Applying for Disabled Students' Allowances
Who is Eligible for DSA?
Full-time and part-time undergraduate students can apply if:
- you are studying an eligible full-time undergraduate course (including a distance learning course) and you are personally eligible for maintenance support for that course; or
- you are studying an eligible part-time undergraduate course (including a distance learning course) and are personally eligible for part-time support.
- PCGE courses attract support, including DSAs, as if they were undergraduate rather than postgraduate courses.
You are not eligible for a DSA if:
- you are an EU student and are eligible only for support with your fees
- you are an International student
- you are a sandwich course student on your full-year paid placement
Postgraduate students are eligible to apply if they study a recognised taught or research postgraduate course. All postgraduate courses should last for at least one year and lead to a master's degree, doctorate, postgraduate diploma or certificate, for which the entry requirement is at least a first degree or equivalent.
Some postgraduate students won't qualify for a DSA. If you are receiving a bursary or award from a research council such as the AHRC, the NHS or the GSCC, you should contact the provider of your bursary or award for advice on any extra support you may be entitled to because of your disability.
If you go on to postgraduate study after completing an undergraduate degree, any amount you received through the DSA for specialist equipment as an undergraduate is taken into account.
Eligibility for a DSA is not affected by an age limit and, if you are aged 60 or over, you may be eligible even if you are not eligible for a student maintenance loan.
You can check your eligibility by using this Eligibility Checker here.
What Evidence do I need to Provide?
If you have a disability, including a mental health disability, that affects your study, you will need to provide supporting evidence, such as a letter from your doctor or consultant, a diagnostic report or another comprehensive assessment clearly stating what the disability is and the impact it has. If you have more than one medical or other condition then you should provide evidence for all of them.
If you have a specific learning difference (dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and AD(H)D), Student Finance England will require a full diagnostic assessment that is comprehensive and includes appropriate tests. They may ask for an update of a previous assessment to see what the likely effect of your specific learning difference will be on the skills you need for higher education.
Student Finance England or the NHS will not meet the cost of diagnosing your disability or specific learning difference. If you need help with such a cost, you can apply to the Warwick Hardship Fund (WHF) once you have registered at the University.
What Support Can you Access via DSA?
- Specialist equipment and software allowance (i.e. digital recorders, mind mapping software, screen reading or magnification packages, text to speech or voice activated software etc.). Students will be asked to contribute £200 towards the cost of any computer recommended through the DSAS. The University can assist students with that contribution on a means tested basis. Additional information is available at this link.
- Non-medical helper’s allowance (for mentoring, study skills, notetaking, etc.)
- General allowances (book and photocopying allowances)
- A contribution towards extra travel costs.
How do I Apply?
You need to apply through your funding body and medical students can apply through your NHS BOSS account. Below are links to the DSA pages for the various funding bodies. the Disability Team can advise and support you with the application process.
- Student Finance England
- Student Finance Wales
- Student Finance Scotland
- Student Finance Northern Ireland
- NHS DSA guidance
What Happens Next?
When the DSA awarding body has sent you confirmation that you are eligible for DSAs, you will have a Study Needs Assessment to identify what your additional requirements are and how they can be met. That Assessment of Needs is carried out at regional Assessment Centres. Further information about this can be found by clicking here.
Based on the Assessment of Needs, the funding body will confirm the support and services they will fund through a DSA2 or Entitlement letter. This letter will also detail the suppliers of equipment and you must contact them to arrange delivery.
If you have been awarded funding for specialist equipment and you are required to contribute £200 towards it please refer to the University’s process of supporting students who are unable to meet that contribution.
The Disability Team in Wellbeing and Student Support at the University of Warwick is a registered Non Medical Helper support provider and different types of non-medical helper support are offered in house through the Disability team.
If the University of Warwick is named as the approved provider for non-medical support (eg. for specialist study skills or mental mentoring) then please contact the Disability Team at the University to discuss arrangements.
Changing your Approved Provider for Non-Medical Support
If the University of Warwick is not named as the approved provider for non-medical helper support, students have the following options if they wish to access that support:
- Accessing their support from the approved provider indicated on the DSA 2 letter by making an arrangement with them directly. Students are advised to contact the provider and then inform the University of the arrangements. Please note that certain areas at the University are card accessed therefore access will need to be arranged with the relevant Department.
- Requesting a change of non-medical helper support provider by emailing the DSA Team at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note the underscore) The email needs to include the following information as outlined by SFE in the DSA 2 letter:
- The type of support the change is applicable for (assistive technology training, mentor support, etc.)
- The reason for changing provider
- The name and contact details of new provider
- The hourly rate the new provider will charge. These are the University of Warwick's rates and contact details.
- How many hours of support you’ve already had from the previous supplier (if any)
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 we are working to provide services based within this framework.
If you have further questions you may find the answer on our Frequently Asked Questions page which particularly talks about recent changes to DSA. You can also contact the Disability Team through the Wellbeing portal for advise and support with the application process.