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Special educational needs

This is additional support for students with disabilities and is funded by Student Finance England. 


This is additional support for students with disabilities and is funded by Student Finance England.

You may be able to get:

General Allowance - used to help pay course-related costs you may have as a direct result of your disability. 

Specialist Equipment Allowance - used to help buy equipment needed because of your disability. 

Non-Medical Helper Allowance - used to help pay for support workers such as British Sign Language interpreters or mobility trainers. 

Travel Allowance - used for any additional study-related travel costs you may have as a result of your disability. 

The DSA needs evidence of your disability before you can access funding. You could receive one to one support and additional help with your studies such as specialist equipment or a personal tutor. 


To apply for DSA you need to click on the ‘Disabled Students Allowance’ box on your Student Finance application form.  Student Finance England will then send you an application form and a guidance booklet to find out more about how they can support you.  The process can take up to 14 weeks so they advise you to apply as early as possible.

If you have a physical or mental health condition, learning difficulty or long-term illness, you can let the course provider know on your UCAS application. However, it is a good idea to contact them directly to discuss your support needs as early as possible- even before sending your application.


In England, the maximum amount is £20,580 per year. This covers all components. In Wales, the maximum amount is £20,000 per year. At time of writing, the 2020/21 DSA postgraduate rate was still to be announced.


You might be asked to provide a copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant. Student Finance England can also accept a disability evidence form. A copy of a 'diagnostic assessment' from a practitioner, psychologist, or suitably qualified specialist teacher may also be required.

The assessment fee will be covered by your DSAs. You do not have to pay for the assessment yourself.


If you are planning to take an eligible healthcare or social work course, you should apply for your DSA through the NHS. You do not have to have a confirmed university place to apply for DSAs. In fact, it is best to apply as early as possible but you can apply at any point during your studies.


No, you get it on top of your other students finance.  You will not need to repay DSAs.  How much you get depends on your individual needs, not your household income.


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This Article Also Answers the Following Questions :

  • disability support
  • DSA
  • Disabled Students Allowance
  • individual needs
  • disability
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