Disabled Students Allowance
Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) provide extra financial help if you have a disability, mental health difficulty, medical condition or specific learning difference, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. They are available on top of the standard student finance package, don't have to be repaid and are not means tested. They are designed to help meet the extra costs students can face as a result of their disability or specific learning difficulty.
In order to be eligible for the DSA you will need to be studying on:
- a full-time Higher Education course which lasts more than a year, or
- a part-time Higher Education course that lasts at least a year and doesn't take any more than twice as long to complete as an equivalent full-time course (this includes distance learning courses)
You also need to have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of your current course of study.
You will also need to be able to provide documentary evidence of your disability, medical condition, mental health difficulty or specific learning difference.
For disabilities, medical conditions and mental health difficulties, this could be medical proof, for example a letter from an appropriate medical professional. Please find further advice on evidence needed to apply for DSA in our evidence policy here http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/cds/disability/cdsevidencepolicy/
For specific learning differences such as dyslexia, you will need to provide a copy of a diagnostic assessment carried out after you were 16 by an educational psychologist. If you need to have an updated assessment carried out please contact the Disability Office.
The DSA can help pay for:
- specialist equipment you need for studying - for example, assistive software or a voice recorder;
- a non-medical helper, such as a note-taker or study support tutor;
- extra travel costs you have to pay because of your disability, medical condition or mental health difficulty ;
- other costs - for example, photocopying or the cost of non-core text books.
English students can find more information about the purposes for which DSA funding can be used on the Direct Gov website.
Scottish Studentscan find further information on the SAAS DSA information website.
Welsh studentscan find further information on the http://www.studentfinancewales.co.uk/practitioners/products/disabled-students%E2%80%99-allowances.aspx#.VcyYcMvbKvE website.
You can find more information about how to apply for the DSA on the websites linked to above, depending on your nationality.
How does the DSA process work?
Firstly, you will need to send evidence of your disability together with a DSA1 application form (available from the websites linked to above depending on your nationality).
Once your funding body have processed your application and established your eligibility for DSA they will write to you asking you to book an Assessment of Needs. You can do this at our Assessment Centre or any other accredited assessment centre.
Once you have had your assessment, a report will be written making recommendations for support and sent to your funding body. They will then confirm the support which will be funded and explain how to go about arranging this. Find out more about the Assessment Process»
Below are the numbers to call regarding student finance queries depending on your funding body;
Student Finance England: 0300 100 0607
Student Finance Wales: 0300 200 4050
Student Finance Northern Ireland: 0300 100 0077
Student Awards Agency for Scotland 0300 555 0505
There is also a free phone in Student Services you can use to call funding bodies regarding any aspect of student finance support. Please ask at the Information Desk in Bridgeman regarding access to this phone.
Part of DSA can be used to provide human support known as Non-Medical Helper (NMH) support. Examples of this type of support include manual note takerrs, specialist mentors, and one to one study skills tutors. In the document above you will find a description of the support which CDS currently provides under the NMH scheme within DSA, and the costs we charge funding bodies for said support. This charge includes costs for administration, quality assurance and training of staff, as well as salary costs.
SFE have recently undertaken evidence based research into NMH support and have produced a manual which service providers are asked to match their provision to. You can read more about the manual here http://www.slc.co.uk/stakeholders-partners/latest-news/non-medical-help-services-reference-manual-for-england.aspx