Disabled Student Allowances Applications- A quick guide


Applying for student finance is a relatively simple and quick process but applications for DSA can sometimes take a while to processed.

  • Application processing time up to 12 days- decision on whether to accept or rejection the application
  • If confirmed an assessment will be booked for you- with confirmation being sent out 1 working day after approval. An assessment will be booked once you have contacted the assessment centre depending on contact method you will either receive a letter or email within 1 working day of the first contact.
  • Your assessment date will be within 15 working days of you initially contacting the assessment centre
  • The assessment  itself will take about 2 hours to complete

Needs Assessment Report

Draft- If you asked for a draft copy of the report you will receive this within 10 working days of your needs assessment. Any amendments will be made and the final report will be sent out within 3 working days

Final- If did not want a draft copy then you will receive the report within 10 working days of your needs assessment.

Your funding provider will aim to respond to the report within 15 working day of receiving the report- you will receive an entitlement letter this lists and outline the support recommended for you.

This letter will tell you what to do next.


Delivery- Any assistive technology will be delivered within 10 working day of you placing your order with the approved supplier. Although this can take longer depending on your preference and availability as well as the availability of assistive technology.

Set up- Set up and familiarisation of the technology can last up to 1.5 hours

Training- arranged for within 10 working days of delivery or when it is convenient for you.

Non- medical helper support- This will either be arranged by yourself or the university where you are studying.

More information can be found here:

This site breaks down the process and explain each step whilst also having a questions and answers section

The total amount of funding you receive through DSA’s depends not only on your assessment results but also your course.

DSA funding- amounts and categories

The maximum amount undergraduate students can receive funding for depending on their course is shown below

Type of student Specialist equipment allowance Non-medical helper allowance General allowance
Full Time Up to £5,212 for the whole course Up to £20,725 per year Up to £1,741 per year
Part Time Up to £5,212 for the whole course Up to £15,543 per year Up to £1,305 per year

Students who apply for DSA’s may also be eligible for a travel allowance, this is uncapped and provides transport from the student’s home address to the institution or suitable arrangements if the student wishes to either use their own car or have a friend or relative take to university. Whilst the maximums are shown above many students who apply for DSA funding receive less. Part time students also have to ensure they understand their course intensity. Course intensity compares the part time course to the full time equivalent, the part time course must be at least a year and the study rate must be at least 25% of the full time equivalent for the student to receive DSA funding. If at any point the rate drops below 25% then the student will stop receiving funding.

Each category above relates to specific area in which the student needs support. The equipment allow relates to equipment such as computers and voice recorders whilst the non-medical helper allowance relates to the human element of support. The general allowance covers anything which does not fall into either of the other two categories. Although the government has kept the DSA funding at the same levels, there is a shift towards HE institutions providing the majority of support needed by students.


Once your non medical helper support is in place (if recommended) it is up to you to arrange your support when you need it.  If you are recommended a laptop and or printer ensure these are delivered and explained to you well in advance of your course starting. If your report recommends the travel allowance you will either be told which taxi firm to use or it will be up to you to arrange the transport. The recommendation will use an estimate to show the cost of the transport minus the cost of public transport. You may be asked to either contribute or pay the cost of transport in full before being reimbursed. If you are asked to contribute the DSA funding will make up the rest of the payment.

The travel allowance and the non medical human support are both flexible so you can ensure you have support when you need it. The travel allowance can be extended to cover five days at university, it is up to you to ensure that the taxi firm know when you need transport. The non medical human support that you may have been recommended can tailored to suit you. Not only can you be support when you need support but you can also either increase or decrease the support you receive on a day to day basis. It is your responsibility to make your support aware of timetabling changes that may have occurred.

Appeals and exceptions   

In some cases student’s may be denied some support that they feel is essential in this case they can appeal through the standard appeals’ system. The appeal is handled by the appeals team followed by the relevant heads’ of service as well as an independent assessor. You will be notified when your appeal has been received (normally within 5 working days) and you will receive a full response within 15 working days.

In circumstances where the student feels they are an exception then they can appeal in which case the application is handed over to the exception case procedure team (ECP).

Any inconclusive areas or disagreements are initially handed over to the ECP team, depending on their decision the student may need to appeal what has been decided. The ECP team will either approve the equipment or funding needed for the area in question or they will state the equipment or funding is not required. If the equipment or funding is denied to the student can appeal through the standard appeals process. In some cases the student may need to discuss their options with their institution. If the DSA decide not to pay for the equipment or funding they need. When this is the case, the institution can either agree to cover it or appeal on behalf of the student. During the appeal the institution may put in interim support for the student. The interim support will remain in place until a decision has been reached over the appeal, if the original decision is overturned, recommendations and quotes should be used to put the support in place as soon as possible. Otherwise the institution will need to fund the support or appeal to the office of independent adjudicators.