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Date posted: 23rd August 2019
All blind and partially sighted university students must have access to the support they need to achieve their full academic potential and the opportunity to obtain the same skills and experiences as their peers.
Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a grant that helps university students meet the extra costs they may face as a result of their disability, long term illness or mental health problem. The purpose is to enable disabled students to overcome barriers to their learning that cannot be addressed through inclusive practice and reasonable adjustments. Research evidence shows that without the support provided by DSA, many blind and partially sight students wouldn’t be able to access university.
It is essential that disabled people have equal access to higher education as it can greatly improve future life prospects. Roughly 42.8 per cent of young people with ‘a seeing difficulty’ aged 16-25 are not in employment, education or training (NEET), compared to 21.7 per cent of 16-25-year olds . This is echoed in the general population where 27 per cent of blind and partially sighted people of working age are in employment, a fall from 33 per cent in 2006 .
We launched Our Right to Study in February 2019, and we have consistently called for the Department for Education (DfE) to:
There have been a number of announcements from DfE and the SLC, including the following:
We are calling for a delay in any implementation of the procurement process, and for all announced changes to be part of a full public consultation process. Currently there is very little information and detail that sits behind these announcements.
We believe that these may present some opportunities for blind and partially sighted students. However, we are concerned that these announcements, in particular the procurement process of a single supplier for assessments, equipment and training has the potential to further disenfranchise students with vision impairment.
For further information please contact Tara Chattaway, Policy Manager: Children and Young People at firstname.lastname@example.org
 UK LFS. Reference Hewett, R and Keil, S (2015) Investigation of data relating to blind and partially sighted people in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey: October 2011-September 2014. VICTAR, University of Birmingham
 My Voice 2015: The views and experiences of blind and partially sighted people in the UK (2015). John Slade and Rose Edwards. RNIB.