Student Support and DSA

What are DSA’s?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is funding that helps to contribute to any additional costs a student might incur during higher education study as a direct result of a disability. This could refer to; an on-going health condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition or specific learning difficulties.

If you are unsure about whether or not you are entitled to DSA’s, please contact your university’s disability services, who will be able to advise.

The DSA is available in addition to your other student finance loans or grants and does not need to be repaid.

The funding is not a loan and not counted as income when working out whether you are entitled to benefits or Tax Credits. The amount you’ll receive depends on your individual needs and is not based on your income, nor that of your parents or partner. However, DSA’s do not cover disability-related costs you would incur if you were not attending a course or costs that a student without a disability might encounter during their studies.


What can DSAs help pay for?

There are many things that the Disabled Students Allowances can contribute towards, depending on your individual needs. This includes;

  • Specialist Equipment e.g. computer hardware and software
  • Non-Medical Helper support such as one-to-one tuition
  • Extra travel costs incurred due to your disability
  • Miscellaneous expenditure such as the cost of extra printing
  • Other disability-related costs of studying

You may be recommended a new computer if your current computer does not meet the required specification or you do not have access to a personal one. If you are applying for DSA’s for the first time, you may be required to pay a personal contribution of £200 towards the cost of any computer, depending on your funding body. The exact support you receive will be determined through a ‘Needs Assessment’. Please click the link for more information regarding the assessment.

DSA’s are administered by several different funding bodies. Select the drop-down option below for the country you live in to find out what support you could be eligible for:


Alternatively, if you are planning to take an eligible healthcare or social work course you should apply for DSA’s through the NHS. If you are applying through Research Councils UK please click here.

Who is eligible?

The DSA is available to both full-time and part-time students, those on unpaid sandwich courses, open and distance students, and those on postgraduate courses*. You may apply for a DSA even if you have already taken a higher education course, although you can’t apply for more than one at a time.

*This is not applicable to Scotland

You are eligible for a DSA if you meet all the following criteria:

  • You are taking a full-time or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UK (including Open University and distance learning courses) that lasts at least one year.
  • You normally live in the UK.
  • You qualify for student finance.
  • You can prove you have a disability, medical condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty which affects your ability to study

Next: Please click here to find out how to apply.