Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Specialist equipment allowanceNon-medical helper allowanceGeneral allowance
Full-timeUp to £5,849 for the whole courseUp to £23,258 a yearUp to £1,954 a year
Part-timeUp to £5,849 for the whole courseUp to £17,443 a yearUp 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.

You can get help with the costs of:

  • specialist equipment, for example a computer if you need one because of your disability
  • non-medical helpers
  • extra travel because of your disability
  • other disability-related costs of studying

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.

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.

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:

  • specific learning difficulty, for example dyslexia or ADHD
  • mental health condition, for example anxiety or depression
  • physical disability, for example if you have to use crutches, a wheelchair or a special keyboard
  • sensory disability, for example if you’re visually impaired, deaf or have a hearing impairment
  • long-term health condition, for example cancer, chronic heart disease or HIV

You must also:

  • be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning)
  • qualify for student finance from Student Finance England (SFE), Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS), Student Finance Wales (SFW) or Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI)
  • be studying on a course that lasts at least a year

You cannot get DSAs from SFE, SAAS, SFW or SFNI if you are:

  • an EU student
  • eligible for NHS Disabled Students’ Allowances (this is a separate scheme but Book My Assessment can also conduct your assessment for these alternate funders – Please contact us for more information)
  • getting equivalent support from another funding source, like from your university or a social work bursary

You will not automatically get DSAs - you need proof of your eligibility.

Disabilities or long-term health conditionA copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant – you can also fill in the disability evidence form (PDF, 65KB)
Mental health conditionA 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 dyslexiaA 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:

  • a first degree, for example BA, BSc or BEd
  • a Foundation Degree
  • a Certificate of Higher Education
  • a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
  • a Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • a Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
  • a postgraduate course
  • Initial Teacher Training

You can check with your university or college if your course is recognised.

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.

Part-time courses that started before 1 September 2012

Your course must not last more than twice as long as the equivalent full-time course.

Part-time courses starting from 1 September 2012

Your course cannot be more than 4 times longer than the equivalent full-time course. Your course must last at least a year.

Part-time postgraduate master’s courses

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 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.

If you have not applied for student finance

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.

Claim back your expenses using the DSAs paper application form.

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.

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.

It is important to us at Book My Assessment that you are happy and content with the services we supply. We do however acknowledge that from time to time our customers may be unhappy with the service or goods they have received. If you happen to be unsatisfied with our service, please see our complaints procedure.

Student Finance England
PO Box 210
United Kingdom

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