Funding your support - Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)

Find out about Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs).

As a student with a specific learning difficulty eg dyslexia or dyspraxia, you may be eligible for assistance through Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs). DSAs help pay towards extra costs you may have when studying on your course as a direct result of your specific learning difficulty.

Your student funding authority for example Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales, Student Finance NI, the Student Awards Agency for Scotland, will require a copy of a full diagnostic assessment written by a qualified assessor who holds an approved qualification and is either:

  • A Specialist Teacher Assessor holding a current SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) OR
  • A Practitioner Psychologist registered with the HCPC

If you require additional guidance regarding the assessment required by Student Finance for an application for DSAs, please look at the SASC website.

If you are normally resident in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, please see the following websites for information about Disabled Students' Allowances:

DSAs can pay for:

  • Specialist Equipment Allowance – for example Assistive Technology, (in some cases a computer may be recommended if you do not already have one. Students will be expected to pay a £200 contribution in all instances)
  • Non-medical helpers' allowance – for example one to one support
  • General/other expenditure allowance – exceptionally some students may be entitled to additional photocopying and printer consumables

Disabled Students' Allowances are not repayable. You can find out more about the Disabled Students’ Allowances and how to apply, by visiting the Directgov website.

Apply for Disabled Students' Allowances

Please complete a DSAs application form. For students normally resident in England, download the application forms. Alternatively please contact the Dyslexia Support Team for a copy of the form.

How to complete the DSAs application form:

  • If you are a full-time undergraduate student, who has applied for maintenance loans/grants, please complete the short version of the form (DSA Slim).
  • If you are a full-time undergraduate student who has not applied for maintenance loans/grants, or a part time or postgraduate student, please complete the full version of the form (DSA Full). You will need to ask your Academic School Office to confirm your place/attendance in section 5 of the application form.
  • Please send the completed application form, with a copy of your full diagnostic assessment, to your student funding authority, for example Student Finance England.
  • The address for Student Finance England is Student Finance England, PO Box 210, Darlington, DL1 9HJ.
  • If you would like help completing the form, or have any questions about the application process, please contact the Dyslexia Support Team for advice on +44 (0)115 848 4120.

If you are normally resident in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, please see the following websites for information about Disabled Students' Allowances:

Alternatively, please contact the Dyslexia Support Team via email for a copy of the application form and for advice about the application process.

If you would like help applying for DSAs, or have any questions about the DSAs process, please telephone us on +44 (0)115 848 3495 or email us.

It may take your student funding authority three - six weeks to process your application. They will write to you once they have done this.

To arrange a Study Needs Assessment see the assessing your needs section for full information.

If you have any questions about your DSAs application, please contact the Dyslexia Support Team on +44 (0)115 8483 495 or email.

Frequently asked questions

Funding your additional support - Disabled Students' Allowances

As a student with a disability, you may be eligible for a Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). DSAs are intended to cover any extra costs or expense that arise because of your disability while studying. You can apply for a DSA if you have a diagnosed physical, sensory, unseen medical condition, long term health condition, mental health condition, Autistic Spectrum Condition or a Specific Learning Difficulty such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD.

DSAs are grants rather than loans, you will not have to repay them when you have graduated. They are not classed as income so they do not affect state benefits.

What do DSAs pay for?

DSAs will pay for study-related support, including specialist equipment and software, extra travel costs and some other course-related costs. You may also be entitled to support from non-medical helpers who can help you manage the effect your disability has on your studies.

More information is available about the charges:

DSAs do not pay for:

  • Costs a student would have incurred whether or not they were at university
  • Costs of personal support for 'daily living', for example someone to assist with moving around the campus
  • Non-disability related costs incurred by all students on a particular course.

How do I apply for a Disabled Students' Allowance?

Please complete a DSA form; these can be downloaded from your funding authority web pages. You should apply to the authority that has provided your general student funding. Please click on these links to take you to the main funding authorities

What evidence will I need?

You will need to provide medical evidence of your condition, such as a letter from your doctor or an appropriate specialist. The medical evidence should state the nature of your disability and should explain how the condition affects you on a daily basis. To try to make the process easier for students, Student Finance England (SFE) has developed a form to take to your GP or other medical professional. The form asks all the relevant questions.

Students with a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia will need to provide evidence of the condition in the form of a post 16 diagnostic assessment from a psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher. Additional guidance on the assessment required for a DSA application is available from the SpLD Assessment Standards Committee (SASC).

How to book a Study Needs Assessment

When your funding body has processed your application, they will send you a confirmation letter requesting you to arrange a Study Needs Assessment. To arrange a Study Needs Assessment contact an Assessment Centre, you can search for an Assessment centre in the UK on GOV.UK.

To book an appointment at the NTU Assessment Centre, contact us on:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 3495 or Email us.

  • Last updated: 24/09/2020