What DSA support can you receive, and what will DSA pay for?
Here at Access for Students, we often get asked what exactly Disabled Students’ Allowance will pay for. We also get a lot of enquiries about what support is available under DSA. We’ve provided the answers to both of these vital questions and more below to help you feel more informed before your study needs assessment. Read on to learn how to get the maximum benefits from DSA’s offering.
What support do I get with DSA funding?
DSA funding is available to support disabled students with challenges they face during their studies as a result of their disability. It helps to cover the study-related costs you incur as a result of your disability.
Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) will not pay for any disability-related costs you’d have incurred if you were not attending a course. It also will not pay for costs that any student (disabled or non-disabled) might have, like rent.
The level of support you receive is needs-based and determined during your needs assessment.
Does DSA give you money?
DSA is not a payment of money directly into your bank account. Instead, it is a source of funding for equipment and services to aid your studies, paid directly to the organisation(s) supplying equipment or a service on your behalf. Following your study needs assessment, you will receive a support package with any physical equipment and be contacted by any support persons. This will be managed through your university based on the support agreed upon with your assessor.
Do I have to pay DSA back?
DSA is a non-repayable grant for specific study-related expenses. You won’t receive a cash payment, only resources and equipment supplied by your education provider, so there is nothing to repay in the future.
The only exception is if you are supplied with a laptop. In this case, you will be required to pay a one-off contribution fee of £200 towards your laptop, but you do not have to return your laptop or any other electronic devices to your organisation at the end of your studies – they are yours to keep.
£200 is the base contribution for all new laptops, but this fee increases depending on the type of laptop you select. For example, if you choose the latest MacBook rather than the laptop recommended by the supplier, this would require a one-time payment of £800.
What proof do I need for DSA?
To apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance, you will first need written evidence from your GP or doctor detailing your diagnosis, such as a letter of diagnosis. This will then need to be sent to your funding body alongside a DSA 1 form.
Following this submission of evidence, you will be invited to complete a study needs assessment. You can complete your assessment with one of our friendly team members online or in person if that better suits your needs.
The process is designed to help you get the support you need and we’re here to help. Read more about the full DSA assessment process.
Frequently asked questions
How much DSA funding do you get?
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. As DSA support is needs-tested, the amount you receive will depend on your circumstances and needs specific to your condition. However, you will not receive this funding in a cash transaction, instead, it will provide support in the form of equipment, resources and human support.
How long does it take to apply for DSA?
The confirmation of a successful application can take up to 6 weeks, and it can take up to 14 weeks for your DSA support to be put in place.
Can I claim DSA for a mental health condition?
DSA is available to support undergraduate and postgraduate students in the UK living with specific learning difficulties, sensory impairments and long-term medical, physical and mental health conditions. DSA mental health support is available to cover any study-related costs incurred as a result of a mental health condition.
To claim DSA for a mental health condition, you must be 17 years old and over and in or about to enter full or part-time further education such as a bachelor’s or foundation degree. A doctor or GP will need to provide evidence of your mental health condition to support your application.
What happens in a DSA assessment?
A study needs assessment is an informal meeting with a friendly assessor to discuss how you study, the challenges you face and the support you think you would benefit from. Your assessor will provide recommendations and together you will agree on the recommended support you’d benefit from receiving.