DSA – information for students

DSA provides extra financial help for disabled students.  You may get a DSA if you have a disability, ongoing health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty like dyslexia. A DSA is designed to help meet the extra costs of studying as a result of a disability – it can help you to study in higher education on an equal basis with other students. It does not have to be paid back – it depends on the type of extra help you need – not on your income.

You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) if you :

  • are studying on an undergraduate or postgraduate degree programme
  • have approved evidence – a full dyslexia assessment after your 16th birthday by an Ed. Psych or certificated dyslexia assessor
  • qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
  • are studying on a course that lasts at least a year
  • study at a rate of at least 25% of an equivalent full-time course in each academic year

What can a DSA provide?

Typically, a DSA for a dyslexic student might provide

  • specialist software for literacy, organising your notes, mind-mapping, voice recognition etc.
  • specialist equipment like a digital voice recorder, a scanner [for OCR or reading back printed text] and a computer to run all this.
  • dyslexia support and additional “non-medical helpers”, such as a note-taker, exam scribe or reader
  • other costs like photocopying, printing, stationery, computer supplies etc.

What you are offered will depend on your individual type of dyslexia or SpLD – you will have a meeting with a specialist (an “Assessment of Need”) who will work out what will best help you personally.  There is no ‘standard package’.


If you are a student or parent looking to apply for a Disabled Student Allowance

Information and application forms for English students are available from the Gov.uk website

Information and application forms for Scottish students are available from the Scottish Agency, SAAS

Information and application forms for Welsh students are available from Student Finance Wales

Research students funded by Research Council studentships can apply using this form

Contact details for the Disability Officer at your chosen university will be on their website, or you can use this search facility   Contact details for the Disability Officer

Contact details to book an Assessment of Need can be found on this geographical search for Access Centres

To claim back your expense allowance download the form from this SFE page

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