Will I be eligible?
To be eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) you must have a long-term condition or disability that impacts your ability to study. A vision impairment meets this requirement. You will need to provide evidence of your vision impairment, this is usually through a Certificate of Visual Impairment or a letter from a medical professional.
How much do I have to pay?
DSA is a non-means tested grant, so the amount of funding you receive does not depend on how much money you have and you will not have to pay anything back. However, you will need to pay the first £200 towards a new computer, if one is supplied as part of your DSA support package. The Government has stated this is the minimum amount any student will incur when buying a computer.
How do I apply?
If you are applying for student finance you can apply online, or you can request a paper application form. The form can take a while to complete, so make sure that you set aside some dedicated time to work on it. If applying online, you should be able to save your application as you go, allowing you to take a break and return later.
Your DSA application (England only)
You should apply directly to Student Finance England for DSA. This can be done at the same time you are making your UCAS application. You will need to supply evidence of your disability with your application. This might be a letter from your doctor or vision impairment specialist. Student Finance England, a Disability Officer or University Student Support will be able to advise you on the evidence you need to submit.
You can find out more about applying for DSA and download an application form at GOV.UK.
For large print, braille or audio versions, contact the Student Loans Company by calling 0141 243 3686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out this helpful guide from UCAS which covers DSA and how to apply in different regions of the UK. You can also find out more information on how to apply for your DSA on the Disability Rights UK website.
When should I apply?
You should apply as soon as possible. The Student Loans Company state you do not need to have been accepted to a university before applying. You can simply add the university you are hoping to attend, and should this change in the future, you can simply amend your university selection during the DSA process.
Rainbow’s top tips
Rainbow Mbuangi, member of our Young Voices advocacy group has gone through the DSA application process, so here is what he would like to share:
“As a blind university student, DSA has helped me greatly with accessing and receiving the best help that I can get within university and for me to know that I am getting the best opportunity to succeed within my chosen field.
“Make sure you have had some type of contact with the disability student allowance team within the spring before you go to university, as this will ensure that they are aware and can set everything up before you go to university.
“Make sure that you tell them everything that you need and might need, this is to ensure that you get the best support you can. Even if you think that you might not need it, it’s easier to get the help or equipment and decide that you don’t need it anymore than don’t get it and decide you need it and trying to get it during university”.
I am a post graduate student; can I still apply for DSA?
Yes, you can. There is a separate scheme for postgraduate students, but the application process is the same.
I have applied – what next?
After you have submitted your application, you will receive a letter to say whether you are eligible. If you are eligible you will be invited to attend an assessment centre.
This is covered in the next section, so keep reading…