What is DSA (Disabled Students’ Allowance)

What is DSA?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a government funded scheme to support students with mental health problems, long term illness or any other disability while they study at university.

It’s a really great initiative that not everybody is aware of.


What is DSA used to pay for?

DSA is used to cover additional study costs required because of your disability. 

Examples include:


  • Specialist equipment – such as a computer or a voice recording device.


  • Non-medical helpers – such as British Sign Language interpreters or specialist one to one study skill training.

  • Additional travel expenses – such as taxi fares when public transport is not appropriate.

  • Any other disability-related costs needed to study – such as ink and paper for when hard copies of study materials are required or a fridge for specialist medication.


When you apply for DSA you will meet with a needs assessor, who will put together a personalised package of support, tailored to your specific needs.


What is DSA not able to provide?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance is not able to cover study costs that are not related to your disability, for example text books that everybody on the course is required to buy.

DSA is also not used to pay for day to day costs associated with your disability. Basically, this means support that you would need even if you weren’t studying, such as a care worker to help you get dressed in the morning and cook your meals.


How much is the Disabled Students’ Allowance?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance can be anything up to £25,575 per year in England, £32,546 in Wales, £25,000 in Northern Ireland and £27,405 in Scotland. Although in most instances you will not receive anywhere near that much funding.

The amount of DSA allowance you get depends on which study-related barriers you face and what your needs assessor believes is the most appropriate support package.

You can find more info about DSA funding here.


How is DSA paid?

In most cases DSA is used to pay directly for the support and services that you need. You will not receive the money in your bank account, and will not need to order the items.

However, in Scotland the DSA is paid slightly differently. 

In Scotland, the amount of DSA support you get will be paid into your bank account and you will need to order the services and software yourself. 

This shouldn’t be too difficult because you will be provided with a list of exactly what you have been recommended.


Does DSA need to be repaid?

DSA does not need to be repaid. It is an additional support grant on top of any other funding you may receive.


Do I need to provide financial information?

DSA is a needs tested fund, not a means tested fund. 

This means that the level of support you get is related to your specific disability, not your background, household income or employment status.


We hope you found this DSA guide useful. If you’re interested in learning how Jamworks can support your learning, note taking and revision as a DSA student click here for more information.

If you’d like to arrange a quick chat with our DSA lead, Kieran, just click here. He’s passionate and knowledgeable about assistive technology and always makes time to give advice to students who are interested to learn more.

Take a tour of Jamworks!

Enter your name and email address below and you’ll have an access link straight in your inbox.