What is DSA and who is eligible ?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) can help with additional costs disabled students may incur in attending their course as a direct result of a disability such as a physical disability, a mental health difficulty, long term illness or a specific learning difference such as dyslexia.

How to apply?

For more information and to download the application form visit  or For support completing the form contact your Funding Body or the disability team at your university.

Depending on your needs, support from the DSA could include specialist equipment, a non-medical helpers allowance, help towards the additional costs of travelling to your institution and a general allowance.

If you are a student at the University of Northampton, find out more from ASSIST.

What is a DSA Needs Assessment?

Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) Needs Assessment, also called a ‘Study Needs Assessment’ is a one to one confidential discussion between you and a trained specialist assessor to identify your learning support needs.

Your assessor then writes a comprehensive and detailed report that makes formal recommendations to your Funding Body (such as the SFE or NHS) and Institution as to how these needs should be met.  This will include recommendations and quotations for support and equipment to be provided through the DSAs. Your Needs Assessment Report (NAR) will then be sent to your Funding Body for approval and you will also receive a copy.

Our assessment fee includes the additional needs with which you may present, any activities undertaken by the assessor or centre to review your DSA support (for the duration of your original course) and liaison with funding bodies, equipment suppliers, HEIs or other stakeholders for the purpose of review of your support needs.  This fee is charged to your funding body.

What happens during a DSA needs assessment?

During your assessment your assessor will demonstrate and allow you to evaluate software, specialist equipment and technology to determine the best possible solutions to help overcome any difficulties you may experience. The assessor may also discuss and recommend other types of support for example confidential mentoring or mental health support, specialist tutoring to assist with assignments and assistive technology training.

Some examples of how DSA can help to support you in your studies:

  • purchase computer equipment to help with your course
  • provide a specialist tutor to assist with assignments
  • offer one to one confidential mentoring or mental health support
  • provide assistive software to support your studying
  • contribute to costs such as photocopying and ink cartridges
  • assist with travel costs arising as a result of a disability

What you will have to do after your assessment

Find out what you need to do after your assessment.

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