Here’s everything you need to know about claiming DSA for mental health conditions
If you’re one of the 60,000 students with a disability such as a specific learning difficulty, physical or mental health condition applying to study at a college or university in the UK this year, we want you to get the most support you can. Beyond Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), there are various sources of funding available to meet your needs.
We’ve gathered all of the additional funding and grants for disabled students in the UK, as well as details of the eligibility criteria and application process below.
DSA mental health support for students
We understand that living with a mental health condition, like any disability, can be extremely challenging. This is especially true when taking the next steps toward higher education and adapting to student life, but we’re here to help you get the most out of the support available to you. Our friendly staff are here to share their specialist advice to help you receive the support you need through a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) grant.
DSA mental health support is available in the form of a non-repayable grant to cover any study-related costs you may have as a result of your mental health condition.
What does DSA mean?
Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a needs-based funding source available to support students with disabilities in the UK. While this grant is not a direct payment of money, it can be used to acquire resources and equipment to support your studies, such as a non-medical helper allowance for a mental health tutor, or more general resources such as printing credit.
Can you get DSA funding for mental health conditions?
A lot of students with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety wonder if they are eligible for DSA support. DSA is available to support undergraduate and postgraduate students with specific learning difficulties, long-term medical, physical and mental health conditions, and sensory impairments. If you’re applying for DSA funding for mental health conditions, you’ll need to demonstrate your eligibility by providing a copy of a letter from your doctor alongside submitting a Disabled Student’s Allowance evidence form.
Mental health conditions include (but are not limited to):
- Eating disorders
What happens in a DSA study needs assessment?
Despite the official sounding name, a DSA study needs assessment is not a test of any kind. It’s an informal meeting with a friendly assessor to help you determine the best possible solutions to help you overcome study-related difficulties you may be experiencing or anticipate. Based on your discussion during the DSA study needs assessment, mental health support will be recommended by the assessor in the form of resources and equipment that will benefit your needs.
During the needs assessment, your assessor will want to learn about how you study and the areas you feel you may face challenges, such as writing essays, delivering presentations and revising for exams. Together, you can explore the different types of support available, including specialist software, equipment and one-to-one support. This is also an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.
By the end of your assessment, you and your assessor will have agreed on the recommended support you’d benefit from receiving. Your assessor will build on that discussion to create your needs assessment report, outlining all of their recommendations. This will be shared with all the people required to put the recommended support in place, so a copy will be sent to you, your funding body and, with your permission, your university.
After your report has been processed, your funding body will then contact you to confirm which recommendations they agree to fund and arrange the next steps for arranging one-to-one support or ordering equipment.
How to prepare for a DSA study needs assessment
Part of the assessment process involves opening the floor up to your questions, should you have any for the assessor. It’s a good idea to look into the different types of resources available with a DSA grant and consider which you would like to apply for. During the DSA assessment, mental health support can then be discussed with your assessor and they will use their expertise to recommend which resources may be most beneficial to you.
How to book a DSA assessment
You can book a virtual DSA assessment on our booking page for a video call assessment. Simply select a date and time that works for you, fill in your details and submit your booking request. We’ll then get in touch to confirm your appointment.
If you would prefer a face-to-face meeting at one of our assessment centres in England and Wales, call us on 01633 660 632 to arrange an in-person assessment with the team.
Frequently asked questions
How much DSA do you get for a mental health condition?
As DSA is completely needs-based, the amount of support you receive is determined by your disability and whether your course is full or part-time. DSA is not a one size fits all approach, so the amount of funding you’re eligible for is determined by an in-depth assessment of your exact needs. It is important to remember that DSA is not a sum of money paid directly to you, but is funding that your supplier receives on your behalf to provide you with the necessary support.
Do I have to fill in a DSA mental health evidence form?
There is no specific mental health evidence form involved in the DSA application process. To provide evidence of your eligibility, you will have to submit a Disabled Students’ Allowance evidence form alongside evidence of your mental health condition, such as a note from your GP or Doctor.
How long does it take to apply for DSA?
It will take up to 6 weeks to confirm if an application has been successful, and up to 14 weeks to get your DSA support in place. We recommend applying for DSA at the same time as your Student Finance Loan so that your funding is in-place at the start of your studies.
If you need any further help, contact the Access for Students team. We’re here to help by answering any questions you may have and sharing our expert advice.