Sussex Regional Access Centre

What is Disabled Students Allowance?

What is DSA?
DSA is support for UK higher education students to pay for the additional costs that may result from a disability. Students can apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if they have a disability, including a:
• long-term health condition (for example diabetes, cancer, CFS/ME, epilepsy)
• mental health condition ( for example psychosis, depression, anxiety)
• specific learning difficulty, eg dyslexia, ADHD
• Mobility, hearing, sight impairment
• Autistic Spectrum Condition, including Asperger’s Syndrome

What is DSA?  A guide for students



What is DSA? A guide for staff



How do I know if I am eligible?

You must be a UK student and your condition must meet the definition of a disability under the Equality Act 2010. For more guidance about this please follow the link below:

You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

  • ‘substantial’ is more than minor or trivial, eg it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task  like getting dressed, attending lectures and seminars, concentrating or taking notes                                                        

  • ‘long-term’ means 12 months or more, eg a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection, chronic mental health problems, Autistic Spectrum Condition

Disabled EU or international students are NOT eligible for DSAs, although some universities do provide assistance and support for disabled overseas students, including mentoring and learning support. See your university’s Disability Service for further information.

What can I expect from DSA?

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are paid on top of other student finance. They help pay the extra costs you may have because of a disability. They do not have to be repaid.

How much you get depends on your individual needs – not your household income. If you’re a part-time student your ‘course intensity’ can affect how much you get.

2019 to 2021 academic year

Undergraduate students:

Type of student

Specialist equipment allowance*

Non-medical helper allowance*

General allowance*


Up to £5,684 for the whole course

Up to £22,603 a year

Up to £1,899 a year


Up to £5,684 for the whole course

Up to £16,951 a year

Up to £1,424 a year

Postgraduate students:

Single allowance of up to £20,000 a year*.

*These figures are maximum amounts – most students will get less than these maximums.

How do I apply for DSA?

The application process consists of a short application form or a slightly longer form for post graduates, part time or self funding students.

You should apply for DSA as soon as possible even before you have a confirmed place at university.

Follow the information on the Gov.UK website below to make your application:-

For further advice on completing your form, go to your HEI Disability Service.

Proving your eligibility

You must provide a report or letter stating that you have a condition that is substantial and long lasting in order to apply for DSA



Disabilities or long-term health condition

Report or letter from your doctor or consultant – you can also fill in the disability evidence form (PDF, 496KB)

Mental-health condition

Report or letter from your doctor or consultant – you can also fill in the disability evidence form (PDF, 496KB)

Specific learning difficulty like dyslexia

A ‘diagnostic assessment’ from a psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher


Booking your needs assessment

Once you receive the approval letter from your funding body (e.g. SFE), you can arrange a Study Needs Assessment. You can choose any DSA Needs Assessment Centre that suits you. For a list of DSA Needs Assessment Centres see or contact Sussex Regional Access Centre:-

Phone:01273 678497


Online booking form:

What is a needs assessment?


The DSA Needs Assessment is an informal meeting with an experienced Needs Assessor to help to decide the kind of support that will help you with your own particular needs. Your Needs Assessor will write a Needs Assessment Report which will list and justify any recommended Assistive Technology and Specialist Support you will need, how much it will cost, where to get it from, and any Specialist Training you may need to make best use of the Assistive Technology.

If you give permission, this report will be sent to your university and your funding body and you will then receive confirmation of your funding and what to do next. Please read this carefully and contact us, or your university Disability Service, if you need help with this.