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What is the Disabled Students’ Allowance?

By: Bill Thrall

Did you know that if you have a disability as a student, you might be entitled to additional support if you enter higher education?

The following article, Other financial support for university students by The Complete University Guide explains how they work.

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Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are available to students living in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Students can get financial support for extra study-related costs due to a disability (as defined by the Equality Act 2010).

What disabilities do DSAs cover?

Disabilities include long-term health or mental health conditions, physical disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders or specific learning difficulties like ADHD, dyslexia or dyspraxia. Depending on your needs, you could get a specialist mentor, suitable equipment, or help with disability-related travel costs. You must be studying for at least a year on a UK undergraduate or postgraduate course, whether that is full-time or part-time. This can include Open University or distance learning courses. You’ll need proof of your disability and you must be eligible for student finance. If you’ve studied previously, you are still eligible to apply. You are not eligible if you are an EU student, or get equivalent funding from another source (university, social work allowance or NHS disabled students’ allowance).

Will DSA affect my other financial support? 

DSA is not income-related. The amount you get will depend on your needs. It won’t affect other student finance (i.e. loans) you may receive. You don’t get the money up front, and you can only claim for items or help specified by your needs assessment. You order equipment or arrange your non-medical support, then send a claim with the related invoices or receipts to your student funding body. They will pay the supplier’s invoice, or reimburse you for receipts. Make sure you only buy items confirmed as eligible for funding, otherwise you may not be repaid. If you’re buying a new computer you may need to pay part of the cost yourself.  If you leave your course early, you may need to pay some costs back.

How to get the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

If you intend to study full-time and apply for a student loan, you’ll be able to apply for DSA as part of that process. If you’re not claiming student finance, or if you are a part-time student, you can apply for DSA separately. There is no deadline for applying, but do it as soon as you can because claims take a while to review. You’ll need to provide evidence of your eligibility. You’ll be told if you need to attend a study assessment centre to identify your support needs. You don’t need to reapply each year if you are getting a student loan and continuing on the same course. You need to reapply if you changed or stopped course, repeat a year of study, or change from full-time to part-time study. You’ll also need to reapply if you didn’t take out a maintenance or tuition fee loan.

Source: The Complete University Guide 2019
Available at: https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/university-tuition-fees/other-financial-support/

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