Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)
Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) help with the extra costs a student may face as the direct result of an impairment, health condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. The amount you can get is not means-tested do not have to be repaid.
The amount you receive is based on your specific learning requirements that are established in your Needs Assessment.
DSA can help pay for:
- Specialist equipment you need for studying.
- Non-medical helpers, such as sign language interpreter, reader or study skills support.
- Disability-related travel costs.
- Other additional costs - for example, ink cartridges or Braille paper.
As a student applying for DSA, you must have formal medical evidence of your impairment/medical condition or a full diagnostic assessment report if you have a specific learning difficulty (completed after the age of 16). You will have to pay for any assessments to establish whether you qualify for DSA. If you need a test but cannot afford to pay for it, you may be able to get financial help through your university’s Access to Learning Fund when you have enrolled on your course.
You may be eligible to apply for DSA if you are studying on:
- an undergraduate full-time or part-time course, including distance learning (part-time degree students must be studying at least 50% of a full-time degree course)
- a PGCE course
- a part-time course of initial teacher training (ITT)
- a recognised taught and research postgraduate course
How to apply for DSA
There are two ways to apply for DSAs:
- if you’re applying for DSAs only, you complete the full form DSA1 and send it to your relevant funding body
- if you are also applying for the main student finance package with Student Finance England (SFE), you indicate on the main application form (PN1) that you want to apply for DSA – you will then be sent a ‘short’ version of the DSA1 form to complete and return to SFE with your written evidence.
For an online DSA1 form - Student Finance England:
DSA1 form - NHS [PDF]
A series of short information films on the DSA process are now available from Student Finance England. The films feature first-hand accounts from students with a variety of learning requirements who have accessed DSA and offer advice on the following areas:
- Are DSAs for me?
- How can DSAs help?
- 5 Steps to apply for DSAs
Each film has accessibility options including a sign language function and interactive transcripts.
You can view the films here - DSA Information Films >>
Remember to apply for the DSA as soon as possible. Do not wait until you have started your course.