Applying for DSA

If you are studying in higher education, and have a disability/specific learning difference you may be eligible for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs).

DSA is available from your funding body and pays for the additional support that students need for university. Our experience shows that students really benefit from the support of DSA

You should apply for DSA as soon as possible. You don't have to wait until you have a confirmed place at university/college, however you can still apply at any stage of your course.

You can contact a Disability Adviser at your chosen university or college if you require any assistance filling in your application.

Where do I apply?

Depending on where you currently live, you should apply to one of the following agencies for DSAs:

How do I apply?

To apply for DSA, you will need to complete form DSA1 and return it to your funding body, together with your supporting documents

Funding bodies

If you need any help or advice on completing these forms, you can email one of our Student Advisers at studentwellbeing@derby.ac.uk.

What supporting documentation do I need to provide?

The type of supporting documentation is dependent on the nature of your disability, health condition, or specific learning difference.

Long-term health condition, disability, or mental health condition

You will need to provide a medical statement from your doctor or appropriate specialist which confirms the nature of your long term health condition, disability, or mental health condition.

If you are unsure whether the evidence you have is acceptable, please contact us for advice.

Specific learning difference

You must provide a full diagnostic assessment that was carried out by a suitably qualified specialist or educational psychologist.

What happens next?

Once you have sent the form and evidence of your disability, Student Finance will write and/or email you to confirm that you are eligible for DSA.

When your funding body confirms your eligibility for DSA they will ask you to have a Study Needs Assessment.

Your Study Needs Assessment can be carried out at any assessment centre, including the University of Derby Assessment Centre.

During your Study Needs Assessment the Assessor will discuss with you how your studies can be made more accessible to you and identify support and equipment you may need. DSA will pay for the assessment, and the recommendations made and approved in the report.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know there are always further questions regarding the DSA process, so we created a list of the most frequently asked questions in the hope this will help.

You can apply for help to meet costs throughout your course up to the maximum amount of each allowance. If your needs change and you need further equipment or support, please speak to a Disability adviser in Student Wellbeing.

When assessing your needs, awarding bodies may take into account what support you have already received, especially if you got equipment though DSAs on a previous course. Any new equipment or software must be compatible with what you have already.

DSAs can’t be used to pay for support that the university should be providing. They’re not available for standard academic tuition or counselling services, which your university or college should provide. The university should meet the costs of flexible arrangements made for the curriculum or exams, such as providing materials in alternative formats, although a helper or item of equipment used in exams can be funded by DSAs.

Universities and colleges are expected to make reasonable adjustments and provisions for disabled students. This is particularly in areas that the DSAs don’t cover, such as improving access to the curriculum and signs around the campus.

To make a complaint, please following our UDAC complaints procedure.

No. DSAs are only for specific study related expenses. They don’t count as funding for daily living costs. DSAs are completely ignored when deciding if you qualify for means-tested welfare benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

Your awarding body may agree to continue making DSA payments if, for reasons related to your disability you have to repeat or extend your study in order to complete it. You should contact a Disability adviser in Student Wellbeing as early as possible about this.

It should be possible for you to transfer your DSA support to another course, even at a different university. Changing course or university may mean that you need to have slightly different support in place, so you may have to have a top-up needs assessment. Contact your awarding body for advice.

If you leave your course, you should tell your awarding body straight away. DSA can’t be paid after you have left your course.

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