DSAs - updates for practitioners

Regular updates and useful documents for DSAs. The 'DSA work streams' are processing timescales on key DSA workstreams

2016/17 DSA MS Office Funding


To provide information regarding HE providers where DSA's can fund for Microsoft office suite a list has been provided

2016/17 DSA Policy Changes


To provide information regarding policy changes in academic year 2016/17 a reference guide has been created

The below Request for Temporary DSA Support Form should be used to support the Exceptional Case Process which is detailed in the 2016/17 DSA New Guidance.

Claro Support Closure


To provide information regarding the closure of Claro Support an FAQ document has been created.

2015/16 Guidance Fact Sheet and FAQs


To support the 15/16 Guidance SFE have created a Fact Sheet and FAQ document that provides advice on some of the key changes.

2015/16 Taxi Recommendations


To support the DSA Guidance and ensure only appropriately licensed taxi providers are used, SFE have introduced some internal process changes and now require 2 quotes for taxi provision. The full detail is contained in the attached guidance document.

2015/16 Missed and Cancelled NMH Sessions


To support the DSA Guidance in respect of Missed and Cancelled NMH Sessions (for new and returning students), further guidance has been produced.



The Government is determined that anyone with the aspiration and ability can go onto higher education regardless of any disability.

It is important that as wide a consensus as possible is built on the role of Disabled Students' Allowances. The Government has been consulting on the draft Disabled Students' Allowances guidance for 2015/16. It has now decided that the proposed changes set out in the draft guidance concerning accommodation, peripherals and consumables - that would have required additional reasonable adjustments from institutions - should be deferred until 2016/17 and that changes will only be made once continued consultation with the sector and stakeholders has taken place to ensure the specific changes are introduced effectively.

Although the Government has exceptionally been consulting upon (and as indicated above will further consult upon) these specific proposals, it remains the case that Disabled Students' Allowances guidance is a Student Loans Company operational document that is revised on a year to year basis and is not generally subject to consultation before it is amended.

The Government has been in regular contact with stakeholders, including higher education institutions, regarding these measures. Deferring these proposed changes until 2016/17 will help give institutions the time to review the services they offer to disabled students and make appropriate improvements to meet their needs. The annual guidance for study needs assessors, setting out the approach to managing applications for Disabled Students' Allowances for 2015/16, will be published in due course.

We are grateful to universities, student and their representative bodies for their continued participation in informing these changes.

BIS has written an email to Higher Education Institutions and other stakeholders setting out more information about the process - the letter can be viewed at below link.

BIS letter

DSA Workstreams

Please see below for processing timescales as of the 27th February 2017 on key DSA workstreams. Please note that this data is refreshed weekly on a Thursday.

WorkstreamOldest DateCurrent turnaround time
DSA1 Application Forms 20/02/2017 5 Days
Needs Assessment Reports


2 Days
Supplier Invoices


13 Days
Student Receipts and Claims 22/02/2017

3 Days

Emails (students)


1 Days
Emails (suppliers) 23/02/2017 2 Days
Emails (HEIs)


1 Days
Emails (NACs) 24/02/2017 1 Days

Student Finance England DSA update: December 2014

This month the Student Loans Company (SLC) are starting to issue regular information that will give you an overview of the processing of Student Finance England (SFE) DSA applications, updates for DSA practitioners, service improvements etc. These updates will also advise you of any upcoming events and developments.

DSA2 Entitlement letters

Students are able to apply for DSA support at any point during their course and subsequently we are still issuing DSA2 Entitlement letters which are for the 2013/14 academic year. Please be aware that at this point in the academic year we would not approve Specialist Equipment for a student on a DSA2 letter which states 2013/14 unless we have received and accepted a 2014/15 application. This is to ensure that students who are no longer studying are not provided with equipment in error.

Escalation process

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of a case then we want to hear about it. Most issues can be resolved quickly by contacting the member of the team dealing with the case or by calling our DSA Response team. However, in the event our front line staff are unable to resolve your concerns, you can ask for the case to be escalated. You can find more details about our escalation process in the DSA Department Structure 2014

Postgraduate Students

In some cases Postgraduate students may require DSA support beyond the ordinary duration of their course. In order to agree an extension of their DSA support the reasons behind the extension must be included within the request. Once this information has been received SLC will consider the request.

DSA Stakeholder Consultant

With the festive period approaching our DSA Stakeholder Consultant Graham Tranter (who engages with stakeholders to resolve issues and provide training) has been busy meeting with stakeholders and attending meetings. Over the last month Graham met with Student Services teams at University of Worcester and University of Wolverhampton. Graham provided the student services teams with a general update on DSAs. This included information on invoices, the recent Ministerial statement and the Assistive Technology Evaluation pilot. Graham also recently met with the NHS Student Bursary Team in Fleetwood to share best practices and discuss opportunities for partnership engagement.If you would like Graham to visit your institution or organisation you can contact him on 07979 792 241 or e-mail: graham_tranter@slc.co.uk

DSA Letters - templates

In response to feedback from partners, we have been working on revising the letters we use that are sent to students with disabilities. We have restructured the letters and removed jargon to provide students with simple, clear messages. The letters were sent to the Disabled Student Stakeholder group for review and feedback was incorporated into the final drafts. Below you will find templates of the new letters.

Authorisation for Agreed Support

Specification Matrix Documents

Consent to Share Required

Disability Evidence Form

To assist students in obtaining the evidence needed to progress their DSA application, SLC have created a Disability Evidence Form which provides an alternative option for students to submit evidence. This form has been tested and refined over a 12 month period, with students who had previously presented with insufficient evidence.

This form is not mandatory and students who already have suitable evidence should continue to submit this. Medical evidence must be signed by an appropriate professional and confirm the nature of the student’s disability. It should also explain how the student’s disability impacts upon them.

This form cannot be used to obtain evidence of Specific Learning Difficulties. Student's with SpLD's should continue to provide diagnostic reports from a suitably qualified Psychologist or Specialist teacher.

NMH Services Reference Manual Awareness Seminars - presentations

Practitioner Helpline - DSAs Response Team

The DSAs Response Team is a dedicated helpline for DSAs related queries from partners and stakeholders such as HEIs, Needs Assessment Centres and support providers.

The line is open from 9:30 - 16:30 and is operated by experienced members of the DSAs department.

Telephone: 01325 215 194. This number must not be given to students and sponsors.

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