Discover DSA

What is DSA?

The Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) is a scheme which provides financial support to students who have a diagnosed disability, mental health condition or specific learning disability. The DSA can offer to pay for various support to help you with your studies.

This page provides information on how the Disabled Student Allowance can support you in Higher Education. This financial support is NOT a loan and does NOT need to be paid back.


What disabilities does the DSA cover?

Disabilities supported by the DSA include dyslexia, visual impairment, mobility impairment, hearing impairment, mental health and other on-going health conditions.


What can the DSA provide?

A DSA grant can provide a range of solutions to meet your needs including:

  • Specialist equipment such as desktop and laptop computers, including any assistive software or recording equipment to record lectures
  • Non-medical support such as a note taker or reader
  • Extra travel costs you have to pay because of your disability
  • Other potential costs including photocopying or printer cartridges

How much financial support does the DSA cover?

The rates of allowances for the 2016/17 academic year for new students, are as follows:

  1. Specialist equipment allowance: up to £5,212 for the whole of your course – the same for part-time students. For DSA students this can mean provision of computer, scanner, specialist software such as Dragon speech recognition software, text-to-speech software and mind mapping software. Some students may also be recommended a digital voice recorder or note-taking software, electronic dictionaries and or a spell checker. All items are fully insured for the duration of the course and students have access to telephone support for technical queries and course long product warranties.
  2. Non-medical helper’s allowance: up to £20,725 per year of your course – up to £15,543 for part-time students. This can mean training to use your specialist equipment (although this can be included in the equipment allowance); extra help to deal with study skills, reading skills, work organisation, grammar, spelling and numeracy difficulties; NMH does not cover extra tuition for your course.
  3. General disabled student’s allowance: up to £1,741 for each academic year – up to £1,305 for part-time students. This allowance can help meet the costs of extra photocopying, coloured paper or even extra books if your disability means that you cannot read books in the library in the normal way. As with the non-medical helpers’ allowance, part-time students are eligible for an allowance of the equivalent percentage to their course.

Postgraduates can get a single allowance of up to £10,362 a year.

Important points to be aware of:

    • The amount of financial cover depends entirely on your disability
    • The cost of your support is paid either directly to the supplier or into your bank account
    • The amount part time students are allocated is affected by ‘course intensity’. This is measured by the length of the course each year compared to a full time course


Who can apply for a DSA grant?

DSA grants are available to UK National students who are planning on enrolling or who are currently enrolled in a full time, part time or post graduate course (including Open University or distance learning).


Who can’t apply for a DSA grant?

You wouldn’t be able to apply for a DSA grant if you are:

      • A non UK National student
      • Eligible for an NHS Bursary – this is a separate scheme and would be for students who are accepted for an NHS funded place on a full or part course which leads you to be a professional registration. For more information on how to apply for an NHS Bursary, click here.
      • Receiving equivalent support from another funding source – this could include funding from your University or a social work bursary.
      • Students who are on sandwich courses. If you are on a sandwich course you can apply for the Access To Work scheme during your year of work.

Important: you should apply as soon as you know you are going to university. However, you can only receive you equipment once you have been accepted to university and enrolled onto you course. As the entire process can take up to 12 weeks, it is important to start the process as early as possible.

More information is available on the website with you can view by clicking here.