Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)

United Kingdom students

UK full-time, part-time & postgraduate students studying a minimum of 60 credits per year, who have a disability or a Specific Learning Difficulty, may be entitled to apply for additional financial support. This grant is called Disabled Students' Allowance or DSA.

DSA is intended to provide funds for essential support such as equipment and multi-sensory tuition. The Directgov website contains lots of information on DSA and how to apply.

DSA is split into three broad areas:

  • an allowance for major items of equipment, such as computers and assistive software
  • funding for a non-medical support worker (NMSW), for example to pay for a note-taker or sign language interpreter
  • an allowance, which is intended to pay for consumables.

The rates of DSA usually change slightly each year and details of current grant rates can be obtained from the web site above or the University's Disability Support Team.

Please click here for a copy of Bridging the Gap. This is the information booklet produced by Student Finance England for Disabled Students Allowance.

Applying for DSA

Contact the Student Loan Company (Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales) or your Local Authority for guidance and information.  In Scotland it's the SAAS and in Northern Ireland it's the Education and Library Boards.

Applications are made by using a DSA1 application form.  These can be obtained from your Local Education Authority or downloaded from the Directgov website. All applicants are expected to provide written evidence of their disability or Specific Learning Difficulty.

Usually a funding authority will ask DSA applicants to undertake an independent assessment of their needs, usually at an established assessment centre, to ensure that they are getting the best possible assistance from the allowance.

Remember, DSA is is for essential needs as a result of a disabilty. It is designed to put disadvantaged learners on an equal footing with other students and funding will not be awarded for items or services that are considered to provide more than this equality of opportunity.

Sunderland's help with your application

At Sunderland the Disability Support Team will advise you on how to put together your application, if you feel you need help. If you feel confident about applying for DSA yourself, it is still wise to speak to an Adviser beforehand to check the current regulations.

For more information contact the Disability Support Team immediately as the application for process for DSA can take several weeks to complete.


International Students

International students are not entitled to Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and they should check if support and grants are available to them from their home country - either through their University or Education Department.