Here’s everything you need to know about DSA student finance
DSA stands for Disabled Students’ Allowance; it is a government grant that supports people with learning difficulties, health problems or disabilities with the costs associated with studying.
DSA student finance is available to full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students who are UK residents. Applying for DSA is a one-time process that rolls over into the full length of your undergraduate studies. However, some students will need to reapply; if you are unsure, we advise that you talk to your funding body..
We’re going to talk you through everything you need to know.
You can apply for DSA student finance if you have a disability that affects your ability to study, including:
- A mental health condition, such as depression
- A specific learning difficulty, such as ADHD, dyslexia or dyspraxia
- A physical disability
- A long-term health condition, such as cancer or diabetes.
DSA student finance isn’t means tested, so your personal and household income aren’t taken into consideration. DSA is granted on a case-by-case basis; two people with the same disability may receive different levels of support due to individual needs. There is no age restriction on who can receive DSA.
What can DSA funding pay for?
DSA student finance can offer support for different aspects of your studies.
There may be specialist equipment or software that you need during your studies, such as:
- A computer
- A printer or scanner
- A specialist chair, table or back support
- Training to use specialist equipment
- Insurance for specialist equipment
- Specialist software, e.g. for screen reading or voice recognition.
DSA student finance can also pay for non-medical help by employing support workers. This includes mentors, note-takers or sign-language interpreters and more. It may also be paid as a general or travel allowance, supporting you with items such as printer cartridges or travel costs.
The assessment process
When applying for DSA student finance, the process is as follows:
- You start by filling in the DSA application form and returning it to your funding body, along with medical evidence. If you qualify, you’ll receive a letter
- Once you have your letter, you can get in contact with us to arrange your needs assessment; you can also book your assessment online. We will also ask you to share relevant documentation with us
- You will attend your assessment which involves a relaxed chat with an experienced assessor. After your assessment, you’ll receive a report that underlines personal recommendations
- The funding body will review the recommendations, and you’ll receive a letter that confirms that your support has been agreed upon (you will be notified if there are any changes beforehand).
Frequently asked questions
How much do you get for DSA student finance?
DSA is needs-tested, so the amount will vary depending on your circumstances. For the 2022-23 academic year, students who receive DSA support can receive funding of up to £25,575 a year from Student Finance England, and £32,546 from Student Finance Wales.
How is DSA student finance paid?
The funding is used to pay for equipment and services that will aid your studies. Usually, the money is paid directly to the organisation(s) supplying equipment or a service.
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.
When should I apply for DSA student finance?
You can apply for DSA student finance at almost any time during your course, but many people choose to apply at the same time as their student finance. Some choose to apply as a pre-entry student, ahead of starting a September course, and you can’t apply within the last few months of your course.
If you need any help or support, contact the Access for Students team. We are more than happy to advise you and answer any questions you may have.