Disabled Students' Allowance
This page contains information about DSA (Disabled Students' Allowance) which is a government allowance. It is available to UK home students with a disability. This includes long term health conditions, mental health conditions or Specific Learning Differences.
The DSA is not means-tested (not based on income), it does not need to be repaid and the support you get depends on your individual needs.
You can find further information on this page or by visiting the UCAS Disabled Students Allowance website.
What does DSA provide?
DSA will cover the cost for support relating to your studies such as:
- assistive technology (specialist equipment, software and training)
- non-medical helpers such as specialist note-takers, BSL interpreters, specialist study skills tutors and mentors
- travel allowance
DSA does not cover:
- non-study related disability costs (e.g. personal care)
- tuition fees and living costs
- costs any student might have, such as books or food
Unlike PIP and other Government benefits and allowances DSA does not provide funding via direct payments (money in to your bank account). DSA provides access to support and all payments are made directly to the company providing the support.
Who can apply?
Applications for DSA funding can be made by those who have applied for or are studying a Higher Education course (including foundation degrees). This funding is for UK students or those who have been residing in the UK for a minimum of five years.
International and EU students are not eligible for DSA. Please see our Support for International students page for information on the support you can access from UEL. Please note you will need to be logged into your UEL account to view this page.
To apply for DSA students need to have a formal diagnosis and provide evidence of this. Students need to provide a letter from a doctor, such as a GP or consultant confirming the diagnosis and symptoms (how it affects you).
If you do not have the required evidence you can ask your doctor to complete the DSA Disability evidence form.
For a Specific Learning Difference (i.e. Dyslexia / Dyspraxia) you need a full diagnostic report. The report must be from a qualified Specialist Teacher or Educational Psychologist. If you do not have a diagnosis or report, please see our page on Testing for Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD.
If you've already applied for student finance, the easiest way to start your DSA application is via your Student Finance account.
Sign into your student finance account to start your DSA application.
If you have not or are not applying for student finance, you need to complete one of two different forms. which form depends on your course and mode of study. All forms are available to download in Student Finance Forms - GOV.UK.
All forms are available in alternative formats such as Braille, large print, or audio. If you need these, they can be requested by emailing email@example.com. Or you can call 0141 243 3686 (this number is only for alternative format requests).
If you need advice on which form or how to apply you can get in touch with the UEL Disability and Dyslexia Team or the DSA Team.
Understanding DSA and How to Apply
Diversity and Ability (D&A) have created a series called Find Your Way. As part of this they have created a helpful video explaining all about DSA and how to apply.
Disability and Dyslexia Team contact:
Call: 0208 223 4444 (request a Drop in with DDT)
If emailing you can ask us a question and we will get back to you or send us your availability for a Drop-in appointment.
What is a DSA study needs assessment?
Once your DSA application has been processed and accepted, you will be sent a letter inviting you to book a DSA Study Needs Assessment at an Access Centre.
There are centres all over the UK and you can attend whichever one you prefer. UEL has their own Access Centre based at our Stratford campus that offers this service and can be contacted on the Regional Access Centre for East London.
The Assessment Centres are separate to DSA. The assessment is designed to find equipment and other support which will help remove any barriers and challenges you may have when studying. You and the assessor will work together to find the best solutions for you.
There will also be opportunities for you to test and try out different equipment and software.
What happens after the study needs assessment?
Your Needs Assessor will submit your report to DSA for review.
After reviewing it, DSA will send you a letter confirming which of the Assessor's recommendations have been approved. This letter will also include instructions and contact details on how to access your support.
Please book an appointment with the Disability & Dyslexia Team on 0208 223 4444 or firstname.lastname@example.org, if you need any assistance arranging your support.
Not eligible for DSA?
Sometimes DSA application are not awarded because the evidence provided did not confirm a diagnosis or highlight how this will impact on study. If you think this might be why your application was not approved, please think about completing the DSA medical evidence form, and ask DSA that your application is reconsidered.
If you are not eligible because, you are considered a EU or international student or if you do not have a formal diagnosis from a suitably qualified person (i.e. GP, consultant or educational psychologist) there are two bursaries that UEL is aware of. These are provided by charities, which are aimed at supporting disabled students with covering the additional cost of studying with a disability. These are :
- Snowdon Trust Grant (up to £3000)
- Health Association Bursary (up to £500)
We encourage you to look in to your eligibility for these grants and bursaries.