Student Support Unit

Common questions

Here you will find common questions about the Disabled Students' Allowances and disability support provided by the Student Support Unit.

What are Disabled Students' Allowances and how do I apply for them?

 The DSA (Disabled Students' Allowances) is a government fund controlled by student funding bodies such as Student Finance England.  It enables students with a recognised disability to apply for additional funding for their academic studies at University. It can fund technological support such as a computer (with a £200 student contribution) and specialist software. It can also fund specialist, non-medical support persons who can provide study skills and mentoring.  Most students can apply online via their student finance account to SFE. Some students may need to apply to the equivalent funding bodies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If you do not have an online account or are a post-graduate student you can complete an electronic application form:

https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas

Postgraduate students who have research council funding are advised to email disabilitysupport@sussex.ac.uk for further advice

 If you receive an NHS bursary you can apply for the DSA via your BOSS account

https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-bursary-students/manage-your-nhs-bursary

Where do I get section 5 of my DSA application signed?

If you need to complete a paper form or electronic form for your DSA application, section 5 of the form will need to be completed by the University.  For most students this is completed by the Student Systems and Records Office, which is located on the 1st floor of Bramber House.  You can email the completed form to them at studentprogress@sussex.ac.uk

 Applicants who have a confirmed place at the University should email their completed DSA forms to ug.applicants@sussex.ac.uk 

or pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk (for postgraduate applicants)

My DSA equipment is broken, what do I do?

 If your DSA computer is not working properly you should contact the computer supplier who delivered it to you. You can find their details in your DSA assessment report or in your DSA letter (DSA2) from your funding body.  All DSA computers should be under warranty for the duration of your course. 

If your DSA computer is no longer under warranty, you should contact your funding body to ask if it is possible to get the computer fixed or to receive further funding for a new one.  The email for your funding body will be in your DSA assessment report.

How do I pay my £200 PC contribution?

 If you receive funding for a computer as part of your DSA, you will need to make a £200 contribution to the computer supplier when you order the equipment.  The telephone number to contact them will be on your DSA2 letter that you receive after your DSA assessment.

Can the Student Support Unit help me pay the £200 PC contribution?

 If you are struggling to find £200 to contribute towards the cost of your DSA computer, you can apply for funding via the University’s hardship fund. For further details see the following link: https://www.sussex.ac.uk/studentlifecentre/funding/hardship/hardshipfund/

How do I get extra time in exams like I had at school?

 You may have additional time in exams, use of a laptop and a separate room for exams in school. These were likely applied by a Special Educational Needs Coordinator using an Application for Access Arrangements (Form 8). This is a useful start but will not be sufficient to apply adjustments at University level. We will not automatically be sent documents by your school, 6th form, or college so it is important that you make sure you take steps to letting us know, providing documentation and letting the university know if anything changes, or if you have questions or need support.

In order to access similar adjustments, you will need to upload documentation confirming your difficulties and provide your ocnsent to share information:

https://www.sussex.ac.uk/studentsupport/support-needs/consent

How do I get tested for a Specific Learning Difference (dyselxia/dyspraxia/dyscalculia etc.)?

 We can refer you for a remote assessment to diagnose a Specific Learning Difference. The cost of this assessment is £300, but some home UG students may be automatically eligible for funding to cover this cost.  If you do not qualify for automatic funding, but still feel that this cost would cause you financial hardship, you can apply to the Student Funding Team for a means tested hardship grant to cover this cost.  Please email Hardship@sussex.ac.uk for information and details on how to apply.  If you are a Post Graduate or International student, you will not fall under the automatic criteria, so you will need to apply for a hardship grant as above.

 Please contact the team of Disability Advisors at the Student Support Unit to discuss a referral, either by emailing disabilitysupport@sussex.ac.uk or phoning 01273 877466 between 10am and 3pm each day.  Alternatively, you can book a Quick Query telephone appointment via your Sussex Direct Account by choosing SSU Appointments.  An Advisor will ring you at your chosen time, so please make sure your telephone number is up to date on your Sussex Direct Account.

 If eligibile for a referral, you will be asked to sign a consent form and complete a short questionnaire.  If you are a home UG student, your details will then be passed to the Student Funding Team to check eligibility for funding.  This should take no longer than a week and you will be contacted with the outcome and the next stage of the process.  If you are eligible your details will be forwarded to an external Assessor who will contact you to arrange a convenient date.  These assessments are carried out remotely, so you will not be required to meet with the assessor in person.

Once your assessment has been conducted, your outcome will be shared with you as a report. This should subsequently be shared with the Student Support Team via disabilitysupport@sussex.ac.uk The content and recommendations within the report will determine the level of reasonable adjustments that can be put in place.

I cannot afford to pay for a Specific Learning Difference Assessment, what should I do?

The cost of an assessment is £300, but some home UG students may be automatically eligible for funding to cover this cost.  If you do not qualify for automatic funding, but still feel that this cost would cause you financial hardship, you can apply to the Student Funding Team for a means-tested hardship grant to cover this cost. 

Please email Hardship@sussex.ac.uk for information and details on how to apply.  

If you are a Post Graduate or International student, you will not fall under the automatic criteria, so you will need to apply for a hardship grant as above.

If you are not assessed as eligible for costs to cover the assessment you will have three options:

  • Apply for a hardship grant and use the grant to pay for the assessment
  • Agree to pay for the assessment yourself - you will be asked to sign a Payment Agreement form (invoices are sent out approximately 6 weeks after the assessment).
  • Agree to pay for the assessment but also apply for a hardship grant at the same time.  If a hardship grant is subsequently granted you will not be charged for the assessment.

Where do I go if I need an ASC assessment?

 If you believe you have an autism spectrum condition, contact your doctor to discuss options. ASC is formally diagnosed by a medical professional or Clinical Psychologist.

Where do I go if I need an ADD/ADHD assessment?

 If you believe you have a form of attention dysregulation disorder, contact your doctor to discuss options. ADD/ADHD is formally diagnosed by a specialist adult psychiatrist or appropriately qualified healthcare/assessment professional with training and expertise in the diagnosis of ADHD.

Indicators of attention dysregulation may be identified from a Specific Learning Differences Assessment. This identification cannot be requested from an assessor but forms part of the wider assessment process. If indicators of attention dysregulation are determined, this may allow the Student Support Unit to apply reasonable adjustments to your teaching, learning and assessment. It may also qualify as evidence for an application for Disabled Students’ Allowances.

An assessment specifically for ADD/ADHD cannot be requested through the university.

I am struggling with my mental health, what support is available from the university?

 There are several forms of mental health support at the university, including: one-to-one counselling sessions, groups and workshops from University Counselling.

Counselling Services: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/counselling/

  • support, advice and guidance from a Student Life Advisor at the Student Life Centre: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/studentlifecentre/;
  • reasonable adjustments and support from the Disability Advisors at the Student Support Unit: https://www.sussex.ac.uk/studentsupport/;
  • mindfulness sessions from the Meeting House and multifaith chaplaincy: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/chaplaincy/.
  • Advisors at the Student Life Centre and Student Support Unit can also provide signposting and referrals to various external support services in Brighton and Hove and nationally, and help students consider ways to expand their support network and engage in activities that benefit their mental health. 

Please note that, regarding mental health support and adjustements, Disability Advisors work with students who have a long-term mental health condition that meets the threshold of a disability.

You can find information on mental health and wellbeing on the university website at: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/wellbeing/mentalhealth.

How can I access mentoring or study skills support?

 If you have been granted funding from the Disabled Students’ Allowances or another funding body for Specialist Mentoring and/or Specialist One to One Study Skills, please visit the Useful Forms section of our website and complete an NMH Availability Form. Once completed, please send along with your funding confirmation to NMHAdmin@sussex.ac.uk

My studies and assessments have been affected by my health, what can I do about it?

 If you are registered with the Student Support Unit and have reasonable adjustments, you’re already entitled to an automatic late penalty waiver where your assessment allows this. You don’t need to submit an exceptional circumstances claim to request a late penalty waiver.

However, if you need to explain how an assessment has been expected by sudden and unforeseen circumstances, such as a flare-up of a long-term health condition or a serious injury or accident, you can use the Exceptional Circumstances process: https://student.sussex.ac.uk/assessment/exceptional-circumstances. This will allow you to explain the circumstances leading to late submission, impaired submission, or non-submission of academic work.

If you are registered with the Student Support Unit for a fluctuating condition and you are experiencing a flare up of that condition, you may use a self-declaration form. This negates the need to provide evidence for your claim.

If registered with the Student Support Unit, the self-declaration form can be used as many times as required during an academic year.

What evidence do I need to get support from SSU?

 Specific Learning Difference

Students who require additional support during their studies, as a result of a specific learning difference, need to provide evidence from a suitably qualified professional.

 This is usually a report written by a psychologist registered with the HCPC or a specialist teacher registered with PATOSS.  These details should be written on the front page of your assessment report.

 For dyspraxia we will also accept reports and letters written by qualified professionals such as Occupational Therapists.  For ADHD we will accept letters and/or reports written by psychiatrists or psychologists who have conducted appropriate assessments.  Please note we do not accept exam forms (Form 8) or online screening assessments but we can use them to inform our assessment and offer further advice.

 Mental Health

We can only accept evidence from a GP or a professional from a mental health team (e.g. psychiatrist, CPN, AMHP, social worker, psychologist).  You may wish to show your GP or mental health professional this email to ensure the letter provided covers all the information we need.

 If you are registered with the Health Centre on campus, you can request an exceptional circumstance letter to ‘register for SSU’ through their website https://www.unimed.co.uk/navigator/exceptional-circumstances-form/ The GPs at this practice are very familiar with the process.

 Our service is open to students who have a mental health condition that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities (including learning). Long term means that it has been lasting or is likely to last at least 12 months.

 We ask therefore for evidence which provides information on the 3 aspects listed in bold in the above paragraph, so please do make sure your evidence provides information on:

- Your mental health diagnosis

- Its impact on your ability to carry out day-to-day activity

- How long you have been experiencing (or are likely to experience) these mental health difficulties.

 Autism Spectrum Conditions

We can only accept a diagnostic report from an autism specialist or a doctor/consultant letter stating that an autism spectrum condition has been identified. If you believe you have an autism spectrum condition and do not have a diagnostic report, contact your own doctor to find out if there is a diagnosis on your record and to discuss options.

Reasonable adjustments can be applied in some situations in which a student is awaiting a diagnostic referral for an autistic spectrum condition and a supporting statement from a doctor/consultant can be provided.

 Disability

We can only accept evidence from a Doctor or Specialist, confirming a disability or long-term/on-going health condition.

Can I live on campus after my foundation year, or first year because of my health?

You can submit a continuation of housing request to remain on campus after your first year of study if you have a disability that you are being supported by the Student Support Unit with.  Follow https://student.sussex.ac.uk/accommodation/university/health for more information.  

Can I park on campus because of my health?

 If you have a long-term health condition but are not eligible to apply for a Blue Badge, you can apply for a University parking permit via Student Support. You may also apply due to a temporary mobility issue, such as an injury.  To apply you will need to provide evidence and consent to set up your reasonable adjustments, this includes applying for parking.   Please be aware that there is a fee payable for permits and more information and up to date costs can be  found here.

 If you are a Blue Badge holder, you can park for free without a University permit in any parking space on campus (including disabled parking spaces). You are not required to hold an additional University parking permit, however in the interest of security please register your vehicle with the Transport Office via e-mail at transport@sef.fm with your name, e-mail address and vehicle details.

Can you let my tutors know I am struggling/have a health condition/will be absent?

 With your permission we can share information with your tutors. The information we share will depend on your situation and what you would like your tutors to know and understand. For example, we can explain that you may be late arriving or need to leave class early, that there may be times when you are not well enough to attend, that your concentration and ability to study can be affected, or that you may be experiencing symptoms like pain or fatigue.

How do I speak to an Advisor?

 You can speak with an advisor either by telephone on 01273 877466 between 10am and 3pm each day, or by booking a telephone appointment with a Disability Advisor via your Sussex Direct Account.  For more information on booking a call back with an Advisor please see our Homepage

You can also email disabilitysupport@sussex.ac.uk

How do I check my penalty waiver is in place?

 The penalty waiver allows you to submit in the late period, for your applicable essays, without penalty.  To check if your penalty waiver is in place, please log into your Sussex Direct Assessment Deadlines & Exam Timetable and hover your cursor over the (+7d) or (+24h) on the submission date.

 Please note that if you are using the 1 week late submission period, you cannot submit a draft copy via Turnitin. You must only submit your final finished essay during the late submission period.

Why does my Canvas submission show as late when I have the penalty waiver?

 The penalty waiver removes any penalty applied for a late submission. The Canvas system does not directly reflect the Penalty Waiver for late submissions but means you will not be marked down when your work is submitted during the late period. This does not mean that your penalty waiver is not in place. Please always check your Sussex Direct Assessment Deadlines & Exam Timetable for accurate submission dates and penalty waiver information, including the length of your late period.

How do I report an access problem on campus?

Students, staff and visitors can check the Service Centre website http://www.sussex.ac.uk/sef/servicecentre/accessibility  to find out about any planned work or outages that may affect access to buildings or parts of campus. As well as checking for access issues, staff and students are also encouraged to report any concerns by emailing service.centre@sef.fm . If you experience an issue in a non-residential building on campus, report it to the Service Centre at service.centre@sef.fm . If you have any concerns or issues with your Campus housing you can report these directly to your Porter who will be pleased to help.