Disabled Student's Allowance

DSA Introduction

If your ability to access your studies is impacted by a mental health condition, disability, long term illness, and/or learning difference, you will be entitled to access Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

The DSA is a grant that you don’t need to pay back. It funds specialist support and equipment that will help remove the study and wellbeing barriers that you may otherwise have experienced. The DSA does not need to be repaid and is given in addition to student finance. The amount of funding you receive is not means-tested; it is based on your individual needs. 

To find out more about the DSA, have a look at the Diversity and Ability Find your Way guide. This step-by-step guide aims to demystify the DSA application process and explains more about what support is available and how it can be accessed.

Diversity and Ability are an award-winning social enterprise led by and for disabled people, that aims to create more inclusive cultures in higher education, where diversity is valued, and students can thrive.


Frequently asked questions 


When should I apply for the DSA? 
  • You can apply for the DSA as soon as you have your place confirmed with UCAS. By applying early, you will have everything sorted way ahead of time. 
What support can the DSA fund?
  • The DSA can fund specialist 1:1 support such as Assistive Technology Training, Specialist Mentoring, Notetaking, BSL Interpretation or Study Skills Tutoring.
Do I need to pay the DSA back? 
  • No, DSA is a non-repayable grant. Your support costs will be paid directly to the supplier. For example, if you receive ergonomic equipment, the supplier will be paid directly for this cost.
Can the DSA support with travel costs? 
  • Yes, the DSA can fund travel support where this is required to enable you to access and thrive at university. For example, you could be awarded a taxi allowance. Here, you would be required to contribute the equivalent cost of a journey on public transport to the taxi fare and the DSA would cover the rest. 
Are there any costs I need to know about when using the DSA?
  • There is a student contribution of £200 towards the provision of a laptop. We may be able to help with this through our Hardship fund if you are able to evidence financial hardship.


Key Terms and Acronyms 


Assistive Technology


Customer Reference Number


Letter sent by the funding body confirming their acceptance of your application for DSA


Letter sent by the funding body confirming their approval of DSA funded support (Notification of Entitlement)

EU Student

A student whose home address is in a country which is within the European Union

Home Student

A student whose home address is in a country which is within the United Kingdom


Mental Health


Needs Assessment


Needs Assessment Report


Non-medical Help


Student Loans Company





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