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Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)

Who is eligible for DSA?

If you are a Higher Education (HE) student, or are thinking of going into HE and have a recognised disability, mental health issue or learning difficulty then you should apply for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA).

DSA is a grant which is non-repayable and can help with the support and extra costs you may face because of your disability and/or additional needs, such as a note taker, one to one additional support, items of specialist equipment, travel and other related course costs.

You can get DSA if you:

  • Are on a full time or part time undergraduate;
  • Are on eligible full-time or part-time postgraduate course;
  • Have a disability, mental health condition or a specific learning difficulty which affects your ability to study.

There is no deadline for applying for DSA but the sooner you apply the greater the chance of having everything you need in place for the start of your course.

How do you prove you are eligible?

If you're physically disabled, are blind, partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing. Have a medical condition or have a mental health condition, you'll need to provide medical evidence of this, such as a letter from your doctor or specialist.

If you have a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, you must provide evidence in the form of a 'diagnostic assessment' from a chartered or practitioner psychologist or suitably qualified specified specialist teacher. If you had your diagnostic assessment before your 16th birthday, it will need to be updated.

You will have to pay for any tests to prove that you're eligible for DSA. If you need a test but can't afford to pay for it, you may be able to get financial help through the University College's HE Hardship Fund.

How do you apply for DSA?

Step 1 - Fill in a DSA application form. Return the form as soon as possible to Student Finance England.

Step 2 - Receive your eligibility notification. If you are eligible for DSA Student Finance England will write and tell you to arrange a needs assessment to find out exactly what equipment and support you need.

Step 3 - Book your needs assessment. You should book your assessment as soon as you receive notification of eligibility. To find your nearest approved needs assessment centre go to or contact Learning Support who can help/advise or make the arrangements for you.

Step 4 - Receive your entitlement notification. Once Student Finance England receive the results of your needs assessment, they will write and let you know if DSAs can pay for any specialist equipment and other support that has been recommended in your needs assessment. You can then order your equipment and arrange your other support.

Where can I get more information?

Phone Student Finance England on 0300 100 0607 or come and see us in Learning Support.

What information does the University College need to provide to DSA Assessors?

View the Writtle University College DSA assessors information.