How to fill out the DSA1 form (step by step)

Are you a disabled/neurodivergent person applying for or attending university in the UK? If so, you could be eligible to receive DSA. Disabled Students’ Allowance is a non-repayable grant issued by the government to students whose learning is impacted by their disability/condition. There are two ways that you can apply for DSA; either through your Student Finance account online or by completing the DSA1 form. The application process can be overwhelming as there are many questions and sections to complete in the form. So, today we are going through the DSA1 form step by step to help make your journey to receiving DSA as accessible as possible!

How to apply for the DSA

DSA1 form

What is the DSA1 Form?

The DSA1 form is an application process for disabled and neurodivergent students to apply for DSA if they do not have a student finance account, or have alternative factors which need to be assessed such as residency status etc. You can download a PDF of the DSA1 form here, or by searching for it on the Government website where you will find some additional forms. 

Note: All forms linked in this post are for the academic year 2023/24. If you are accessing this page after 31st March 2024, click here and search for the updated forms for 2024/25 academic year.


This is the complete DSA1 form which needs to be filled out in order to apply for DSA.

Throughout the DSA1 form, you will see a small (n) symbol against certain questions. This means that there are additional guidance notes available to view in regards to this question and can be accessed in the DSA1 Guidance notes form here.

This form is a condensed DSA application form and is only suitable for full time undergraduate students who have applied for SFE. If you do not have a student finance account you need to complete the full DSA1 form. 

This is a form for students who are receiving DSA to claim back expenses which they have had to pay out of pocket. As DSA is not a direct payment to your bank account (except for in Scotland), if the support is not provided to you directly via support such as assistive technology and equipment then it will be reimbursed as long as you can provide receipts. DSA can not reimburse you for any purchases made before your application is approved. Additionally, it must be agreed upon during your needs assessment that you can request reimbursement for support such as travel expenses before you spend this money, otherwise you won’t be able to claim it back. 

This form is to be completed by your medical professional who is confirming your disability/condition eligibility in order to receive DSA. Without this form your application will not be approved so make sure to download this too.


DSA1 Form Breakdown 


Who should complete this form?

The pre-section of the DSA1 form asks details about the type of course you will be studying in order to determine if you should be completing this form.



Personal Details

This section requires you to provide your personal details, identity document details such as passport number, any relevant information to previous student loans and the armed forces, and your contact details.

Next to many of the yes/no boxes you will see an arrow which directs you to skip to a numbered question depending on your answer. Make sure to follow these directions so that you fill out the form accurately. 



Other Financial Support

This section inquires as to whether you are expected to receive any additional forms of financial support such as a bursary. Please note that students receiving a bursary are not eligible to apply for DSA so should not continue with the application. 




The residence section will request details about your nationality and address history. The DSA1 Guidance Notes form will be particularly helpful to you when approaching these questions if you are unsure of the specifics around nationality and residency in your case. 

Make sure to have your address history for the past three years at hand as you will need to document the details along with the dates you resided in the properties for and the reasoning for being there. 



About your course and university or college

In this section you will be required to provide details of your university and the course you will be studying. If you are taking a placement year or studying abroad you will need to provide these details also. 



Your University/College

Luckily for us this section is for your university/college to complete so you can skip to the next section.



Your Disability

This is the section where you outline your disability/condition and provide as much information as you can as to how it directly impacts your ability to study and learn at university. If you have multiple conditions make sure to outline them all and include side effects and symptoms you experience.


Following this, you will then need to confirm that you consent to the exchanging of your information between student financ and your university disability services, your DSA needs assessor and any other relevant medical professionals. 



Your UK bank or building society account details

In this section you will need to provide your bank account details in order to accept any funds or credits issued to you by the DSA team. 


Terms and Conditions

Make sure to read through the Terms and Conditions section and once you are happy you need to provide your signature and the date. 



At the end of the DSA1 form you will find a checklist which will be helpful to ensure you have included all relevant information and documents with your DSA application before you send it to be processed. 


DSA1 form evidenceDSA Evidence Form 

Before you send your DSA1 form, you must make sure you have downloaded the DSA Evidence form and that it has been completed by a medical professional who can confirm your need for learning support based on your disability/condition (either diagnosed or with proof of being on the waiting list for assessment).


Get further support during the DSA application process

If when filling out the DSA1 form you have further questions or would like advice on how to prepare for your needs assessment, join the Jamworks DSA Community! This is a free group hosted by DSA experts where disabled/neurodivergent students can come together and support one another throughout the DSA process and ask for/provide any tips and advice from their own experiences. 

Got a question about DSA? Ask an expert now
Got a question about DSA? Ask an expert now

You can also find out more information about Jamworks, an assistive technology software which is available to students for free through the DSA programme. Disabled and neurodivergent students can use Jamworks to support their learning at university as the app uses AI to automatically generate relevant and informative notes for students based directly from their lecture content. The additional AI study features the app provides such as revision quizzes, summaries and key points make study more accessible for disabled students as they can access materials more easily to use for improved revision. 


Begin your DSA application today and join the Jamworks DSA Community for additional learning  support – click here to get started!

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