Who can get DSAs

Students can be eligible for Disabled Students' Allowances if they have a disability, mental-health condition or a specific learning difficulty which affects their ability to study.

Health conditions and learning difficulties which qualify

Students may be eligible for DSAs if they have any of the following:

  • a mental-health condition, such as anxiety or depression;
  • a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia;
  • a developmental disorder, such as autism, ADHD/ADD;
  • a progressive medical condition such as Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer or HIV;
  • a sensory impairment which could affect the ability to see or hear.

Other conditions not mentioned on this list may be covered by DSAs.

Undergraduate courses - full-time and part-time

Students can apply for DSAs if they are on a full-time or part-time undergraduate course - for example, a degree or HND-level course. This includes Open University and other distance-learning courses.

Part-time and Open University students

To be eligible for DSAs, students must be registered for a part-time or Open University undergraduate or postgraduate course (qualification) that lasts for at least one year and does not take more than four times as long to complete as an equivalent full-time course.

Postgraduate courses - full-time and part-time

Students can get DSAs if they are on an eligible full-time or part-time postgraduate course. These are courses which students need a degree or equivalent qualification to get onto. These courses include Open University and other distance-learning courses.

Initial Teacher Training Courses (ITT)

Students already on an ITT course can continue to apply for the same package of DSAs support they've received in previous years.

Full-time ITT courses

Students who started a full-time ITT course on or after 1 September 2010 can apply for the full-time support package, including the full-time DSAs package.

Part-time ITT courses

Students who started a part-time ITT course on or after 1 September 2010 can apply for the standard part-time student support package, including part-time DSAs.

Previous study

The student's previous study will not affect their eligibility for DSAs, even if they received financial support.

However, if they received DSAs for any specialist equipment for a previous course, this may be taken into account. 

Age limit

There's no age limit on receiving DSAs.

Who can't get DSAs

Students can't get DSAs if they are:

  • receiving support equivalent to DSAs from another funding provider; or
  • an EU student; or
  • a sandwich-course student on a full-year placement.

Students can't get DSAs for more than one course at the same time.

Access to work

Students may still be able to get DSAs if they are doing unpaid work experience in the public sector or voluntary sector.

If they don't qualify for DSAs during their placement year, they may be able to get help from the Access to Work Scheme.

Visit the website at www.gov.uk/access-to-work for more information.

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