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Applying for Disabled Students' Allowance

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If you’re a Home/UK student (or an EU/International postgraduate research student) with a disability, you may be eligible to receive Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), a form of additional financial support provided by the UK Government.

On this page, you'll find information to help you consider if you qualify for DSA, how much support you can get and how to apply. Got questions or require additional assistance? Let us know, we're here to support you.

Student on her laptop

Am I eligible for Disabled Students' Allowance?

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught

You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you live in England and have a disability that affects your ability to study.

You must also:

  • qualify for student finance from Student Finance England;
  • be studying on a course that lasts at least a year;
  • be a full-time or a part-time student.

Please note:
If you're planning to take an eligible healthcare or social work course, you should apply for your DSA through the NHS.

Support for students outside of England

Students living in Scotland
Students living in Wales
Students living in Northern Ireland

PhD and Postgraduate Research

If you are undertaking a PhD or a Postgraduate Research degree with a disability in the UK, you may be eligible to receive DSA. This includes UK and international students. How you receive any support through the DSA process, will depend on whether or not you are UKRI or non-UKRI funded.

You must also be:

  • studying on a full or part-time basis, but your course must last at least one year.

  • have information or evidence related to your disability or long term health condition.

If you are UKRI funded, please see this guide, and also further information:

 Access our simplified guide for PhD Research Council FundingLink opens in a new window.

DSA guidance - UKRI fundingLink opens in a new window

If you are non-UKRI funded, please request an appointment with a Disability Adviser.

You are not eligible for a DSA if:

  • you're a sandwich course student on your full-year paid placement;
  • you're an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student who is international/EU and are eligible only for support with your fees.

You will not automatically get DSA - you need proof of your eligibility

When applying for the DSA you will need to provide proof of your disability. You may be able to get this information from your GP or doctor.

Alternatively, you may have 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 ADHD), Student Finance England will require a full diagnostic assessment that is comprehensive and includes appropriate tests.

Please note: 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)Link opens in a new window once you have registered at the University.

What can you get?

Undergraduate and postgraduate students can get up to £25,575 a year for support.

What can DSA pay for?

You can get help with the costs of:

  • specialist equipment and software allowance (i.e., digital recorders, mind mapping software, screen reading, text to speech or voice activated software, etc.);
  • Non-Medical Helper (NMH) support (for mentoring, study skills, notetaking, etc.);
  • general allowances (book and photocopying allowances);
  • a contribution towards extra travel costs.

Buying a new computer?

If you are recommended and agreed a computer via DSA, you will be required to pay £200 towards the purchase. The University can assist you with that contribution on a means tested basis.

Applying for DSA through your funding body

To apply for Disabled Students' Allowance, visit the GOV.UK websiteLink opens in a new window.

There are different DSA funding bodies (as outlined above) - the Disability Team can advise and support you with the application process.

What happens next?

When the DSA awarding body has sent you confirmation that you are eligible for Disabled Students' Allowance, you will have a Study Needs Assessment to identify what your additional requirements are and how they can be met. That assessment is carried out at regional Assessment CentresLink opens in a new window.

Once the Study Needs Assessment is completed, the funding body will confirm the support and services to be funded through a DSA 2 or Entitlement letter. This letter will provide details about the equipment suppliers, and it is important that you contact them to arrange the delivery.

Approved Non-Medical Helper support provider

Our Disability Team is a registered Non-Medical Helper support provider, offering various types of in-house NMH support, such as specialist study skills or mental mentoring.

If the University of Warwick is designated as the approved provider for non-medical support, please reach out to our Disability Team to discuss the necessary arrangements.

Options for accessing non-medical support

If the University of Warwick is not named as the approved provider for Non-Medical Helper (NMH) support and you wish to access that support, you have two options:

  • getting support from the approved provider indicated on the DSA 2 letter by making an arrangement with them directly.

Please note: You are advised to contact your provider first and inform the University of the arrangements. Please also note that certain areas at the University require card access, so 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

Your email needs to include the following information as outlined by Student Finance England (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 the new provider;
  • the hourly rate the new provider will charge (see 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.