Financial support for disabled students

Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) - Who is it for?

Don’t be put off by its name!  Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a grant to help meet the extra costs students can face as a result of ‘disability’, which includes: on-going health conditions, mental health difficulties, autism spectrum, and specific learning differences such as dyslexia. 

You may be interested to hear that recent research shows that disabled students who receive Disabled Students’ Allowances get better final grades that those who choose to go it alone, without asking for or accepting support.

DSA can pay for equipment, including computers, digital recorders, specialist equipment and software (and any associated training).  It can also pay for a support worker such as a notetaker, mentor or practical assistant to help you around the campus, in the lab or on fieldtrips.  There is a general allowance that pays for consumables such as ink cartridges and paper, books, photocopying, and there’s also a travel allowance.

A large number of the students who have registered with Disability Services are in receipt of DSA, usually because they have a long-standing health condition such as diabetes or chronic fatigue syndrome.  Examples of students who have been helped by DSA are:

‘Wayne’ -


Wayne meets with a number of barriers in studying.  These include difficulties concentrating, particularly in lectures.  Wayne has been supplied with a PC, printer and internet allowance.  The PC has mind-mapping software which he finds particularly useful when planning and writing up his assignments.  He also finds it easier to work in his room, away from distraction.


‘Mair’ -

Has arthritis.

‘Mair’ is a local part-time student.  As she is studying at least 60 credits, she is eligible for DSA which has helped her overcome difficulties with studying because of rheumatoid arthritis.  Her condition fluctuates but she has symptoms of chronic pain and stiffness in her joints.  DSA funded a PC, printer and voice recognition software which enables her to dictate her essays.  DSA also funded an ergonomic assessment and supplied an ergonomic chair and workstation which means she can work in as much comfort as possible.


’Nadia’ -

Asperger’s syndrome.

Nadia finds new situations and environments particularly stressful.  She also has difficulties with organisation and time-management.  DSA funds a mentor who works closely with her on strategies to organise her studies and free time effectively.  She also has a note-taker in lectures which means she can now focus on what the lecturer is saying rather than struggle to take notes.



Wayne, Mair and Nadia are just a few of the students who have been helped by DSA.  If you think DSA might help you, get in touch with us in Disability Services and we will help you through the process.

Information on how to apply for Disabled Students Allowances is available from the Disability Adviser, Mental Health Adviser or the Dyslexia Adviser. We can assist you with your application for DSA and can arrange an assessment of your needs through our ACCESS Centre. Contact Disability Services for further information.


Full-time students

  • a general allowance, up to £1,741.00 per year, for items such as additional photocopying costs, printer consumables, etc;
  • a 'non-medical' helper' allowance, up to £20,725.00 per year, for support such as notetaking, readers, signers etc;
  • an equipment allowance, up to £5,212.00 for whole of course, for items such as digital recorder, radio aid, computer equipment;
  • Reasonable spending on 'extra' travel costs.

Information on DSAs for NHS-funded students can be be found here.

For further information, see Bridging the Gap.

Part-time students


Student Finance England funded students: Students normally studying a minimum of 30 credits per year (some exceptions may be made) or 25% of a full time course are eligible for DSA.

Student Finance Wales funded students: Students normally studying a minimum of 60 credits per year (some exceptions may be made) or 50% of a full time course are eligible for DSA.

Other funding bodies: Refer to guidance produced by your funding body.

A specialist equipment allowance currently to a maximum of £5,212.00 is payable for the whole of the course, whilst other allowances, eg non-medical helper allowance, are paid on a percentage of the full-time rate. Contact Disability Services for further information.

Postgraduate students

Postgraduate students on recognised taught and research courses are eligible to apply for DSA. There is no age limit, and the DSA is not means-tested.

There is one allowance of up to £10,362.00 per year which can be used to purchase specialist equipment, to pay for non-medical personal help and/or additional travel costs.

Applying for DSA

See Key Steps for further guidance on applying for DSA.

Getting Paid

SFE have released a film clip: ‘Getting Paid’. The film explains what steps you need to take to get your money in time for the start of your course. - Get your money in time for the start of your course


DSA-QAG exists to ensure that students receive a high quality of service in the DSA process.  Assessment centres must meet specified criteria and undergo annual audits to ensure they are providing quality services in a proper manner.

To identify an Assessment Centre near you, see DSA-QAG.  For information on Bangor University's Assessment Centre, see Bangor Access Centre.

International Students

Most overseas students are not eligible for funding from UK sources. It is essential that any additional support funding implications are thought through well in advance of arrival on a course. Contact Disability Services for further information.

The University has a small fund to pay for additional disability support costs for those students who are not eligible for UK Disabled Students' Allowances.  To apply, you will need to provide evidence of disability and undergo a study needs assessment, which may involve your School.  Contact Disability Services for more details - phone 01248 383620 / 382032 or email

Additional funds

The University has a range of bursary and hardship funds which it distributes to students according to Government guidelines.  Contact the Student Money Adviser, for further information.


Disabled students may also be able to claim certain benefits. Contact the Student Money Adviser for further details. In addition, SKILL (National Bureau of Students with Disabilities) has useful leaflets on benefits for students and in partnership with the Disability Alliance have produced a benefits checklist for disabled students. For further information see:

Benefit Enquiry Line for People with Disabilities
This is a confidential telephone advice and information service for disabled people, their carers and representatives. This service offers general advice and assistance which includes completing many disability-related benefit claim forms. They can also produce information in Braille or large print if requested.
Tel: 0800 882200, Textphone: 0800 243355

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