to-one support?
You do not have to receive your support from the institution where you are studying. You can request to change your supplier of study skills support by contacting your Needs Assessor. Independent Study Skills Tutors like The Degree Doctor are flexible over when and where you receive your support, fitting around your timetable and other responsibilities to provide exactly the support you need.
How do I apply?
For more information on eligibility, evidencing your disability, and how to apply, see the useful links below. Your university’s Disability Officer or Student Support Office will be able to guide you through the application process and should be your first port of call, but we also offer a free of charge application assistance service – get in touch if you need help applying for DSA funding or simply want to know more about it.
Remember – you can apply at any time during your course (even in your final year), but it can take up to 14 weeks for your application to be processed, so it’s a good idea to apply early!
- Short videos on DSA, the application process and what happens at your needs assessment.
- Bridging the Gap: A Guide to the Disabled Students’ Allowances – Student Finance England’s booklet.
- A quick guide to applying for DSA – Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)
- Further information and application forms at the GOV.UK DSA page.