Student Finance Centre
Students with a disability
Financial support from the Government
The Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) is available to help with extra costs disabled students may have whilst studying their course, as a direct result of their disability or specific learning difficulty. The DSA is non-means tested support and can help with areas such as travel, a non-medical helper (e.g. note-taker or reader), specialist equipment and other course-related costs. To apply, you must be a home full or part-time student, studying an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
The allowances for 2012/13 are as follows:
- Specialist Equipment Allowance: Up to £5,161 for the whole course.
You can apply for this once during your course and it is for equipment that you may need to help you during your course, such as a computer or specialist software.
- Non-Medical Helpers Allowance: Up to £20,520 per year.
This is to help pay for people to assist you with non-medical needs. such as a sign language interpreter or note taker.
- General: Up to £1,724 per year.
This allowance is to help pay for anything not covered by the other allowances, e.g. Braille paper, talking tapes, etc.
Part-time students attending at least 50 per cent of a full-time course are also eligible for the DSA. The rates are as follows:
- Equipment Allowance: £5,161
- Non-Medical Helpers Allowance: £15,390
- General Allowance: £1,293
Postgraduate students can also claim a maximum DSA of £10,260 which covers all three categories of the allowance.
When to apply
You should apply for DSA at the same time as you apply for your loans/grants through Student Finance England. During the online application you can request a ‘short’ application form for DSA (DSA1), which will be sent out to you. If you are not applying for a loan or grant from Student Finance England, you will need to complete the ‘long' version of the application, available to download from Student Finance England. The assessment process can take up to three months to complete therefore you are advised to apply as soon as possible.
How to apply
Student Finance England is responsible for establishing your eligibility. For additional information regarding assistance with disabilities, contact our Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre (ASDAC) based in the Nuffield Centre on 023 9284 3462.
Students studying NHS-funded courses may also apply for the DSA through the NHS Grants Unit. For more information visit the NHS bursaries website.
Felicity has received support from the Disabled Students' Allowance and the Access to Learning Fund: