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Help and advice

Advice and support for any student or applicant who shares a disability or additional learning need

The Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre (ASDAC) supports students and applicants who share a disability or require additional support for their academic studies.

We provide a confidential service for all students with additional learning needs, and  can give you advice on academic support.

We can also discuss what reasonable adjustments you may require and refer you to appropriate agencies for support.

Contact ASDAC, in confidence, if you have a condition that might impact on your ability to access the campus, curriculum, teaching, learning, assessments and any other University service. It’s best to contact us as soon as possible after you accept an offer - our staff can guide you through the whole process.

Opening hours

Our opening hours are Monday to Thursday 9.00am – 4.00pm and on Friday, 9.00am – 3.00pm. 

You can contact ASDAC on +44 (0)23 9284 3462 or email for further advice

Support and guidance offered by ASDAC

  • We have our own dedicated access centre, Access Portsmouth, where you can be assessed for your DSA-funded support
  • Confidential advice from disability professionals, whether you are applying from the UK, the EU or internationally
  • Advice on funding to cover disability-related support costs such as the Disabled Students’ Allowance, degree apprenticeships and other additional funding
  • Discussion and agreement on reasonable adjustments
  • Liaison with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • Advice on note-taking, mentoring and other support services
  • Access to specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • Liaison with external services such as Autism Hampshire and Clear Links – here is a short introductory video from Autism Hampshire about starting University

View our access guides and routes in the University on the AccessAble website.

From the very moment I stepped foot in Portsmouth the entire ASDAC team has been very supportive, giving me the necessary tools and directions which in one way or the other has enabled me to complete this course successfully. The fact that I have been able to complete the course alone is a miracle.

Jonathan Dumson-Kofhan, BSc (Econ) (Hons) Economics, Finance and Banking

Academic support

Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments remove or minimise the challenges you experience as a student, allowing you to develop as an independent learner.

The adjustments you will have depend on your individual needs. Reasonable adjustments may include:

  • Course materials in alternative formats
  • Access to assistive technology
  • Timetabling adjustments to help improve access
  • Specialist support to develop study skills strategies
  • Extra time during timed assessments

Exams and assessments

Support is available for your studies, including exams and assessments. Where appropriate, we will make reasonable adjustments to ensure you are given every opportunity to demonstrate your learning.

Exam adjustments

ASDAC can work with you and the academic department to provide reasonable adjustments at not only exam time but where appropriate throughout your studies.

This may include:

  • extra time for exams
  • word-processing facilities
  • rest breaks
  • assistive technology
  • alternative methods of assessment

For further information, see our policy on Adjustments for Disabled Students from our Examination and Assessment Regulations.

The University has an anonymous marking policy. So all students are assessed equally and this is based on the academic standards and outcomes of the course. 

Specialist study skills and strategies

Specialist study skills and strategies sessions help you develop your own individual skills so you can work independently. The sessions take place on a one-to-one basis and you are encouraged to discuss the areas you wish to concentrate on with the support of the tutor.

Additional funding for disabled students

If you are eligible, you should apply for additional funding as soon as possible before arriving at university. The process can take time, so the sooner you apply, the greater your chance of having everything ready when you start your course.

Disabled Students' Allowance

If you have a disability, medical condition or specific learning difference such as Dyslexia, you may be eligible for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). The support you get depends on your individual learning needs.

The Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) is not means tested.

It is a good idea to apply for DSA before you arrive at university as the process can take up to 3 months to complete. The sooner you apply, the more likely you will have the support you need at the start of your course..

Funding from the DSA can help you with:

  • travel costs
  • assistance with your with academic needs
  • specialist equipment, such as a computer

Financial support for disabled students

If you have a disability, mental health issue or long term illness, you can apply for additional funding to cover the extra study costs you may have. Find out more now.

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Financial support for disabled postgraduate students

Explore financial support for students who have disabilities or dependents during their studies.

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You have been such a brilliant support network for me and I cannot describe how grateful I am for all that you have done for me. I feel that you have played a big role in my success at Uni and I will never forget that.

Anonymous, University of Portsmouth Graduate

Local funding authorities

Appropriate evidence is required when you apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance. Make sure to check your eligibility and evidence requirements with your funding body:

If you are a Global student or applicant due to start a course not qualified for DSA (such as a Degree Apprenticeship), please contact us to discuss alternative options.

Degree apprenticeships

For more information you can visit Advanced HE and read their publication Considerations for disabled applicants to higher or degree apprenticeships. This document provides guidance for disabled students apply for a higher or degree apprenticeship in the UK

Apply for a grant or scholarship

The Snowdon Trust is a charity dedicated to providing grants to disabled and sensory impaired students in the UK.

About 100 grants are awarded each year ranging from £250 to £3,000. They cover support costs for sign language interpreters, note-takers, computers, specialist software and wheelchairs.

The Snowden Trust also provides the Snowden Masters Scholarships, in partnership with the Global Disability Innovation Hub. The Scholarships aim to support and accelerate disabled students with the ability to create change, influence others and become leaders and role-models.

The Student Health Association

The Student Health Association administers the Student Disability Assistance Fund which helps Higher Education students with disabilities in full-time or nearly full-time studies. It cannot help with fees or general living expenses. Priority is given to those who cannot obtain statutory funding. Maximum awards are £500.

You can find out more on the following link: The Student Health Association.

How to provide medical or diagnostic evidence

It is best to let us know about your disability and how it affects your life at university at the earliest opportunity.

You can contact us at any point. We are here to listen, understand your disability-related needs and find the best ways to support you.

Evidence of disability

We encourage you to provide us with evidence to help us determine the type of additional  support you might need. The type of evidence required will depend on your disability.

Please note: evidence not written in English must be translated and accredited.

A letter from your doctor or a consultant confirming your disability, and how it affects you, your studies and everyday living. This may also be used by external funding bodies when you apply for additional disability related funding. The letter should:

  • identify your condition, impairment or ongoing symptoms
  • state whether the condition will be short or long term (over 12 months) and how it will impact your day-to-day activities as a student
  • identify any medication and treatment, with any relevant side-effects

If you are looking to access additional academic support for a specific learning difference via the Disabled Students' Allowance, you will need a diagnostic assessment. The sooner you do this, the more likely all your support will be in place when you start your course.

You can get a private assessment through the following organisations:

  • The British Psychological Society (BPS) – the BPS has an online directory of chartered psychologists you can use to find a psychologist local to you to assess your learning difference
  • The British Dyslexia Association – their diagnostic assessment guide outlines the steps you will need to be assessed through their service
  • The Professional Association of Teachers of Students with SpLDs (PATOSS) – their online directory can be filtered to show teachers near you