What are Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)?
The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a grant that helps to pay for additional equipment and support that you may need as a direct result of your physical disability, mental health condition, long term illness or any other disability.
You can get the allowances on top of your other student finance. You will not need to repay DSAs.
If you’re a part-time student your DSA funding level will be proportionate to the amount of points you are studying per year compared to a full time course.
How much you get depends on your individual needs - not your household income.
How much is the DSA allowance for the 2020 to 2021 academic year?
|Specialist equipment allowance||Non-medical helper allowance||General allowance|
|Full-time||Up to £5,849 for the whole course||Up to £23,258 a year||Up to £1,954 a year|
|Part-time||Up to £5,849 for the whole course||Up to £17,443 a year||Up to £1,465 a year|
Postgraduates can get a single allowance of up to £20,580 a year.
These figures are the maximum amounts - most students get less.
What can DSAs pay for?
You can get help with the costs of:
You may get a new computer if you do not already have one, or your current one does not meet your study needs. More information will be provided to you if you’re assessed as needing a new computer.
If you are funded by SFE, and have been recommended a computer as part of your assessment, you will need to pay the first £200, which is the minimum cost that any student is likely to incur when buying a computer.
DSAs do not cover disability-related costs you’d have if you were not attending a course, or costs that any student might have.
What is a DSA ‘Needs Assessment’?
Once your eligibility for a DSA is confirmed, your funder will ask you to contact an assessment centre to work out what help you need. Book My Assessment can help with arranging this and can conduct your DSA Needs Assessment.
You should not book an appointment until your funder supplies you with a confirmation letter known as a DSA1.
You do not pay anything personally for your assessment. The assessment fee is paid for by your funder through any DSAs entitlement you may have.
After the assessment, you’ll get a report listing equipment and other support you can get for your course.
Do not buy any equipment until you’ve been assessed – you will not be reimbursed for it.
How will my DSA be paid?
Money is paid either into your bank account or directly to the organisation providing the service or equipment.
You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) if you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and have a disability that affects your ability to study, such as a:
You must also:
Who is not eligible?
You cannot get DSAs from SFE, SAAS, SFW or SFNI if you are:
Proving you’re eligible
You will not automatically get DSAs - you need proof of your eligibility.
|Disabilities or long-term health condition||A copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant – you can also fill in the disability evidence form (PDF, 65KB)|
|Mental health condition||A copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant – you can also fill in the disability evidence form (PDF, 65KB)|
|Specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia||A copy of a ‘diagnostic assessment’ from a practitioner psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher|
You could get extra help to pay for a new diagnostic assessment.
Your course must be in the UK and one of the following:
You can check with your university or college if your course is recognised.
Part-time course intensity
For part-time students, your course intensity will affect how much you get.
‘Course intensity’ means how long your course takes to complete each year compared to an equivalent full-time course. You can check course intensity with your university or college.
The rules are different depending on your course.
Your course must not last more than twice as long as the equivalent full-time course.
Your course cannot be more than 4 times longer than the equivalent full-time course. Your course must last at least a year.
If you’re applying for a Postgraduate Loan for a part-time master’s degree, the course must not last more than twice as long as the full-time equivalent.
How to apply
How you apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) depends on whether you’re studying full-time or part-time.
If you’ve already applied for student finance Sign in to your student finance account to start your DSAs application.
The application for DSAs should be on your ‘to-do list’. If it is not, select ‘change your circumstances’ to apply.
If you do not have an online account because you applied for student finance by post, use the DSAs paper application form.
You can apply for DSAs when you apply for student finance online. If you do not need student finance, you can apply just for DSAs by filling in the DSAs paper application form. You cannot apply for student finance online once you’ve applied for DSAs.
Apply using the DSAs paper application form. You cannot apply online.
If you’re already getting DSAs
Claim back your expenses using the DSAs paper application form.
How long does it take?
You’ll get confirmation of whether your application is successful within 6 weeks.
It can take up to 14 weeks to get your DSAs support in place as this is done separately.
Contact the disability adviser at your university or college if you need advice about financial help.
If your circumstances change
Contact your funder if your circumstances change as this may affect what you’re entitled to. For example, if your condition gets worse you may be able to get extra help.
You can ask for an explanation or to have your case reviewed if your application is turned down. Contact your funder for more details.
Where do I send my DSA1 application form if I am an SFE student?
If you have any difficulties completing this online form, please contact us using any of the following methods:
Lines are open from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.
We aim to respond to your enquiry within 1 business day.
Our web-chat is available from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.