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Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)

UK full-time, part-time & postgraduate students studying a minimum of 60 credits per year, who have a disability or a Specific Learning Difficulty, may be entitled to apply for additional financial support. This grant is called Disabled Students' Allowance or DSA.

DSA is intended to provide funds for essential support such as equipment and non-medical help. The gov.uk website contains lots of information on DSA and how to apply.

DSA is split into four broad areas:

  • an allowance for major items of equipment, such as computers and assistive software
  • funding for a non-medical support, for example, to pay for a Specialist Mentor or British Sign Language Interpreter.
  • a general allowance, which is intended to pay for consumables.
  • a travel allowance, to pay for mileage or taxi costs

The rates of DSA usually change slightly each year and details of current grant rates can be obtained from the website above or from the University's Disability Support Team.

Applying for DSA

Contact your funding body (Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales, SAAS etc) for further advice and guidance.

Applications are made by using a DSA1 application form.  These can be downloaded from the gov.uk website. All applicants are expected to provide written evidence of their disability or Specific Learning Difficulty.

A funding body will ask DSA applicants to undertake an independent assessment of their needs at a registered assessment centre, to ensure that they are getting the best possible assistance from the allowance.

Remember, DSA is for essential needs as a result of a disabilty. It is designed to put disadvantaged learners on an equal footing with other students and funding will not be awarded for items or services that are considered to provide more than this equality of opportunity.

Sunderland's help with your application

We will advise you on how to put together your application, if you feel you need help. If you feel confident about applying for DSA yourself, it is still wise to speak to an Adviser beforehand to check the current regulations.

For more information contact the Disability Support Team immediately as the application process for DSA can take several weeks to complete.

Non-Medical Help

The University of Sunderland is a supplier of Band 4 Specialist 1:1 Study Skills Support for students registered at the university. Please see our NMH Rate Card for further information.

External providers of Non-Medical Help support can access our Guidance for External NMH Providers document for more information about delivering support on campus. 

International Students

International students are not entitled to Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and they should check if support and grants are available to them from their home country - either through their University or Education Department.

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