Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)
Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is the fund that provides support for individuals with “protected characteristics” in Higher Education. Protected characteristics are defined in the Equality Act 2010 and include dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, etc.
DSA is administered in England through Student Finance England and through the NHS Business Services Authority for NHS bursary-funded courses. Similar funding agencies provide DSA in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The funds can be used to provide:
- specialist equipment (including computer assistive technology)
- study coaching support
- some help with extra costs for study (printing, copying, internet access, books, etc)
- a mentor if you have difficulty adjusting to the pressure of university study.
You need to provide a full assessment report outlining the nature of your specific learning difficulty to start the process of applying for DSA. You then have a needs assessment at an Assessment Centre, which confirms your allocation of funds. The funding is unique to each individual and does not need to be paid back (unlike your student loan).
DSA is available for both undergraduate and postgraduate study, for full-time and part-time students.
You can find out more about DSA from:
N.B. if you are an Open University student, you can find out about disability support from: http://www.open.ac.uk/disability/financial-support.php
Dyslexia Positive can provide a full diagnostic report for your DSA application.