The Disabled Students’ Allowance, or DSA, is a grant available to UK residents in Higher Education who have a disability or a specific learning difficulty.

The purpose of the grant is to pay for the extra costs you have as a student as a result of your disability or specific learning difficulty. It can be used to fund non-medical helper support, specialist equipment and assistive IT technology. Depending on your disability you may be able to receive funding towards travel.

As part of the DSA application process, you will have a needs assessment to determine the support that you need.


In order to access the DSA, you will need to fill in an application form. The funding body that you apply to depends on where you live and the type of course that you are studying. If you are in doubt about who you should apply to, you can contact the Disability Team at your university who will be able to help you.

After your funding body has processed and approved your application they will write to you asking you to have a needs assessment.


A needs assessment is an informal discussion between you and a needs assessor, concerning the difficulties you face in accessing your course. It takes between an hour and a half and two hours. The experienced assessors will have an understanding of your disability and the challenges that you face.

The assessor will explain how the Disabled Students’ Allowance works and outline the kind of support that is available to you. They have expert knowledge of assistive technology, ergonomic equipment, non-medical helper support and a variety of other support strategies that are available to you through the DSA.

During your assessment, you will have the opportunity to try any support strategy that your needs assessor discusses with you. That way you can decide if you think it is something that will work for you.

After your assessment, your assessor will write a report documenting all of the support strategies that you agreed to during your assessment. The report is then quality assured by one of the experienced QA administrators and sent to your funding body for processing. It can take up to 10 working days from the date of your appointment for the final version of your report to be sent.

Our experienced admin team are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer any questions that you may have.

Once your funding body has processed your needs assessment report they will write to you outlining the support that has been agreed. To place your equipment order you will need to contact the approved supplier. You can find their details in Section E of your report.

If you are having difficulty organising your support you can book an appointment to see a member of the Disability Team at your university, who will be able to help you.

Your needs assessment report is designed to support you for the duration of your course.

If at any time you would like to discuss the support you can contact us by telephone, email.