Higher education students can apply for a Disabled Students Allowance if they meet the following eligibility criteria:
- a physical or mental impairment
- a long-term health condition
- a mental health condition
- a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.
You must also:
- be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning)
- have a condition that affects your ability to study
- qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
- be studying on a course that lasts at least a year
Your course must be in the UK and one of the following:
- a first degree, eg BA, BSc or BEd
- a Foundation Degree
- a Certificate of Higher Education
- a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
- a Higher National Certificate (HNC)
- a Higher National Diploma (HND)
- a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
- a postgraduate course
- Initial Teacher Training
You need to check with your university or college that your course is recognised.
You can not get DSAs from Student Finance England if you are:
- an EU student
- eligible for an NHS Disabled Students’ Allowance (this is a separate scheme)
- getting equivalent support from another funding source - eg from your university or a social work bursary
Evidence of eligibility
You will need to show evidence that you are eligible to receive a DSA:
- Disabilities or long term health condition: Report or letter from your doctor or consultant
- Mental health condition: Report or letter from your doctor or consultant - you can also fill in the Mental Health Evidence form
- Specific Learning Difficulty (SLD) such as dyslexia: A ‘diagnostic assessment’ from a psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher - you’ll need to get reassessed if you had this done when you were under 16
DSAs are awarded on top of other student finance and do not have to be repaid. Assessment is entirely needs based and is not measured against income. Also there is no age limit.
DSAs are given purely to cover the cost of support you need as a disabled student. They are typically used to pay for specialist equipment and nonmedical helpers – like a note-taker or reader.
How to apply
Your application should be made to Student Finance England – you will find application forms at: www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas
You will need to be assessed so once you have had confirmation that you are eligible you need to arrange for an assessment – to identify the support you will need. You can use the Disabled Students' Allowances Quality Assurance Group (DSA-QAG) website to search for assessment centres near your university or college. DSAs can take up to three months to arrange, so make sure you apply for one as soon as possible.
Further information may be found here:
NHS Disabled Students Allowance
You need to be :
- An Allied Health professional : You must be on or have ben accepted onto a NHS funded course at an English university leading to professional registration as one of the following healthcare professions:
- Dental hygienist
- Dental therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Operating department practitioner
- Prosthetist and orthotist
- Speech and Language Therapist
- A nurse or a midwife: You must be on, or have been accepted onto, a NHS funded course at an English university leading to professional registration as a nurse or midwife. Enrolled nurses on conversion courses may also be eligible.
- A doctor or dentist: year 5 (or beyond) of an undergraduate programme or years 2, 3 or 4 of a graduate programme.
For further information and application forms go to Your DSA.
The leaflet below provides further information on Money – include benefits support and charitable grants.