Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)


There may be extra help for you if you have a disability, ongoing health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, and want to study a higher education course.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are available to students studying recognised part-time, full-time, undergraduate, postgraduate, and distance learning courses. More details about who qualifies for DSAs are available at here.

For students from Wales please visit the SFW website.

DSAs help pay for additional support to make sure you can study as well as you can. DSAs do not depend on your income or the income of your family, they are paid according to need and do not have to be repaid. DSAs do not assist with the costs of support you need in your everyday life, only the additional costs you may have to pay because of your disability or condition when studying your course. DSAs do not affect other benefits you claim.

Support tailored around you

DSAs are unique to you and your needs. They provide funding for you to get your individual support requirements assessed, and once this is done they normally cover costs associated with recommended equipment, one-to-one support, travel, and other relevant support.

As part of the process you will be given the opportunity to meet with a professional ‘needs assessor’ whose aim is to help you get the best from your studies. You can discuss your needs in full in an informal and confidential environment. The assessor will consider your needs and the course you are studying and together you will come up with a package of support that is effective for you.

When to apply

Apply for your DSAs as early as possible:

  • Don’t wait to find out if you’ve been accepted on your course
  • There is no need to apply for other loans or grants in the main student finance package (but if you require these as well, apply for them as soon as you can).

If for any reason you change your mind about going to university you can cancel your application – but be sure to do this
in writing. If you don’t get the chance to apply before your studies begin, you can apply for DSAs at any time during your studies, but the earlier you make the application, the sooner you’ll receive the extra assistance you require.

If you think you qualify for DSAs – apply now! https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas

Helping you apply

Most universities employ teams of Disability Advisers who will give you confidential advice about DSAs and about the university and its services. They can meet you before you start your course, even while you are still considering your options. Contact details for Disability Advisers will be on your university’s website.

Postgraduate, Part-time, & Distance Learning

Note for part-time, postgraduate, and distance learning students; and full-time students who only wish to apply for DSAs and no other funding:

When completing your DSA application form (DSA1), you’ll need to ask your university to complete a section of the form before it can be sent off to Student Finance England, or the Open University. Most universities will help you with this when you are making an application for a place on a course. (But you won’t need to do this if you are a part-time student and have already asked your university to fill-in part of the PTG1 application form so that you can apply for a fee or course grant.)

Additional Contacts

Provides full details about who is eligible to receive DSAs, and the amounts of funding available. Application forms (DSA1) can be downloaded from this site.

For more information about the full range of financial help available to higher education students from England.
SFE DSA Team - 01325 215194

Student Finance Wales
Information for students from Wales.
SFW DSA Team - 01248 752958

Helps you search for contact details of approved Assessment Centres by region or town.

The National Union of Students website.

For students studying an NHS funded course, giving details of how they can apply for DSAs.

Last Updated: 23 July 2013