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Funding for students with disabilities

Funding for students with disabilities Don't let confusion over disability support stop you applying for the help available. These students run through what’s out there and how it helped.


Appearing on University Challenge and Mastermind before you finish your postgraduate studies is quite an achievement, but student Rachael Neiman maintains it would have been much tougher had she not received the disability support she did. Rachael lost her sight aged 17 to rheumatoid arthritis.

'I got funding for equipment – a laptop and scanner, things like that,' Rachael says. 'I didn’t take everything offered, but my uni made sure I was aware of what was available.'


Support is out there

Most universities now employ disability coordinators or advisers who provide support and guidance for students with disabilities. Have a look at the Skill 1 website for more details.

'I'd encourage students with disabilities to find out about what help is available from Student Finance, especially Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) 1,’ says Angela Axon, a Student Disability Adviser from SOAS, University of London.


What are DSAs?

  • DSAs are non-means-tested grants available to those eligible for a student loan. To apply for DSAs, both you and your course must meet certain conditions. Check these before you apply 1.
  • They cover 4 categories (maximum amounts in brackets):
    • specialist equipment allowance (£5,160 a year)
    • non-medical helpers allowance (£20,520 a year)
    • travel allowance (no limit)
    • general expenditure allowance (£1,725 a year)
  • For postgraduate study, there is a single allowance to cover all costs to a maximum of £10,260.


Getting the help you need

Sam Egerton, who studies Computer Systems at Nottingham Trent, was given funding to help him cope with a learning difficulty.

'I had a tutor at A-level who suggested I go and talk to the university's disabilities office, where I was finally diagnosed as dyslexic.

'I get extra time for exams, for example, which I don’t always need. But it's a comfort to know it's there.'


How to apply

You can apply for DSAs whether you are a new or existing student, and you can claim for expenses you have already paid out. To apply, download the DSA claim forms 1.

If you qualify you will be asked to go for an assessment, which will be carried out near your home or university. For further information contact your national Student Finance office – namely, Student Finance England , Student Finance NI , Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) or Student Finance Wales 1.

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