Disabled Students' Allowances

What are Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)?

DSAs help pay for extra costs a student might have as a direct result of their disability, including a long-term health condition, mental-health condition, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or specific learning difficulty. They must meet the definition of a disability under the Equality Act 2010.

They can help with the cost of having a person to support the student, items of specialist equipment, travel and other study-related costs.

DSAs don’t usually have to be paid back, unless the student leaves their course early.

Who can apply?

Students could get DSAs if they have:

  • a physical disability
  • a long-term health condition or mental-health condition, such as anxiety or depression
  • a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia
  • a developmental disorder, such as Autism spectrum disorder or ADHD/ADD
  • a progressive medical condition, such as multiple sclerosis, cancer or HIV
  • a sensory impairment that could affect their ability to see or hear

DSAs are available to full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Whether or not a student can get DSAs won’t be affected by their age or any previous study they might have.

What’s available?

DSAs don’t depend on household income – what a student can get depends on their individual needs.

The student will have to attend an appointment at a study needs assessment centre to talk to a specialist about what type of support would help them. They’ll send us a report to tell us what support they recommend. We’ll review the report and make a final decision. We’ll then send the student a letter telling them what they can get.

The following table shows the maximum amounts available for 2020/21.


Maximum for full-time undergraduate students

Maximum for part-time undergraduate students

Non-medical helper allowance

£23,258 a year

Details coming soon

Specialist equipment allowance

£5,849 for the duration of their course

Details coming soon

General allowance

£1,954 a year

Details coming soon

Travel allowance

Reasonable spending on extra travel costs as a result of the student’s condition.

How to apply

If they’re a full-time student and applying for other student finance, such as a Tuition Fee Loan, they’ll be able to apply for DSAs from their online account after they’ve submitted their main student finance application.

After they’ve applied for DSAs, they’ll be told what evidence they need to send us to support their application.

If they’re only applying for DSAs and no other type of student finance, they need to complete a paper application form.

They’ll be able to download this from www.studentfinancewales.co.uk/forms when the service opens.


When students apply for DSAs, they need to give us evidence of their disability. 

This table shows the evidence they should send us:

For specific learning difficulties

A copy of a full diagnostic report from:

  • a practitioner psychologist, or
  • a specialist teacher holding a current Assessment Practising Certificate.

For physical or sensory disabilities, long-term health conditions and mental-health conditions

A Disability Evidence Form or a copy of a written statement or letter from a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This letter should confirm the long-term effects that your disability has on you being able to carry out day-to-day activities, including education.

For Autism spectrum disorders

A copy of one of the following:

  • a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) from a local authority,
  • an Educational Health Care Plan, or
  • a written statement or letter from a doctor or qualified medical professional which confirms the long term effects your disorder has on your ability to carry out day to day activities, including education.

The student will have to pay for any tests they need to prove they’re able to get DSAs. If they need a test but can’t afford to pay for it, they may be able to get financial help from their university or college.

Getting information in other formats

Students can order forms and guides in Braille, large print or audio by emailing their Customer Reference Number along with which form and format they require to brailleandlargefonts@slc.co.uk or they can call us on 0141 243 3686.

Please note, this email address and telephone number can only deal with requests for alternative formats of forms and guides.

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