Disabled Students' Allowances are grants to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability or specific learning difficulty. They are aimed at helping disabled people to study on an equal basis with other students.

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Eligible full-time, part-time and postgraduate students studying Higher Education courses can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances.

The amount you get doesn’t depend on your household income. Disabled Students’ Allowances are paid on top of the standard student finance package, and don’t have to be paid back. DSAs are usually only paid to the suppliers of support, not the student in receipt of the support. This is not an additional source of funding for course fees or living costs.

Who can apply for DSAs?

If you are a full time or part time, undergraduate or postgraduate home student you may be eligible to apply for funding through the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). Please contact us to discuss your eligibility if you are studying a short course or few modules.

Please note that you can apply for DSAs up to 6 months before you begin your course, so you should apply as early as you are able to. You do not have to have decided which University you will be attending to do so.

How do I apply for DSAs?

Your funding body will be able to provide you with an application form for DSA, as well as further information in a booklet called “Bridging the Gap”. You can also download these from the Student Finance websites, see the ‘Who is my Funding Body?’ section below.

You will be expected to provide your funding body with evidence of your disability, in the form of either a medical note or an Educational Psychologist’s report. On the basis of this evidence, the funding body will inform you whether they will fund a full assessment of your study needs. If you have more than one condition that you feel will impact on your ability to study e.g. dyslexia and mobility difficulties, then you will need to provide evidence for both, for instance an Educational Psychologist report and medical evidence from your doctor.

Who is my funding body?

I have applied for DSA – what next?

Once approval has been received from your funding body, a Disability Advisor will assist you to arrange a full assessment of your study needs here at the University of Bolton or another accommodation centre of your choice. Every assessment is done on an individual basis. This means that students with the same condition or impairment may be recommended different support. Your input in this assessment is essential as you know how your condition affects you. Try not to worry about the assessment it is really a discussion about you, your course and how your condition or impairment may impact on your ability to study. It is not a test and it is not a medical assessment.

There are four different elements to the Disabled Students’ Allowance and you may be recommended support that comes under one, two or all of these areas:

  • Specialist equipment allowance
  • Non-medical helper’s allowance
  • General allowance
  • Travel allowance

The assessor will produce an assessment of study needs report, detailing their recommendations and the associated costs. This will be sent to your funding body for approval.

What is an assessment of study needs?

First time applicants for DSA have to undergo a needs assessment to determine what individual support requirements because of disability or specific learning difficulty. A needs assessment is a meeting between you and an assessor, who will then produce a report written on the basis of the evidence provided and your description of difficulties experienced when accessing your University studies/learning. The report will look at all aspects of your study and make appropriate recommendations for funding and other support in order to ensure you can access all areas of your course. This could include assistive technology, note taking, library support or proof reading.

Who are Broadbent & Co and Access Summit?

These are organisations that carry out Assessment of Needs appointments. This is where your study requirements and support strategies will be discussed. The report that is produced is sent to your funding body.

Webpage Last Updated May 2016