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Disabled Student Allowances

What are Disabled Students Allowances?

DSAs are funding provided to pay for any additional support a disabled student needs in order to study in higher education on an equal basis with non-disabled people. DSAs are not loans and do not have to be paid back.

What types of things can DSA pay for?

  • Equipment Allowance: assistive equipment and technology.
  • Non-Medical Helpers Allowance: people who provide support services such as note takers and dyslexia support tutors.
  • Travel Allowance: any additional travel expenses.
  • General Allowance: small, ongoing additional expenses.

DSAs cannot be used to pay for support a person might still need if they were not studying. Nor will it pay for anything a non-disabled student would be expect to buy.

Who provides DSA?

DSA is provided by Student Finance England (or equivalent bodies in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland), even if students don’t have a student loan or grant. Other funding bodies have different forms and procedures, and should be contacted directly for advice.

How do students apply for DSA?

If students indicated on their loan application form that they want to apply, they should automatically be sent a DSA1 application form. If not, or you the student has not applied for a loan, then a DSA1 application form is available from Student Finance England’s website. Similar forms are available from other funding bodies. This should be competed and returned with evidence of disability.

Students should apply for DSA as soon as they can. Once an application for DSA has been made, students need to book a Needs Assessment before starting their studies.

Visit the Student Finance England’s DSAs website on

Click Here to view the Disabled Students Allowance PDF.

Contact Information

Tel: 0113 343 3927
Fax: 0113 343 3944

What is a Needs Assessment?

A Needs Assessment is a structured, but fairly informal, discussion with an Assessor on how disability affects study, and what disability support would be appropriate. The Assessor may demonstrate some equipment.

A Needs Assessment Report is produced from this session. This report contains an account of everything discussed along with recommendations and quotes for any support that is agreed. This can include equipment, support from people, help with travel and support from the university or college.

Why do students need a Needs Assessment?

Needs Assessments are almost always done as a part of an application for disability support funding such as Disabled Students’ Allowances. If students have not applied for disability support funding they cannot be provided with an assessment.

What happens after the Assessment?

The Assessor will write a report, detailing how the students disability affects his/her studies, what support is required, why its required and how much it should cost. Once the student has signed the report off, copies are sent to the student, the institution where they are studying and to the funding body. The funding body will get back to the student in writing with their decision.

The Assessment Centre at University if Leeds has additional information

Leeds Assessment Centre was established at the University of Leeds in 2000, to provide a Needs Assessment service for disabled students applying for disability support funding, such as Disabled Students’ Allowances.

The service is provided to students at University of Leeds as well as students from across West Yorkshire and elsewhere in the UK. Staff at the centre have very detailed and up to date knowledge of the issues which affect disabled students and has strong connections with national HE disability organisations.

Leeds Beckett University offers a similar facility offering support and advice to students and a Needs Assessment service. HEART will be working with the Leeds Assessment Centre to help increase awareness amongst disabled students of the Disabled Students Allowances available to them.