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

1. What you'll get

You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.

You can get the allowances on top of your other student finance. You won’t need to repay DSAs.

If you’re a part-time student your ‘course intensity’ can affect how much you get.

How much you get depends on your individual needs - not your household income.

2017 to 2018 academic year

Type of student Specialist equipment allowance Non-medical helper allowance General allowance
Full-time Up to £5,358 for the whole course Up to £21,305 a year Up to £1,790 a year
Part-time Up to £5,358 for the whole course Up to £15,978 a year Up to £1,342 a year

Postgraduates can get a single allowance of up to £10,652 a year.

These figures are the maximum amounts - most students get less.

2016 to 2017 academic year

Type of student Specialist equipment allowance Non-medical helper allowance General allowance
Full-time Up to £5,212 for the whole course Up to £20,725 a year Up to £1,741 a year
Part-time Up to £5,212 for the whole course Up to £15,543 a year Up to £1,305 a year

Postgraduates can get a single allowance of up to £10,362 a year.

These figures are the maximum amounts - most students get less.

What DSAs can pay for

You can get help with the costs of:

  • specialist equipment, for example a computer if you need one because of your disability
  • non-medical helpers
  • extra travel because of your disability
  • other disability-related costs of studying

You may get a new computer if you don’t already have one, or your current one doesn’t meet the required specification. More information will be provided to you if you’re assessed as needing a new computer.

You’ll need to pay the first £200, which is the minimum cost that any student is likely to incur when buying a computer.

DSAs don’t cover disability-related costs you’d have if you weren’t attending a course, or costs that any student might have.

Your ‘needs assessment’

Once your eligibility for DSAs is confirmed, Student Finance England may ask you to contact an assessment centre to work out what help you need.

This is known as a needs assessment. Don’t book this until Student Finance England asks you to.

The assessment is paid for through any DSAs entitlement you may have.

After the assessment, you’ll get a report listing equipment and other support you can get for your course.

Don’t buy any equipment until you’ve been assessed - you won’t be reimbursed for it.

How DSAs are paid

Money is paid either into your bank account or directly to the organisation providing the service or equipment.