Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)
1. What you'll get
You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.
You can get the allowances on top of your other student finance. You will not need to repay DSAs.
If you’re a part-time student your ‘course intensity’ can affect how much you get.
How much you get depends on your individual needs - not your household income.
2019 to 2020 academic year
Type of studentSpecialist equipment allowanceNon-medical helper allowanceGeneral allowance
|Full-time||Up to £5,684 for the whole course||Up to £22,603 a year||Up to £1,899 a year|
|Part-time||Up to £5,684 for the whole course||Up to £16,951 a year||Up to £1,424 a year|
Postgraduates can get a single allowance of up to £20,000 a year.
These figures are the maximum amounts - most students get less.
What DSAs can pay for
You can get help with the costs of:
- specialist equipment, for example a computer if you need one because of your disability
- non-medical helpers
- extra travel because of your disability
- other disability-related costs of studying
You may get a new computer if you do not already have one, or your current one does not meet your study needs. More information will be provided to you if you’re assessed as needing a new computer.
You’ll need to pay the first £200, which is the minimum cost that any student is likely to incur when buying a computer.
DSAs do not cover disability-related costs you’d have if you were not attending a course, or costs that any student might have.
Your ‘needs assessment’
Once your eligibility for DSAs is confirmed, Student Finance England may ask you to contact an assessment centre to work out what help you need.
This is known as a needs assessment. Do not book this until Student Finance England asks you to.
The assessment is paid for through any DSAs entitlement you may have.
After the assessment, you’ll get a report listing equipment and other support you can get for your course.
Do not buy any equipment until you’ve been assessed - you will not be reimbursed for it.
How DSAs are paid
Money is paid either into your bank account or directly to the organisation providing the service or equipment.
You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) if you live in England and have a disability that affects your ability to study, such as a:
- learning difficulty, for example dyslexia or ADHD
- mental health condition like anxiety or depression
- physical disability, for example if you’re partially sighted or have to use crutches
- long-term health condition such as cancer, chronic heart disease or HIV
You must also:
- be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning)
- qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
- be studying on a course that lasts at least a year
Who is not eligible
You cannot get DSAs from Student Finance England if you’re:
- an EU student
- eligible for NHS Disabled Students’ Allowances (this is a separate scheme)
- getting equivalent support from another funding source, like from your university or a social work bursary
Proving you’re eligible
You will not automatically get DSAs - you need proof of your eligibility.
|Disabilities or long-term health condition||A photocopy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant - you can also fill in the disability evidence form (PDF, 65KB)|
|Mental-health condition||A photocopy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant - you can also fill in the disability evidence form (PDF, 65KB)|
|Specific learning difficulty like dyslexia||A photocopy of a ‘diagnostic assessment’ from a practitioner psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher|
You could get extra help to pay for a new diagnostic assessment.
Your course must be in the UK and one of the following:
- a first degree, for example BA, BSc or BEd
- a Foundation Degree
- a Certificate of Higher Education
- a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
- a Higher National Certificate (HNC)
- a Higher National Diploma (HND)
- a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
- a postgraduate course
- Initial Teacher Training
Check with your university or college that your course is recognised.
Part-time course intensity
For part-time students, your course intensity can affect how much you get.
‘Course intensity’ means how long your course takes to complete each year compared to an equivalent full-time course. You can check course intensity with your university or college.
The rules are different depending on your course.
Part-time courses starting from 1 September 2012
Your course cannot be more than 4 times longer than the equivalent full-time course. Your course must last at least a year.
Part-time postgraduate master’s courses
If you’re applying for a Postgraduate Loan for a part-time master’s degree, the course must not last more than twice as long as the full-time equivalent.
3. How to apply
How you apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) depends on whether you’re studying full-time or part-time.
If you’ve already applied for student finance
Sign in to your student finance account to start your DSAs application.
The application for DSAs should be on your ‘to-do list’. If it is not, select ‘change your circumstances’ to apply.
If you do not have an online account because you applied for student finance by post, use the DSAs paper application form.
If you have not applied for student finance
You can apply for DSAs when you apply for student finance online.
If you do not need student finance, you can apply just for DSAs by filling in the DSAs paper application form.
You cannot apply for student finance online once you’ve applied for DSAs.
Apply using the DSAs paper application form. You cannot apply online.
If you’re already getting DSAs
Claim back your expenses using the DSAs paper application form.
How long it takes
You’ll get confirmation of whether your application is successful within 6 weeks.
It can take up to 14 weeks to get your DSAs support in place as this is done separately.
4. Further information
Contact the disability adviser at your university or college if you need advice about financial help.
If your circumstances change
Contact Student Finance England if your circumstances change as this may affect what you’re entitled to. For example, if your condition gets worse you may be able to get extra help.
You can ask for an explanation or to have your case reviewed if your application is turned down. Contact Student Finance England for more details.
Who to contact
- Age Bands
18-25 years old
Parents and carers