Guidance: Getting disabled students prepared for university or college

Student Loans Company

May 22
10:32 2023

Applying for student finance and Disabled Students Allowance

Last year, 48,517 disabled students got Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). The quickest and easiest way to apply for DSA is online. But you can also do it on a paper form, if you prefer.

When you apply for your student finance, make sure you tick the box to say you want to apply for DSA. You should then complete the rest of your student finance application and submit.

Once youve submitted your student finance application, youll need to complete a separate application for DSA. Youll find this in your to do list in your online account.

Dont wait until we approve your student finance application before you apply for DSA as well assess these at the same time. Its important to apply early to make sure you get your support in place before the start of your course.

Help completing your application

We understand that it can be difficult completing your application for DSA for various reasons.

If youre having trouble completing your application, you can get in touch with our DSA team wholl be able to offer their help.

You can also speak to your university, college or school, who may have a Disability Liaison officer or Well-being advisor who can also help you fill in your DSA application.

Information about your disability or condition

As part of your application for DSA, youll need to give us some supporting documents about your disability or condition. You should try and give us these documents as soon as you can. This means well have everything we need to work out what help you can get before your course starts.

For more information on what documents you can send us, check out our eligibility page.

If youre still not sure what documents to send us for your condition, you can get in touch with our DSA team for help.

Getting your application in early

The earlier you apply, the earlier youll be able to arrange your needs assessment and get any support or equipment in place for the start of your course.

It can take up to 100 days for us to get your DSA support in place. If your course starts in September, you should have your application in by the beginning of June.

If your application is late, you may not have the support you need in place for the start of your course. In some cases, disabled students have had to leave their course because they havent had the support they need.

You dont need a confirmed place at university or college to apply for DSA, so dont wait for offers. You should apply using your preferred choice and you can simply update your details if anything changes.

If you get a diagnosis after your course has started, you can still apply for DSA. You should apply as soon as youre able to.

After youve applied and your application has been approved, we may ask you to contact an assessment centre to book your needs assessment. Dont book this until weve asked you to, as this is paid through your DSA entitlement.

You may still need to book a needs assessment even if youve recently had a medical assessment to get your diagnostic report, as these are different.

What to expect from your needs assessment

A needs assessment is not a test but a conversation. Youll speak to a needs assessor about how your disability or condition affects you and how it may affect you while youre studying.

Youll talk about what extra support youll need to help you get the best out of your studies. To help you prepare, you may want to find out about the coursework youll be doing during your studies, to give you an idea of the support you might need.

The needs assessment is completely confidential, and usually lasts 1-2 hours.

After the assessment, well confirm what support you can get based on the needs assessors recommendations.

Now that you know how to apply for your DSA, apply now to make sure youre prepared for starting university or college.

Published 22 May 2023

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