Disabled Students’ Allowance – DSA

Support for students with a learning difficulty, health problem or disability.

Book your DSA assessment
Inclusion at Book My Assessment

Need Help?   Call us on  028 9592 9060

By completing your DSA Needs Assessment with us, you will have access to the following allowances on top of your other student finance. You will not need to repay DSAs.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students can get up to£26,000 *per year for support

Specialist Equipment Allowance

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Peripherals
  • Apps

This allowance may be used to purchase specialist equipment and software such as a screen reader, dictaphone, computer, furniture or other specialist software and hardware applications.

One-to-One Support

  • Sighted Guide
  • Student Assistant
  • Specialist Mentor
  • Specialist 1–1 Study Skills Support

A personal helper may be needed for certain disabilities e.g. note takers, sighted helpers, one-to-one study skills support, specialist mentoring support or campus buddy.

General Expenses

  • Photocopying
  • Printing
  • Ink and Paper

General expenses may cover extra printing or photocopying costs, purchasing additional course-related books or paying for binding that is associated with your particular course and disability.

Travel Allowance

  • Taxi fare
  • Mileage costs

The Travel Allowance helps with any extra travel costs students may have to pay to get to their university or college because of their disability.

*  For 2023/2024 undergraduate and postgraduate students can get up to a maximum of £26,291 for DSA support.
The actual amount awarded depends upon your individual needs.

How do I apply for DSA?

Click here to watch our short video guide on the DSA process   

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 are 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.

A DSA Needs Assessment is a friendly online, telephone or face-to-face chat with an experienced DSA assessor. After reviewing your medical evidence, the assessor will encourage you to describe the difficulties and challenges you face during study and then explore strategies to assist you. The assessor will recommend potential hardware, software, travel and non-medical-help NMH supports that best fit your individual needs.

The duration of a DSA assessment depends upon the nature and complexity of your conditions. A typical assessment will take about 90 minutes.

Undergraduates and postgraduate students in England can access up to £26,291 for full-time and part-time courses in the 2023/2024 academic year.

Ultimately, how much you get depends on your individual needs and is independent of your household income.

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.

  • Inform your assessor of the age, condition and specification (RAM and processor) of the computer you are currently using for your studies, and if you are the owner.

  • Find out about the activities the course will expect you to participate in. How is the course delivered (lectures, seminars, labs)? How many weeks does your course run for? Is there any fieldwork? Do you need to go on a placement? How are you assessed? Do you need to use any particular equipment or software? How does the workload change over the course? How much reading will you need to do? How many teaching hours are there? Do tutors expect students to use email and online resources?

  • Think about how effective your previous study strategies were. Did you have help from family, friends or teachers – people who might not be able to help as much now?

  • Speak to your tutors and disability support staff – they could have useful suggestions. Information from your tutor or disability adviser giving details of any specific concerns can be brought to the assessment.

  • If you are having a face-to-face assessment, make sure you know how to get to the centre.

  • Prior to the assessment, arrange any personal assistance or communication support needs so that your assessor is fully prepared in advance of meeting you.

  1. The first step in the process is to apply to the DSA Allowance scheme. Your local funder will assess your application and, if eligible, will issue you with a confirmation letter. This letter is commonly referred to as a DSA1 letter.

  2. As soon as you receive your DSA1 confirmation letter you should contact Book My Assessment to book your Needs Assessment interview. We will offer you an appointment within 10 days and you will have your completed DSA Needs Assessment Report (DSA NAR) 10 – 15 days after that.

  3. Once you receive our report, it can take approximately 6 weeks for your funder to order any recommended equipment and send you a confirmation (DSA2) letter.

You will not be personally charged for your assessment. The fee is paid for by your funding body and the charge by this center for a DSA Needs Assessment is £660.00.

Going to college or university is exciting, but can be daunting and requires some preparation. Book My Assessment can help ensure the supports you need are ready and available for your first day term. To do this, it is vital that you contact us to book your assessment as soon as you receive your DSA1 eligibility letter.