If you qualify for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), you will be asked to attend an ‘assessment centre’ for an ‘assessment of need’ to work out what support and equipment might be the best fit for you. The aim of this assessment is to determine what support you will need throughout your studies.
At your needs assessment you will be taken through the assessment process by a DSA needs assessor. Find out more about what a DSA needs assessor is and how they can support you.
How to book your DSA assessment
Some universities have assessment centres located within their student support or disability service which you can attend. University assessors are usually knowledgeable about the specific needs for their place of study. You can also attend an assessment centre nearer home.
Click here to find your nearest assessment centre
The DSA needs assessment
Once you have chosen your DSA assessment location, you should receive a pre-assessment form. This is a place for you to share information about what support you may have received when at school or college. You could also include any reports from a Qualified Teacher of Children and Young People with Vision Impairment (QTVI) or other professionals.
This is also an opportunity for you to start to think about what support you might need at university. If you’re unsure then don’t worry, that is what the assessor is for!
Here is a summary of what discussions to expect at the centre:
- What methods you currently use to study
- What and how you use technology
- What new technology and support you may need to enable you to engage with your course
You may also get to try out some of the equipment (subject to specific DSA centres).
You will receive a completed report that includes recommendations of the support you should receive, details about the specification and prices of equipment. This is sent to Student Finance England for approval.
Future changes to your DSA
If you are a full time undergraduate student, you do not need to apply for DSA each year. Your assessment should identify your needs for the entire duration of your course.
However, sometimes things change; you may experience a deterioration in sight or encounter a problematic module that requires additional or different support to access, or you may have to repeat a year or need to change courses.
If there are any changes in your circumstances you should discuss this with your disability advisor at university who will be able to advise on the next steps. For example, if it is a change in your eye condition you can go back to your original assessment centre, but if it is a change in your course you may need to reapply for DSA. It is always worth checking with your DSA assessment centre first.