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 confition 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 specalist 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 anxeity or depression
  • a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia
  • a development disorder, such as autism, 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 postgradute 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 2017/18 and 2018/19.

AllowanceMaximum for full-time
undergraduate students
Maximum for part-time
undergraduate students
Non-medical helper
£21,181 a year £15,885 a year
Specialist equipment
£5,332 for the duration of their course £5,332 for the duration of their course
General allowance £1,785 a year £1,338 a year
Travel allowance Reasonable spending on extra travel costs as a result of the student's condition.

Postgradute students can get a maximum of £10,590 a year for both full-time and part-time courses.

How to apply

Full-time undergradute students who are applying for other student finance, such as a Tuition Fee Loan, should choose the option to apply for DSAs in the main application. They can then download a 'slimline' DSAs application form and send it to us.

If they're only applying for DSAs and no other type of student finance, or if they're a postgraduate or part-time student, they should download a DSA1 application form at www.studentfinancewales.co.uk when the application service opens and send it to us.

The application process for DSAs can take around 14 weeks, so they should apply as soon as they can.


When students apply for DSAs, they need to send us evidence of their disability. This table shows the evidence they should send us:

For specific learning difficulties A full diagnostic report, produced since they turned 16, from:
  • a chartered or practitioner psychologist, or
  • a specialist teacher holding a current Assessment Practising Certificate
For physical disabilities, long-term health
conditions and mental health conditions
A report or letter from their GP or Disability Evidence Form
completed and signed by a doctor or other qualified

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 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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