About the DSA

Your resource for all things DSA

What are DSA’s?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is funding that helps to contribute to any additional costs a student might incur during higher education study as a direct result of a disability. This could refer to; an on-going health condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition or specific learning difficulties.

If you are unsure about whether or not you are entitled to DSA’s, please contact your university’s disability services, who will be able to advise.

The DSA is available in addition to your other student finance loans or grants and does not need to be repaid.

The funding is not a loan and not counted as income when working out whether you are entitled to benefits or Tax Credits. The amount you’ll receive depends on your individual needs and is not based on your income, nor that of your parents or partner. However, DSA’s do not cover disability-related costs you would incur if you were not attending a course, or costs that a student without a disability might encounter during their studies.

What can DSAs help pay for?

There are many things that the Disabled Students Allowances can contribute towards, depending on your individual needs. This includes;

  • Specialist Equipment e.g. computer hardware and software
  • Non-Medical Helper support such as one-to-one tuition
  • Extra travel costs incurred due to your disability
  • Miscellaneous expenditure such as the cost of extra printing
  • Other disability-related costs of studying

You may be recommended a new computer if your current computer does not meet the required specification or you do not have access to a personal one. If you are applying for DSA’s for the first time, you may be required to pay a personal contribution of £200 towards the cost of any computer, depending on your funding body. The exact support you receive will be determined through a ‘Needs Assessment’. Please click the link for more information regarding the assessment.

DSA’s are administered by several different funding bodies. Select the drop-down option below for the country you live in to find out what support you could be eligible for:

ENGLAND

The DSA for students in England is made of up four different allowances:

  1. Specialist Equipment Allowance – This is a one-off payment to cover items required for you to study for the duration of your course, for example; assistive technology software. If you require a computer, you will need to pay a £200 contribution.
  2. Non-medical Helper allowance – This helps pay for the additional costs of academic support. Non-medical helpers can assist with things such as; traininig in disability software, British sign language interpreting, specialist study skills support or a mentor.
  3. Travel allowance –This allowance helps with any additional travel costs a student may incur due to their disability.This does not cover everyday costs all students would be expected to pay for.
  4. General allowance – This is an annual allowance used to cover any other disability-related expenses not mentioned. For example; additional photocopy or printing costs incurred due to disability.

Click here for more information on Student Finance England

WALES

The DSA for students in Wales is made up of four parts:

  1. Specialist Equipment Allowance – This is a one-off payment to cover items required for you to study for the duration of your course, for example; a computer, assistive technology software.
  2. Non-Medical Helper allowance – This helps pay for the additional costs of academic support. Non-medical helpers can assist with things such as; traininig in disability software, British sign language interpreting, specialist study skills support or a mentor.
  3. Travel allowance –This allowance helps with any additional travel costs a student may incur due to their disability.This does not cover everyday costs all students would be expected to pay for.
  4. General allowance – This is an annual allowance used to cover any other disability-related expenses not mentioned. For example; additional photocopy or printing costs incurred due to disability.

Click here for more information on Student Finance Wales

SCOTLAND

The DSA for students in Scotland is made up of three allowances:

  1. Basic allowance – This is an annual payment to contribute towards the purchase of consumable items (e.g. extra photocopying and printing costs due to disability).
  2. Large items allowance – This is a one-off payment to enable you to buy or hire items of hardware or software required to assist you with study (e.g. assistive technology software, or a computer).
  3. Non-Medical Personal Help allowance – This is an annual payment to help cover the costs of one-to-one academic support for example; a sign language interpreter or mentor.

Students unable to use public transport as a direct result of their disability may also apply for travel expenses but medical evidence must be provided.

Click here for more information on the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

NORTHERN IRELAND

The DSA for students in Northern Ireland is made up of four allowances:

  1. Specialist Equipment Allowance – This is a one-off payment to cover items required for you to study for the duration of your course, for example; a computer, assistive technology software.
  2. Non-Medical Helper allowance – This helps pay for the additional costs of academic support. Non-medical helpers can assist with things such as; training in disability software, British sign language interpreting, specialist study skills support or a mentor.
  3. Travel allowance –This allowance helps with any additional travel costs a student may incur due to their disability.This does not cover everyday costs all students would be expected to pay for.
  4. General allowance – This is an annual allowance used to cover any other disability-related expenses not mentioned. For example; additional photocopy or printing costs incurred due to disability.

Click here for more information on Student Finance Northern Ireland.

CHANNEL ISLANDS AND THE ISLE OF MAN

States of Jersey

The DSA for students in the States of Jersey is made of up two allowances:

  1. Non-Medical Helper allowance –This helps pay for the additional costs of academic support. This allowance is not means tested. 
  2. Specialist Equipment allowance – This is a one-off payment to assist with the purchase of items required for study (e.g. assistive technology software), excluding laptop computers. This allowance is means tested and there may be restrictions if you apply after your course begins. 

Click here to find out more on applying for DSA’s in Jersey.

States of Guernsey

The DSA for students in the States of Guernsey is made of up two allowances:

  1. Non-Medical Helper allowance – This helps pay for the additional costs of academic support.
  2. Specialist Equipment allowance – This is a one-off payment to assist with the purchase of items required for study (e.g. assistive technology software).

Click here to find out more on applying for DSA’s in Guernsey.

The Isle of Man

Disabled students may be entitled to DSA support to help contribute towards substantial additional expenses incurred as a result of an impairment, mental health condition, or learning difficulty.

Click here to find out more on applying for DSA’s in the Isle of Man

Alternatively, if you are planning to take an eligible healthcare or social work course you should apply for DSA’s through the NHS. If you are applying through Research Councils UK please click here.

Who is eligible?

The DSA is available to both full-time and part-time students, those on unpaid sandwich courses, open and distance students, and those on postgraduate courses*. You may apply for a DSA even if you have already taken a higher education course, although you can’t apply for more than one at a time.

*This is not applicable to Scotland

You are eligible for a DSA if you meet all the following criteria:

  • You are taking a full-time or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UK (including Open University and distance learning courses) that lasts at least one year.
  • You normally live in the UK.
  • You qualify for student finance.
  • You can prove you have a disability, medical condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty which affects your ability to study

Next: Please click here to find out how to apply.

Font Resize
Contrast
%d bloggers like this: