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About DSA's

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What are the Disabled Students' Allowances?


DSAs are grants to help students with the extra course costs they might face as a result of a disability, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty like dyslexia.
The allowances can help students with the cost of having a person to support them, such as a note-taker, items of specialist equipment, travel and other course-related costs. DSAs don't need to be paid back.
The support you get depends on your individual needs and not on your income.
For further information go to the following government link: http://www.direct.gov.uk


What support is available from Disabled Students' Allowances?

Undergraduate students may be eligible for a specialist equipment allowance, a non-medical helper allowance and general allowances.Students don't usually need to pay DSAs back.


If you leave your course early, Student Finance England may ask you to pay some of your DSA back

Undergraduate students can apply for the following allowances for academic year 2017/18.


DSA Allowence


For full-time and part-time postgraduate students there is a single allowance of up to £10,362 a year. They can use this for specialist equipment, non-medical helpers, extra travel costs or other course-related costs.


Specialist equipment allowance


This allowance goes towards any specialist equipment you may need - such as a laptop or computer software. You can also use it to pay for repairs, technical support, insurance or extended warranty costs.


Non-medical helper allowance,


This provides for helpers such as

  • Readers
  • Sign-language interpreters
  • Note takers
  • Specialist one-to-one support
  • This doesn't include medical helpers such as nurses.

    General allowance

    You can use it to buy items such as

  • print cartridges
  • braille paper
  • photocopying
  • travel expenses for attending a needs assessment


  • You can also use the general allowance to pay for specialist equipment or non-medical helpers.

    Who can get DSA



    You can be eligible for Disabled Students' Allowances if they have a disability, mental-health condition or a specific learning difficulty which affects their ability to study. There is also no age limit on receiving DSAs.
    You can apply for the DSA at any time during your course or prior to commencing your course.


    Health conditions and learning difficulties which qualify


    You may be eligible for DSAs if you have any of the following:

  • mental-health condition, such as anxiety or depression;
  • specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia;
  • developmental disorder, such as autism, ADHD/ADD;
  • progressive medical condition such as Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer or HIV;
  • sensory impairment which could affect your ability to see or hear.


  • Other conditions not mentioned on this list may be covered by DSAs.


    You can apply for DSAs if they are on a full-time or part-time undergraduate course - for example, a degree or HND-level course. This includes Open University and other distance-learning courses.


    Your course must be in the UK and one of the following:

  • Foundation Degree
  • Certificate of Higher Education
  • Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
  • postgraduate course
  • Initial Teacher Training


  • Check with your university or college that your course is recognised.


    To view or download Student Finance England’s Bridging the Gap booklet which provides further information about the DSA, go to: www.gov.uk/dsa-guides

    What does my needs assessment cover


    Fully Inclusive Single Assessment Fee


  • Additional needs with which a student presents.

  • Any activities undertaken by WSDAC ltd to review your DSA support, for the duration of the original course.

  • WSDAC ltd to liaise with funding bodies, equipment suppliers HEIs or other stakeholders for the purpose of review of the your support needs.