Help if you're a student with a learning difficulty, health problem or disability

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You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you live in England and have a disability that affects your ability to study, such as a:

  • specific learning difficulty, for example dyslexia or ADHD
  • mental health condition, for example anxiety or depression
  • physical disability, for example if you have to use crutches, a wheelchair or a special keyboard
  • sensory disability, for example if you’re visually impaired, deaf or have a hearing impairment
  • long-term health condition, for example cancer, chronic heart disease or HIV

You must also:

  • be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning)
  • qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
  • be studying on a course that lasts at least a year

Who is not eligible

You cannot get DSA from Student Finance England if you’re:

  • an EU student who is eligible for fee support only
  • eligible for NHS Disabled Students’ Allowances (this is a separate scheme)
  • getting equivalent support from another funding source, like from your university or a social work bursary
  • on a higher or degree apprenticeship course

Proving you’re eligible

You will not automatically get DSA - you need proof of your eligibility.

Condition Proof
Disabilities or long-term health condition A copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant - you can also fill in the disability evidence form
Mental health condition A copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant - you can also fill in the disability evidence form
Specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia A copy of a ‘diagnostic assessment’ from a practitioner psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher

You could get extra help to pay for a new diagnostic assessment.

Where to send letters or reports from a doctor

You can send proof of a health condition or learning disability to Student Finance England through your online account - if you have one. You can also send your proof by email or post.

Medical evidence for student finance

Student Finance England
PO Box 210

Your course

Your course must be in the UK and one of the following:

  • a first degree, for example BA, BSc or BEd
  • a Foundation Degree
  • a Certificate of Higher Education
  • a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
  • a Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • a Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
  • a postgraduate course
  • Initial Teacher Training
  • a level 4 or 5 course with Higher Technical Qualification approval

Check with your university or college if you’re not sure whether your course qualifies for funding.

Part-time course intensity

For part-time students, your course intensity can affect how much DSA you get.

‘Course intensity’ means how long your course takes to complete each year compared to an equivalent full-time course. You can check course intensity with your university or college.

The rules are different depending on your course.

Part-time undergraduate courses

Your course cannot be more than 4 times longer than the equivalent full-time course. Your course must last at least a year.

Part-time postgraduate master’s courses

If you’re applying for a Postgraduate Loan for a part-time master’s degree, the course must not last more than twice as long as the full-time equivalent.