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DSA Changes

Significant changes to the Disabled Student Allowances administered through Student Finance England were recently announced, taking effect in the academic years 2015/16 and 2016/17. The key changes are set out below but you will find more detail and information under FAQs for students and staff.

There is a rebalancing of responsibility with HEIs funding and providing certain aspects of disability related support previously funded via the DSAs.

Inclusive practice:
  • HEIs are required to develop an inclusive teaching and learning strategy to ensure course design, delivery and assessment is accessible to students with disabilities.
  • HE providers are expected to consider how they deliver information to students and whether strategies can be put in place to reduce the need for support workers and encourage greater independence and autonomy for their disabled students.
  • A guidance document was circulated in February 2017 to encourage higher education providers to look at how they can provide an inclusive teaching and learning environment for disabled students.
  • Students who are awarded funding for a computer via the DSAs are now required to contribute £200 towards the cost of it. The University now offers support to students with that contribution.
  • Standard computer peripherals and other accessories will now be funded by exception only. Laptop carry cases will continue to be provided as standard to help students protect their equipment.
  • Individual printing and scanning devices will only be funded through DSAs if the need cannot be met through other measures. HE providers are expected to strive to meet the needs of their disabled students to reduce the need for the purchase of individual devices for printing and scanning. The University now offers additional printing and photocopying facilities at the Halls of Residence.
  • DSAs will retain primary responsibility for funding the most specialist non-medical help support, that are set out in the SLC NMH manual under bands 3 and 4 (such as specialist study skills and mentoring), with the exception of Specialist Transcription Services. The University will continue to offer these services in-house.
  • HE providers will be expected to take primary responsibility for the provision of Specialist Transcription Services, other than by exception. The University will continue offering that support in-house.
  • HE providers will be expected to take primary responsibility for the remainder of the non-medical support roles that are classified as bands 1 or 2 (such as note taking or library support) in the Student Loans Company non-medical help (NMH) manual. The Univeristy will continue offering that support in-house.
  • DSAs will retain primary responsibility for funding Sighted Guides, for those students that need such support to enable them to get around campus effectively
  • DSAs will meet the additional costs of accommodation where that accommodation is not provided by the HE provider or its agent. DSAs funding will not be available where specialist accommodation is provided by the HE provider or their agent, other than by exception. HE providers should no longer pass any additional costs for accommodation onto the student. The Univeristy has implemented a new policy to assist students with disabilities who incur additional on-campus ensuite costs as a result of disability related requirements. You can find details of the On-Campus Ensuite Accommodation Subsidy Policy at this link.
Quality Assurance Framework for provison of Non-Medical Helper Support (NMH):
  • Any providers of NMH support that is funded through DSA must now be registered with Student Finance England and operate according to their Quality Assurance Framework. The University of Warwick are a registered provider and are working to provide services based within this framework.