DSA - Disabled Students Allowance

UK Students with on-going health conditions, disabilities, mental health or specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia) can usually apply for funding through the Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) to pay for personal assistance and equipment to support their studies. Depending on your Disability and the level of support you require DSA can help pay for:

  • Specialist disability related equipment and software required for studying
  • Travel expenses (i.e. additional disabiity related travel costs incurred whilst travelling to University)
  • Other costs – for example consumables such a print cartridges and paper.
  • Day to day support whilst studying at University such as a study skills tutor, electronic note taker, mentor and support worker.

DSA is allocated to eligible students in addition to the standard student funding package and do not have to be repaid (as long as you complete the course). Previous study will not affect your eligibility for DSA, even if you received financial support. However, if you received any specialist equipment through the DSA for a previous course, this will be taken into consideration. There is no age limit on receiving DSA, and if you are aged 60 or over you may be eligible for them even if you are not eligible for a Maintenance Loan.


You will need to provide evidence that the effects of your disability, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty may result in you needing additional support. This will form part of your application for the DSA to your Funding Authority.

To be eligible for DSA you must study one of the following:

  • Full-time / Part-time undergraduate course (including a distance-learning course)
  • Taught or research postgraduate course (including a distance-learning course)
  • Initial Teacher Training course

You cannot get DSA if:

  • You are an EU student and are eligible only for support with your fees
  • You are a sandwich-course student on a full-year paid placement
  • You are an undergraduate or postgraduate student and are eligible for a Department of Health, NHS or other healthcare bursary
  • You are a postgraduate student receiving; a bursary or award from a research council, NHS Business Services Authority’s bursary for students on postgraduate social work courses or a bursary or award from your university or college which includes support that is equal to DSA (You should contact the provider of your bursary or award, for advice on any extra support you may be entitled to because of your disability).

If you are eligible for this allowance, a Disability Adviser will help you apply; if you are not eligible a Disability Adviser will assist you with other possible sources of support.


Eligible Students are encouraged to apply for Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) prior to starting their course as it can be a lengthy process. It is important that you apply to the correct funding body. This is generally dictated by your home address. Application forms are normally available from funding bodies from April. You can find out more about DSAs and request / download DSA application forms from your funding body:

There are two versions of the DSA1 form. Please make sure that you download and complete the correct version of the application form based on your own circumstances. If you don’t, you may be asked to complete another form at a later stage and this may delay your application process.

DSA1 Slim Line Application – If you have completed or are in the process of completing an Application for Student Finance (Student Loan) and you also want to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances, you should complete the slim line version of the DSA1 form.

DSA1 form – full version – Only complete the full version of the DSA1 form if you’re:

  • a full-time undergraduate applying for Disabled Students’ Allowances only (and not the student loans, grants and bursaries aimed at full-time undergraduate students)
  • a part-time student
  • a postgraduate student
  • studying your course through distance learning

As part of your application for the DSA your funding body will request you to attend an informal Needs Assessment to explore your approaches to learning alongside the requirements of your course so that you can be allocated support that best matches your needs.

If you have any queries regarding applying for DSA, please contact a Disability Adviser

For further information please visit Your DSA