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If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty and are studying in higher education, you may be eligible to apply for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). The DSA allowances cover extra disability-related costs or expenses you have while studying.
There are four allowances to cover different areas of need.
- Specialist equipment allowance
- Non-medical helper’s allowance
- General and other expenditure allowance
- Travel costs.
DSAs are not paid in set amounts because they depend on what you need. Payments cover the cost of specific items of equipment, specific support worker costs, and so on. Apart from travel, there are maximum amounts for each allowance.
DSAs are not intended to pay for disability-related costs that you would have whether you were a student or not, such as personal care support or study costs that every student might have.
Depending on where you currently live, you should apply to one of the following agencies for your DSAs:
- In England apply to Student Finance England. You can apply at the same time as making your online UCAS application. For NHS-funded courses, you need to apply to NHS Student Bursaries for your DSAs
- In Wales apply to Student Finance Wales, or NHS Wales Student Awards Unit for NHS funded courses
- In Scotland apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for any course
- In Northern Ireland apply to Student Finance England or your local Education and Library Board (ELB). For NHS-funded courses contact the Bursary Administration Unit.
Who can get DSAs?
DSAs are available to students on designated higher education courses (undergraduate and postgraduate) who are ordinarily resident in the UK.
Are DSAs means tested?
No. Eligibility for DSAs does not depend on your income or the income of your family.
What if I have studied before?
You can qualify for DSAs even if you have already taken a course of higher education. There are no ‘previous study’ restrictions. However, the amount you get may depend on what you received before. For example, you may already have equipment from a previous DSA allowance.
I am being seconded (my employer is sending me on the course instead of my usual job). Am I eligible for DSAs? If you have been seconded by your employer for your study, you can apply for DSAs from your awarding authority.
Are DSAs available to international students?
DSAs are only available to students who are ordinarily resident in the UK. If you’re ordinarily resident in another country then you will not qualify for DSAs. This applies even if you’re a European Union (EU) resident and can get help with your tuition fees.