Booking an assessment
The NAC will make an acknowledgement of any contact within one working day; the query or question will be responded to as soon as possible, usually within 48 hours, but at the worst within a maximum of 10 working days.
For the week beginning the 15th April, the waiting time for the next DSA Needs Assessment appointment is 14 working days.
The KPI for appointment time is 15 working days.
You will be given a provisional appointment date/time when you contact us.
To confirm your appointment we need a copy of your:
- DSA eligibility letter (DSA1); which you will have been sent by your Funding Body (typically Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales or the NHS) that confirms that you have been accepted for the DSA and asks you to book a DSA Needs Assessment.
- Medical evidence; which is the evidence that you sent in with your application to the DSA to prove to your Funding Body that you have a disability.
Once we have received the above documentation, this will allow us to confirm your appointment.
Once you have an appointment, you will also be asked to complete a pre-assessment form which can be done online.
We are required to tell you that you have 1 working day from making contact with the centre to send these documents; otherwise your appointment may have to be rescheduled for a later date. However, do not worry if you have any difficulties providing the required documentation, please contact us to discuss these difficulties as soon as possible, as we will always do our best to keep to the original appointment date and time.
To make the process as smooth and as quick as possible, please ensure you have these documents scanned in electronically before calling the centre to make your booking.
You will have to complete an online ‘Pre-Assessment form‘ before your appointment. If you are unable to complete this form online, please contact the NAC and request an alternative format.
This form is, amongst other things, to make sure that we have your correct details and to give you a chance to record any difficulties that you may experience.
Your needs assessment
Once your Funding Body accepts that you are eligible for the DSA it will ask you to have a DSA assessment carried out so that your specific individual needs can be assessed. The assessment will identify the types of possible equipment and other support that you may need, how much it will cost and where to get it from. Once they have this information they can release the funding for your DSA.
The assessment fee is fully inclusive and is met through the student’s Disabled Student’ Allowance (General Allowance). Assessment centres will charge a single assessment fee, which will cover all work required for the duration of course study. This will include:
- Additional needs with which a student presents.
- Any activities undertaken by the assessor or centre to review the student’s DSA support, for the duration of the original course.
- Liaison with funding bodies, equipment suppliers HEIs or other stakeholders for the purpose of review of the student’s support needs.
Students who present with an additional diagnosis during the course will receive a response from the original centre, in accordance with the above points. The NAC’s fully inclusive Assessment fee is £650, which is paid for by the DSA through the DSA’s General Allowance.
Home assessments can be arranged; however, this service is only available for specific disability related reasons and is at the discretion of your Funding Body and the centre manager.
You can decide at which assessment centre you would like your assessment to take place. There are approximately 180 centres around the country. You can find a searchable list of those centres on the DSA-QAG web site though you must contact your chosen centre directly to make an appointment.
The appointment is likely to take between 1.5 and 2.5 hours; the exact length of time depends on the complexity of your individual needs.
Your eligibility letter and medical evidence need to be sent to the centre prior to your assessment; therefore you do not need to bring any documents to your needs assessment.
Needs Assessment Centre at Northampton: you can request a parking space at the time of booking. The space is located close to the centre at Avenue campus; parking at the University of Northampton is now managed by an external ANPR company; details will be given at the time of booking if parking on campus is needed. There are also two Accessible parking spaces directly outside the centre.
Norwich Outreach Assessment Centre: we do not offer parking facilities at this centre. St Andrews Car park is the closest pay and display car park; it is located within 2 minutes walk of the centre.
Bury St Edmunds Outreach Centre: there is a dedicated bookable parking space located directly in front of the centre; however, we cannot guarantee the availability of this. There is also ample parking in the supermarket opposite the centre; there is a pedestrian crossing and the centre is just on the other side of the road.
Cambridge Outreach Centre: there is parking directly outside the office building in which the Outreach Centre is located. There are a lot of no parking signs, which are not relevant to students attending a Needs Assessment for the DSA. If you have any concerns over where you park outside the Outreach Centre please talk to your assessor once you have parked and they will confirm that you can park there or give you alternatives.
After your assessment
After your assessment has been completed, your assessor will write a Needs Assessment Report (NAR) outlining the recommendations based on what was discussed during your assessment. You should receive this within 10 working days from the date of your assessment.
A copy of your final report will be sent to you and to your funding body at the same time.
If you requested a draft copy of your report you have 5 working days to respond. If you do not respond within these 5 days the report will be sent to your funding body.
The entitlement letter (DSA2 Notification of Entitlement) from your funding body (SFE/NHS) confirms what support they have agreed to fund. Follow the instructions written on this letter.
If the DSA-2 Notification of Entitlement letter you receive from your funding body confirms that you are entitled to specialist equipment, you can go ahead and order this equipment.
Using the details provided in this letter, contact the supplier to order your equipment as soon as possible (supplier’s contact details can be found in your report in section E). If you require help with ordering equipment, you can show this letter to your Disability Coordinator/Advisor at your university, who may be able to help you.
Equipment (hardware only) supplied by a DSA-QAG approved supplier will be covered by insurance and warranty for the duration of your course.
We advise you to fill in and return any warranty or registration cards / online forms provided with your equipment; these entitle you to a certain amount of support from the manufacturers.
Your needs assessor will ensure that your computer can run the software recommended.
If you have your own suitable computer, make sure that its insurance and warranty are extended to cover your course of study. DSAs funding is available for insurance and warranty cover for your existing personal computer. It is essential that you let your funding body know if you are unable to extend your insurance or warranty,
Any exam recommendations have to be approved by your university. Contact your Disability Coordinator/Advisor as soon as possible to find out how to organise these adjustments.
If recommended and approved, start keeping receipts for consumables, for example photocopying and printing costs as these costs can be reimbursed by your funding body if you have a suitable receipt.
Read additional information on the dedicated page on YourDSA website.