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

Eligibility

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

  • learning difficulty, for example dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD
  • mental health condition like anxiety or depression
  • physical disability, for example if you’re partially sighted or have to use crutches
  • long-term health condition such as 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 DSAs from Student Finance England if you’re:

  • an EU student
  • eligible for an NHS Disabled Students’ Allowance (this is a separate scheme)
  • getting equivalent support from another funding source, like from your university or a social work bursary

Proving you’re eligible

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

Condition Proof
Disabilities or long-term health condition A photocopy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant - you can also fill in the disability evidence form (PDF, 496KB)
Mental-health condition A photocopy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant - you can also fill in the disability evidence form (PDF, 496KB)
Specific learning difficulty like dyslexia A photocopy of a ‘diagnostic assessment’ from a practitioner psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher - you’ll need to get reassessed if you had this done when you were under 16

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

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

Check with your university or college that your course is recognised.

Part-time course intensity

For part-time students, your course intensity can affect how much 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 courses that started before 1 September 2012

Your course must not last more than twice as long as the equivalent full-time course.

Part-time courses starting from 1 September 2012

You must study at a rate of at least 25% of an equivalent full-time course in each academic year. The 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.

  1. Step 1 Check if you're eligible

  2. Step 2 Find out how much loan you could get

    Find out the maximum tuition fee and maintenance loan you could get if you're a:

    How much maintenance loan you get depends on where you'll study and your household income.

    1. Use the student finance calculator to estimate your maintenance loan

    You'll have to pay back any loan you get.

    1. Find out how much you'll repay
    2. Find out when you'll start repaying
  3. and Check if you can get extra help

  4. Step 3 Prepare your application

  5. Step 4 Apply

    1. Apply online

    You'll need to create a student finance account if you're a new student or sign into an existing account if you're a returning student.

    It can take up to 6 weeks to process your application. You might have to provide extra evidence.

  6. Step 5 Update your details if your circumstances change

    You must update your application if your circumstances change. For example if you:

    • change your course through clearing
    • change where you're going to live - for example with your parents instead of halls
    1. Find out how to update your application
  7. Step 6 Make sure you can be paid

    After you register at your university or college you'll usually get your maintenance loan paid directly into your bank account at the start of each term.

    Use your student finance account to:

    • update your bank details - for example if you open a student account
    • check how much you'll be paid
    • check when you'll be paid
    1. Sign in to your student finance account
  8. Step 7 Check what to do while you're studying

    You'll need to reapply for student finance for each year of your course.

    You must keep your details up to date throughout your course because some changes can affect your loan payments, for example if your household income or bank details change.

    1. Check how to update your details
    2. Find out what to do if you suspend or leave your course
  9. Step 8 Repay your loan