Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA)

If you’re disabled, you can apply for DSA to pay for any extra study-related costs you incur at University due to a disability.


What you’ll get

DSA can help with the costs of:

  • travel to and from University 
  • specialist equipment you need for studying (e.g. digital recorders or computers and assistive software)
  • support workers (e.g. specialist study skills tutors, support and guidance mentors or sign language interpreters)

For more examples of the support costs DSA can help with, please visit:


You can apply for DSA if you can provide written evidence that you have a disability that is likely to impact upon your academic life, and:

  • are studying a full or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate course*; and
  • are a UK national who is ordinarily resident in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of your course (i.e. this is where you usually live apart from occasional absences e.g. holidays); and 
  • have been living in the UK for three years prior to your course start date, and not solely for the purpose of getting full-time education; or
  • have acquired settled status to live permanently in the UK without time restrictions imposed by the Home Office

*If you started a part-time course on or after September 1 2012, you must be undertaking your course at a rate of at least 25% of the full-time equivalent. This usually means taking at least 30 credits per academic year.

How to apply

Step 1: Submit application to relevant funding body

You can submit your DSA application any time after you’ve applied to study on your course. You must submit an application to the funding body you’re eligible to claim student finance (i.e. a student loan or bursary) from.

As part of your application you must submit written evidence confirming the nature and impact of your disability. The page below explains what evidence you need and how to obtain it.

  • Providing evidence that you’re disabled

 Click on the relevant funding body to find out how to apply:

Student Finance England

You can apply for DSA online through Student Finance England (SFE) if: 

  • you’re a full time student
  • you’ve applied / intend to apply for Student Finance England
  • you have an online student finance account

Apply through your online SFE account If you’re a part-time student or you don’t have an online student finance account, you can apply for DSA using their paper application form:

Apply using paper form

Student Finance Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland

Please visit the relevant page below for information on how to apply for DSA.

NHS funding 

If you’re eligible for NHS funding (e.g. you’re a medicine or dentistry student), you can apply for DSA through your Bursary Online Support System (BOSS) account. 

If you don’t have a BOSS account you must open one before you can apply for DSA  to prove that you’re eligible for NHS funding.

For more information please visit the NHS website below:

Postgraduate social work bursary 

To apply for DSA you must complete: 

  • the bursary application form (to prove you’re eligible for Social Work Bursary funding)
  • the Social Work Bursary DSA application form

For more information visit the NHS website below: 

Postgraduate Research Council funding

If you’re a postgraduate research student and you receive Research Council funding, you may be eligible for DSA funding through your individual research council

If you’re eligible, please contact us and we’ll make the application for DSA on your behalf. 

Contact DDSS

Step 2: Attend an Assessment of Need

If your funding body has deemed you eligible for DSA, they’ll ask you to attend an ‘assessment of need’ appointment to ensure your study-related disability support requirements can be met. 

You can choose which centre you wish to attend. 

What happens at the appointment

You’ll discuss the demands of your course and the impact of your disability with a study needs assessor. They will outline the equipment and support available to help you perform academically to the best of your abilities. 

If you have any questions about this step, please contact us.

Contact DDSS

Step 3: Set up your support

  1. After your meeting, the assessor will draft a ‘needs assessment report’ which will recommend your individual DSA-funded package of support.
  2. If you’re happy with the report, you’ll then sign it and copies will be sent to us and your funding body.
  3. Your funding body will review the report and send you a letter confirming  the support they’ll provide funding for. We’ll also be sent a copy. 

Your confirmation letter will inform you how to order equipment and arrange training. Some support, such as referrals for support workers, must be arranged through us. 

  1. When we receive confirmation of your DSA funding entitlement, we’ll email you to arrange a meeting with a disability advisor to discuss the support you’ve received funding for, and set it up.

If you receive your funding letter before you start your course, please contact us so we can advise you on what to do next.

Contact DDSS