How to apply for DSA’s

Your resource for all things DSA

You don’t need to have a confirmed place at University or College before you can apply for DSA’s and you can apply at any point during your studies. However, we recommend that you apply early so that you can get the most out of your support throughout your studies. To find out how to apply, follow the steps below.

In order to qualify for the Disabled Students’ Allowances you MUST provide medical evidence of your disability, medical health condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty. If you have Dyslexia, for example, you will need to provide a copy of your diagnostic assessment from an Educational Psychologist or Specialist Teacher.

The DSA cannot provide funding for diagnostic reports or any other costs incurred whilst obtaining medical evidence. Some universities and colleges may be able to provide assistance with these costs. You can discuss this with your Disability Officer.

If you have a long-term health condition or mental health condition, please click here and scroll to the bottom of the link page to be directed to the Disability Evidence Form.

If your Funding Body is not Student Finance England, please follow the links below:

Student Finance Wales

Student Finance Northern Ireland

Student Awards Agency Scotland


Research Councils UK

The next step is to let Student Finance know you wish to apply for the DSA.

If you have already applied for Student Finance: Sign in to your account to start your application. This should be on your ‘to-do list’. If not, select ‘change your circumstances’ to apply. You will need to provide copies of your medical evidence at this point.

If you do not need Student Finance, or if you applied by post, you can use the DSA paper application form, found here. Part-time students will also need to use this form.

If you are eligible for the Disabled Students Allowance, you will receive an approval letter from your Funding Body. This will usually take around 6 weeks to arrive and is known as your DSA1 letter. Click here to see what this might look like.

The next step is to arrange to attend a Needs Assessment at a location of your choice. You can use our Location Search to find your nearest one. This will give you contact details for each centre as well as a link to their websites for further information. To find out more about the Assessment, please click here.

We also recommend that you contact the Disability Team at your University or College at this point, to let them know you have been approved for DSA. This means that they can look into implementing any ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ e.g. extra time in exams, directed reading lists, providing lecture slides in advance, in order to support you.

On some occasions, your funding body may contact you and advise that either further information is required or that you need to provide additional evidence of your disability. This does not mean that you are not eligible for Disabled Students Allowances, it may just be that you did not complete your application form correctly. If you are advised that you are not eligible for DSA support you can appeal to your funding body. Your Disability Officer may also be able to offer you further assistance.

Following the Needs Assessment, the assessor will write a Needs Assessment Report, detailing all the recommended support, as discussed during the assessment. You will receive a copy of this report and with your permission, it will also be sent to the Disability Officer at your University/College so they can better understand how to support you.

Your Funding Body will review the report and consider the recommendations made by the assessor against their policy and regulations. After they have reviewed the Needs Assessment Report they will advise you of what has been approved. 

Please note; It is important that you do not purchase any items until you receive your Needs Assessment Report as you will not be reimbursed.

After the Funding Body has made a decision on your recommendations, you will receive a DSA2 Letter which will outline exactly what equipment and support has been approved The letter also includes the contact details of each of the support providers so that you can arrange for your recommendations to be implemented. Click here to see what the DSA2 Letter looks like.

Eligible postgraduate students will receive their DSA in one single payment for the duration of their course.

Once you have the letter from your funding body informing you of your approved support, equipment and/or training approved for you, it is important that you make arrangements to put these in place as soon as possible. You need to follow the instructions on your DSA2 letter in order to do this.

Next: Please click here to find out how to receive your support.

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