Extra help for students with a disability


Overview

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is extra support on top of your other student finance and can be used to pay for study-related costs such as equipment, non-medical help, travel and photocopying and printing.

You can apply for DSA to cover some of the extra costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.

You can get help with the costs of:

  • specialist equipment, for example a laptop if you need one because of your disability
  • non-medical helpers, for example a person such as a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter or specialist note-taker
  • extra travel costs, to attend your course or placement because of your disability
  • other disability-related costs of studying, for example having to print additional copies of documents for proof-reading

What's available

How much support you can get and what you can spend it on depends on your individual needs, not your household income.

You do not need to pay Disabled Students’ Allowance back.

2021 to 2022 academic year

Full-time or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate students can get up to £31,831 a year for support. This can be used to cover the costs of specialist equipment, a non-medical helper and more general costs you may have.

There’s also a travel allowance available to cover any study related travel costs you may have due to your disability. This is assessed on a case by case basis.

2020 to 2021 academic year

The table shows how much you could get depending on whether you’re a full-time or part time undergraduate student:

  Full time Part time
Specialist equipment Up to £5,849 for your whole course Up to £5,849 for your whole course
Non-medical helper Up to £23,258 a year Up to £17,443 a year
General allowance Up to £1,954 a year Up to £1,465 a year
Travel allowance Reasonable spending Reasonable spending

 

Who qualifies

You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance if you have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 that affects your ability to study, such as a:

  • specific learning difficulty, for example dyslexia or ADHD
  • mental health condition, for example anxiety or depression
  • physical disability, for example if you have to use crutches, a wheelchair or a special keyboard
  • sensory disability, for example if you’re visually impaired, deaf or have a hearing impairment
  • long-term health condition, for example cancer, chronic heart disease or HIV

You must also qualify for one of the following, even if you do not want to apply for it:

  • full-time undergraduate student finance
  • part-time undergraduate student finance
  • postgraduate Master’s student finance
  • postgraduate Doctoral student finance

How to apply

How you apply depends on what type of course you’re studying and whether you’re applying for other student finance.

Applying online

If you’re a full-time undergraduate student, you can apply online after you’ve applied for your other student finance.

Applying by post

If you’re not applying for any other student finance or if you do not have an online account, you’ll need to send us an application form.

You’ll also need to send us an application form if you’re a part-time undergraduate student or a postgraduate student.

There is a guide to help you complete the form and explain what evidence you need to send:

Proving your disability

Check your online account or the application form to see what evidence you need to send us. You can also submit a disability evidence form:

Booking a needs assessment

After you’ve applied, we’ll ask you to to work out what help you need. This is called a needs assessment.

You must not book this assessment until you are told to. Your DSA can pay for the cost of the assessment.

After the assessment, you’ll be told what equipment and other support you can get for your course.

Getting paid

We’ll either pay your money into your bank account or directly to the company providing the service or equipment.

Use this form if you need to claim for costs you’ve already paid for: