How to apply for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)

Students should apply as soon as they can for DSAs to make sure they have everything in place for starting their course. The process can take up to three months.

Step 1 - Complete a DSA application form

Short form

Students log in and apply for student finance.

In the online application, they answer 'yes' to Do you want to apply for Disabled Students' Allowances?

When the online application is submitted, they’ll be advised to download a personalised DSA application form and return.

They can also download the application from www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas

Students include proof of their disability - such as a letter from their doctor or specialist.

Full DSA form

If the student is only applying for DSAs and no other form of student finance, they download the full DSA application form from www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas. They fill this in and return it to us.

NHS students

Students receiving funding from the NHS or a research council can visit www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/Students.aspx for information on how they can apply for DSAs.

Step 2 - We send the student an eligibility notification

If the student is eligible for DSAs we may ask them to arrange a needs assessment to find out exactly what equipment and support they need.

Students should only book a needs assessment if we have advised them to do so.

Their nearest approved needs assessment centre can be found at www.dsa-qag.org.uk/Find-an-Assessment-Centre/find-an-assessment-centre.html.

Needs assessments

A needs assessment identifies the specific help the student needs for their course. It also identifies any training the student might need for equipment or software. The cost of the assessment will be met by the DSAs.

An assessment can be arranged well before the start of term, and even before the student has a confirmed place at university or college. However, they should not arrange a needs assessment until Student Finance England or the NHS tell them to do so.

If the needs assessment report recommends they need something to help them study, this has to be agreed by Student Finance England or NHS.

Step 3 - We send the student an entitlement notification

This will let the student know what specialist equipment and other support DSAs can pay for.

We will also give instructions for ordering equipment or arranging other support. Students shouldn’t purchase any equipment before receiving their entitlement notification as they won’t be reimbursed for it.

Step 4 - The student orders their equipment and arranges their other support

The student can then buy equipment such as computer software and arrange any other support, such as a non-medical helper who will work with them while they study.

Step 5 - The student starts their course

The student should have their DSA support in place for when they begin studying.

The student can claim back any approved expenses using the claim for reimbursement form.

Step 6 - The student reapplies for their student finance in advance of each year of their course

If the student applies for DSAs and a main application for student finance, they won't have to reapply for DSAs during each year of their course as long as they state on their main application that they want to keep receiving DSAs. Only postgraduate, part-time and DSA-only students will be asked to apply each year.

Returning full-time students who apply for the full student finance package are shown a summary of what they applied for in the last academic year when they apply online.

The student doesn't need to do anything further at this point - except complete the online application.

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